The Knoxville Museum of Art Announces Romantic Spirits, a 19th Century Masterworks Exhibition depicting Scenes of Southern Life

July 19, 2016

The Knoxville Museum of Art announces Romantic Spirits: Nineteenth Century Paintings of the South from the Johnson Collection, featuring more than thirty 19th-century masterworks from the renowned Spartanburg, South Carolina-based collection. Exhibition runs August 26 through November 6, 2016.

The paintings in Romantic Spirits present an evocative glimpse into nineteenth-century Southern life, and reveal the importance of oral tradition and “a sense of place” in the development of the Romantic Movement in the South. The exhibition seeks to present a balanced view of how Romanticism evolved in the North and the South, the genre’s ties to Europe, and how culture, customs, education, and travel influenced each artist. It also reveals connections between featured painters and their contemporaries, specifically authors and poets such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, among others. One of the highlights of the exhibition is a masterful still life of peaches by Knoxville artist Lloyd Branson.

The public is invited to an exhibition preview reception on Thursday, August 25 from 5:30-7:30pm. In addition to the preview reception, additional Romantic Spirits events are taking place at the museum. These events are free and open to the public.

Wednesday, September 7, 12-1pm, Dine & Discover with Artist Virginia Derryberry;
Tuesday, September 27, 5:30-7pm: Cocktails & Conversation with University of Tennessee Assistant Professor of Art History Mary Campbell;
Thursday, October 20, 12-1pm: Dine & Discover with Johnson Collection Curator Erin Corrales-Diaz.

Presenting sponsors are Debbie and Ron Watkins with additional sponsorship from the family of Artist Lloyd Branson. Media sponsors include Big Wheel, Kurt Zinser Designs, and WBIR.

Lloyd Branson (1853-1925), Still Life with Peaches, 1895, oil on canvas, 17 x 23 7/8 inches, The Johnson Collection, Spartanburg, South Carolina


The Knoxville Museum of Art
The Knoxville Museum of Art celebrates the art and artists of East Tennessee, presents new art and new ideas, serves and educates diverse audiences, and enhances Knoxville’s quality of life. The museum is located in downtown Knoxville at 1050 World’s Fair Park and is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 10am–5pm, and Sunday 1pm-5pm. Admission and parking are free. For more information, contact Angela Thomas at 865.934.2034 or visit