The Huntington Museum of Art, in partnership with the Telfair Museums in Savannah, Ga., presents the exhibit “Visions of the Prophet: The Visual Art of Kahlil Gibran,” which will open Saturday and continue through Feb. 9.
The opening reception will be at 7 p.m. Saturday with a concert by Simon Shaheen, the internationally known musician whose musical release titled “Blue Flame” was nominated for 11 Grammys. A reception follows. Admission is free. Auditorium seating for the concert is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The exhibit of works by the Lebanese-born, visionary artist and writer Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) includes 96 drawings, watercolors, and paintings. Beloved worldwide for his writings, his visual art is less known. Gibran is best known for his book titled “The Prophet,” a collection of 26 philosophical essays that became one of the top-selling books of the 20th century. Since it was first published in 1923, “The Prophet” has never been out of print and has been translated into 40 languages. The book was especially popular during the counterculture movement of the 1960s.
The November Tuesday Tour at the museum will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 26 with a gallery walk led by Dr. Clay McNearney and Dr. Jeff Rush, both of Marshall University's Department of Religious Studies. Dr. McNearney’s remarks will focus on placing Gibran within the realm of the religious world of the time and Dr. Rush will focus on Gibran’s specific mysticism.
Inspired by painters from the Renaissance, the Pre-Raphaelites, the French Symbolists, and others, such as visionary William Blake, Gibran sought to express symbolic ideas about life, humanity and the interconnectedness of all things in his own unique way. These works span his career and include early works from his first exhibition at photographer Fred Holland Day’s studio in Boston in 1904, to works created during the last years of his life, including six works used as illustrations in his last book, “The Garden of the Prophet.”
All the pieces on view come from the personal collection of Gibran’s patron Mary Haskell, who donated her collection to the Telfair Museums in 1950. They provide a survey of Gibran’s career as a visual artist, document his relationship with Mary Haskell, and substantiate his literary career with examples of several drawings and watercolors used as illustrations for six of his English-written books. The exhibit also includes self-portraits by Gibran, an early oil portrait of Gibran by Lilla Cabot Perry and photographs of Gibran and his New York studio.
For more information, visit hmoa.org or call (304) 529-2701.