A.E. Backus prints exhibition at A.E. Backus Museum

The next exhibition of the 2022-23 season at the A.E. Backus Museum & Gallery provides a unique view of A.E. Backus prints. FINE PRINT: Rediscovering the Backus Portfolio on Paper and Canvas focuses on a very prominent limited-edition print portfolio titled “Florida and the West Indies – Sketches by A.E. Backus.” What makes this exhibition so special is that the original sketches have been paired with paintings from public and private collections that connect with the portfolio images.

The exhibition will be on view from March 3 through April 30, 2023 at the Backus Museum located at 500 North Indian River Drive in Historic Downtown Fort Pierce.

The story of the prized limited-edition A.E. Backus prints portfolio “Florida and the West Indies – Sketches by A.E. Backus” is revisited in FINE PRINT for the 50th anniversary of its publication. These exceptional images were drawn from and inspired by the artist’s travels over nearly twenty years and gathered in 1972 as a high-quality portfolio. This assembly reveals Backus’ deep connection to the places and people he encountered. 16 of the original drawings are part of the Museum’s permanent collection, and are presented together for the first time since the limited-edition folio was published.

These singular drawings from the A.E. Backus Prints Portfolio are displayed in conversation with colorful, rarely seen oil paintings that showcase the artist’s inspiration and creative process. The 40 works in the exhibition are grouped into the geographical subject categories of the original portfolio, with contextual information provided for each. Those categories include Florida; the Everglades; the Bahamas; Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic); and Jamaica.

The collection of drawings and paintings breathe new life into the classic 18 prints known and cherished for generations.

“Fifty years ago, there were originally 999 portfolio sets that were offered for $20 as an early fundraiser for the forerunner of today’s Backus Museum,” J. Marshall Adams, A.E. Backus Museum & Gallery Executive Director, said. “Because the portfolio’s images were loose, people separated them over the years to frame individually or give as gifts. Today many people love the prints, routinely mistaking them for original sketches because of their high-quality production. But the memory of the original portfolio has dimmed a bit. It felt like it was time to bring them together once more and discover new and forgotten insights into the artist’s extraordinary and beloved work.”

The Members Opening Reception for FINE PRINT: Rediscovering the Backus Portfolio on Paper and Canvas is scheduled for Friday, March 17 from 6:00-8:00 pm, free of charge to Museum Members, not-yet members $20 (or join at the door and enjoy free access to all exhibitions and receptions for the year).

For more information, please visit www.BackusMuseum.org.

About the A.E. Backus Museum & Gallery

Since its founding in 1960 and the first day the doors opened in 1961, the A.E. Backus Museum & Gallery has been a center and catalyst for creativity and culture in our region. The Museum houses the nation’s largest public presentation of artwork by Florida’s preeminent painter, A.E. “Bean” Backus (1906-1990), and is home to the state’s only permanent multimedia exhibition on the Florida Highwaymen.

In addition to preserving and perpetuating the artistic and humanitarian legacy of Backus, the Museum organizes and hosts changing exhibitions from artists of regional, national and international acclaim.

Regular Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM; Sunday, 12 Noon to 4 PM (closed Monday-Tuesday, and closed Easter Sunday). Admission is $5 per person; AARP, AAA, and Veterans with appropriate ID receive a $2 discount. Students with school ID, children under 18, active duty military, and current members are always free. Visitors are asked to follow the latest public health guidance for the safety and comfort of guests, staff, and volunteers.

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