Provenance of The Natchez Trace Parkway -a Triptych ©2008|Dot Courson
By artist, Dot Courson March 9, 2015- Nov 13, 2018
The sources of this documentation include gallery records, emails, photo records and memory.
My painting, The Natchez Trace Parkway now hangs in the Mill at 600 Russell Street Starkville MS.
It has an interesting provenance and the final (so far) buyer requested that I document it.. Today Facebook reminded me of what was going on 7 years ago today and so I thought I'd put that documentation in a blog post
The Natchez Trace triptych was created as an original work of art from my own photos and was completed in the spring of 2008 in my studio. The paintings sections are on three 48” x 36” cotton canvas panels wrapped on stretcher bars and painted in oils. The oil painting continues around the wrapped edges to the back edges which are approximately 1.5” deep.
As an artist I am drawn to landscapes and especially beautiful trees and much of the time my work involves intimate or “up close” of trees. This section of the Trace is a favorite of mine and I have painted it in various scenes and formats over the years. The triptych format allowed a panoramic view of a section of the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Provenance Summary before arriving at the Mill at MSU in Starkville, MS:
· May, 2008: Painted in studio by Dot Courson
· June, 2008 - April, 2009: Exhibited in the Tupelo Airport lobby
· April 30, 2009 - Dec. 6, 2011: Exhibited in the offices of Governor Haley Barbour
· June 18, 2013 – March 2015: Senator Roger Wicker’s office in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC.
The background of the Natchez Trace triptych:
The Natchez Trace Parkway triptych was painted in 2008 after I was contacted by the Tupelo Regional Airport’s marketing director, Barbara Smith, to ask if I would be interested to do a long-term loan of some of my work to the airport after the renovations to the airport was finished. I visited the airport and looked at the space and decided to do something new just for the space. My intention was to not only represent this region but to also showcase the south for visitors arriving into Mississippi and the south for the first time. The Natchez Trace Parkway begins near Nashville, TN and slices through NE Mississippi and Tupelo and continues across Mississippi to Natchez because it is a beautifully preserved piece of American as well as the southern history and is an important part of the heritage of our region.
In May of 2008, I began using a technique that I commonly use: under painted canvas in a bright yellow color in acrylic before starting to paint in oils in order to capture the light and unify the painting. It was my first triptych and largest painting I had ever painted. The top photo shows how it was mounted on hooks onto the wall of my studio and painted as one continuous painting. The bottom photo above are my reference photos of the scene on the stool below the painting. Digital images on my studio monitor were also used.
|At the Tupelo Airport.|
The painting hung in the Tupelo Airport main lobby from the summer of 2008 until it was transported to the Southern Breeze Gallery at the Renaissance Center in Ridgeland, MS some time before the April 9th 2009 for the opening for my solo show that hung there until April 30, 2009. Someone from the governor's office called and I offered to loan the painting to them.
At the end of the show I was contacted by Debbie Carney of the Governor’s office and that the painting was picked up from the gallery by the governor’s staff and transported to the offices of Governor Barbour in the Walter Sillers Building.
A couple years went by and I was contacted Beth Bryant who said Debbie Carney and Charles Pittman with the Governor's Office had asked me to come to Jackson for a photo with the Governor Haley Barbour.
September 9, 2011- with Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour in front of my painting that was hanging in the hallways of his offices.
Upon the end of Governor Barber’s final term before his departure from office, I wrote to Debbie Carney that I would be in Jackson and we arranged for me to come by on that Friday, December, 9, 2015 to pick up the painting.
On Dec. 9, 2011 while in Jackson, I received a phone call from the Governor’s staff during the day, telling me that he was out briefly and had called them saying that he had forgotten to sign the paintings before he left the office that morning, but would be back by 4PM to sign the paintings if I wouldn’t mind waiting… I was told the offices would be closed then but the staff assured me they would be there and arranged for me to park near the door in the underground parking lot and since the offices would be closing for their security to escort me up to their offices.
When I arrived upstairs into the Governor’s office, I was met by the stunned staff who profusely apologized before showing me the paintings. They said the Governor had signed them on the front - with a sharpie!
After returning home and some online research, I was successful in the removal of the permanent markers using alcohol on cotton swabs to gingerly remove the signatures from each of the painting fronts to restore the work. The following photos were taken with my cell phone that evening before I began work to remove his signatures:
THE JOURNEY CONTINUES.....The triptych was exhibited at the Caron Gallery where they were seen by Gail Wicker who asked me to loan it to Senator Roger Wicker’s office in Washington, DC. Around that same time I was part of the first Plein Air Richmond Invitational in Richmond, VA and offered to transport the work to Richmond to meet Hall Carter, a member of his DC staff so that they could safely be transported DC. When Hall arrived on June 18, 2013, I was busy painting in the event, so the exchange took place in the parking lot of the river park. (see photos below)
|Richmond Va - at first Plein Air Richmond|
The photo below shows The Natchez Trace Parkway in 2014 hanging in Senator Roger Wicker’s office in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC.
In March 2015 the Caron Gallery sold the painting through Lisa Castleberry of Castle Properties for it to be in the art collection- at The Mill in Starkville, Mississippi. It is now welcoming visitors as it is hanging in the lobby of the Mill Conference center.
HOW TO GET IT HOME from Washington DC?
Senator Wicker's office told me it did not have the funds to send the painting to me when it sold. I let the buyer work it out with the gallery. Since Mississippi State University had ownership in the painting it was finally flown home from Washington, DC in MSU President Mark Keenum's private jet to MSU and it's final home. WHAT a journey this painting has had!
|The Natchez Trace in the Lobby of the Mill Conference Center in Starkville, MS (Mississippi State University)|
I’m blessed and honored that the painting has found a permanent home at The Mill .
That it has found a home in Starkville and near MSU where we have lived, worked and studied thrills us and makes us very happy! We look forward to seeing The Natchez Trace Parkway triptych and visiting it with our children, grandchildren and family for years to come.
Dot Courson Studio
Pontotoc, MS 38863