Originally opened as the George W. Morrison Gallery in early 2016, the gallery was renamed the Sally Newkirk Gallery in April 2018 in honor of the Carnegie Center for Art and History’s long-time Director upon her retirement after 30 years of dedicated service to the museum.
The Carnegie Center is home to a collection of 19th and early 20th century painters who were active in the Southern Indiana area. The most important artist in this group is George W. Morrison who was active in New Albany from 1843 to 1893. Morrison’s career spans Indiana’s emergence from its frontier beginnings, through the Steamboat Era, and on to the start of the Industrial Age. He is represented by 14 paintings in the Carnegie Center’s collection and this gallery was originally named in his honor. Other Southern Indiana artists of note in the collection include: Ferdinand Walker, Joseph Krementz, James L. Russell, and Paul Plaschke.
One of Morrison’s most celebrated oil paintings is his “View of New Albany from Silver Hills” was begun in 1851 and finished in 1853. The painting is one of the most iconic landscapes ever painted in Indiana it is also the subject of a small newspaper article extolling the virtues of the scene just after the work was completed. It depicts New Albany at its height as a city that became wealthy through river commerce extending as far south as New Orleans where Morrison occasionally liked to winter.
Works by Morrison and company will rotate through the Sally Newkirk Gallery, but on occasion this gallery will play host to other temporary exhibitions of artistic and historical interest.
Morrison has left us a wonderful legacy that is a unique snapshot and record of New Albany, IN. His art is an important document of our area’s transition from emerging frontier town to a Victorian city on the banks of the Ohio River. The search for more information and artwork from and about George W. Morrison will be ongoing. The Carnegie Center for Art and History will continue to preserve this special inheritance from the past.