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Works by mother, daughter hang side by side

September 14, 1998|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

Gazing at the watercolor she painted for the first time after 12 years, Maryland artist Rebecca Pearl was stunned.

"I am absolutely honored, very excited," said Pearl of seeing her painting in the presence of works by Rodin, Winslow Homer, J. Wilmer Gettier and Edith Emerson.

Sold to a private collector in 1986, the work is now on display at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown at City Park as part of "A Collector's Legacy."

The diverse endowment was made in the name of the late Jack Kaiser and contains oils, watercolor paintings, sculptures, porcelain and glass items by renowned artisans. The exhibit opened Sunday and will continue until Sunday, Nov. 1.

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"I feel very honored. I know this museum is extremely important. It makes me feel important, inspired,'' she said.

Titled "Trio Ensemble," the abstract work portrays several musical instruments. It was one of a 10-part series, she said.

Taking stock of the piece, she said, "My work has changed a lot. It's become more realistic."

Pearl said her paintings now show many of the qualities of the works created by her mother, Elizabeth Prongas.

Prongas' landscape oil painting "Edge of the Desert," hangs next to the work by her daughter.

"It makes me feel really good," said Pearl of being part of the exhibit with her mother.

Truly a family event, Pearl attended the opening with her daughter, Sarah Orner, 15, also an artist. Prongas helped out by serving cake at the reception.

"I was pleasantly surprised," said Prongas of the painting's placement.

Pearl and Prongas' works and the other pieces in the museum complement each other, said museum Director Jean Woods.

"The new pieces interface nicely with the permanent collection. It's mostly American 19th- to early 20th-century works," she said.

One of the most notable is Edith Emerson's portrait of Eleanor Pyle, daughter of Brandywine artist Howard Pyle, she said.

Works by William Lester Stevens, Margaret Dobson, Ivan Pelevin, Lamberto Goria and Jacques Sicard are also featured in "A Collector's Legacy."

Wood said she is impressed by the collection because, "it runs the gamut - early 19th-century to contemporary works by modern artists," she said.

And it is that diversity that attracted 490 visitors, she said.

"They are excited to see the various works because they were owned by a private collectors," and are not usually available for the public to view, she said.

Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.

For information, call the museum at 301-739-5727, use the telecommunications device for the deaf at 301-739-5764 or visit the Web site: www.washcomuseum.org.

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