Valley Art Association Civil War exhibit depicts scenes as they might have been

'What you're looking at is the soul of the artist and how they feel about something'

September 19, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN |
  • An exhibit of Civil War paintings is on display at the Mansion House Museum in Hagerstown City Park.
By Colleen McGrath, Staff Photographer

Trish Suder has a painting in the Mansion House Art Gallery of a Confederate soldier during the Civil War giving water to an injured Union soldier. It is entitled “He’s My Brother.”

“In the Civil War, brothers fought brothers,” she said. “Just learning about what the Civil War was about, with the blood and the gore, was very intriguing.”

Suder, 68, of Hagerstown, is a member of the Valley Art Association, which has been displaying an exhibit of Civil War paintings since the beginning of September.

She said she became interested in the Civil War after visiting the two-day Cedar Creek re-enactment in October 2011.

“I had never really thought about the Civil War before,” she said. “I did all my research on what the Cedar Creek battle was about.”

The exhibit displays nearly 50 paintings from at least 20 artists, according to Suder, who said she provided 18 of those paintings.


While she has various paintings of the Civil War, most are related to the re-enactment she attended in 2011. One painting depicts a Confederate soldier riding a horse with his hat falling off, and another depicts two soldiers with their horses near a tent.

“If somebody is a Civil War buff, they really ought to come see (the exhibit),” she said. “Most of the paintings done here were done with a lot of passion. What you’re looking at is the soul of the artist and how they feel about something.”

The paintings all depict events related to the war, according to Janie Moltrup, president of the Valley Art Association.

“This exhibit is primarily works depicting events in the Civil War that might have happened,” she said.

“Most of the paintings in this particular show are either oil or acrylic, but we do have watercolor paintings as well.”

Valley Art Association member Sue Parker wrote the back stories for all of the paintings, Moltrup said.

The paintings include pictures of the Battle of Antietam, soldiers in combat and who died, and symbolic storylines related to the Civil War.

One of the paintings by Donna Mason shows two modern-day young boys standing in the Maryland Monument at Antietam National Battlefield staring at Dunker Church. It signifies the idea of the Civil War being “brother against brother.”

The exhibit runs through Oct. 1, Moltrup said.

The Valley Art Association has more than 100 active members from Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, Moltrup said. 

All of the members may display their work in a feature show in the North Gallery of the Mansion Art Gallery, which serves as the headquarters of the association, Moltrup said. Members who pay extra to be a member can have wall space in other galleries of the mansion, which is at City Park behind the Washington County Museum of Fine Art.

The gallery’s hours are Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

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