PALM BEACH, FL: The Society of the Four Arts will debut a new exhibition entitled “Recapturing the Real West: The Collections of William I. Koch” on Saturday, February 4. This comprehensive private collection is rarely seen by the public eye and has been generously loaned to The Society of the Four Arts by renowned art collector, William I. Koch. Nearly 80% of the items in the collection have never before been displayed publicly. The exhibit will remain on display until April 15.
One of the most exciting items featured in this exhibit is the only existing tintype of Billy the Kid, which made headlines earlier last year when it sold for record amounts at auction. The Society of the four Arts is the first museum to display this photograph since it was acquired by Mr. Koch.
Other notable inclusions from the more than 500 objects on display are such one-of-a-kind pieces as:
• Important original paintings and sculpture by such artists as Charlie Russell and Frederic Remington
• More than 150 guns from notorious outlaws such as Jesse James, John Wesley Hardin and the Ford Brothers, as well as from the legendary lawmen that pursued them.
• The multi-million dollar Carson City Gold Collection
• General Custer’s personal flag, flown at The Battle of Little Big Horn
• One of the only authentic photographs legendary sharpshooter Annie Oakley
The galleries are divided into the following sections: Native American Culture; Guns & General Store; Migration and Economic Growth Post Civil War and Indian Wars; Outlaws and Lawmen; Brothel & Saloon; Mining; Women in the West; and Cowboy Life. The exhibition makes use of every surface in the museum – with Native American garments hung from the ceiling and a collection of wagons and coaches displayed on the gallery lawn.
This expansive exhibition not only explores the history of America’s West, but is also a very personal and rare glimpse into William Koch’s process of collecting art. The exhibit is designed to feel less like a visit to a traditional museum; instead patrons will feel as though they are visiting Mr. Koch’s personal home – with fine art displayed in salon style alongside myriad relics of the West. Side-by-side, the displays evoke the spirit of the West and enhance the patron’s experience by providing context and atmosphere. Mr. Koch was personally involved in the curation and design of the exhibition, adding to the authenticity of the experience.
William I. Koch will give a free illustrated lecture on his collection at 11 a.m. on February 4. Other gallery talks with representatives from the Koch collection are scheduled for March 3, March 17, March 31 and April 14, all at 11 a.m. Gallery talks are free with gallery admission.
A western film festival will accompany the exhibition, taking place every other Friday beginning February 10 and select Sundays beginning February 5. A full schedule is available at www.fourarts.org/films.
Admission to “Recapturing the Real West” is $5. The exhibition opens February 4 and is on display Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Society of the Four Arts is a nonprofit cultural organization located in Palm Beach, Florida. For additional information on The Four Arts, and the more than 230 programs and events offered each season, visit www.fourarts.org.