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Developer builds up an impressive war-art trove
Builder's original works of art to help commemorate Battle of Fredericksburg's 150th anniversary

 Artist Pamela Patrick White depicts Clara Barton tending wounded at Chatham.
PAMELA PATRICK WHITE/LARRY D. SILVER COLLECTION
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Date published: 11/20/2012

BY CLINT SCHEMMER

Larry Silver has built a to-die-for art collection.

It includes the top names in Civil War art and illustration--people whose work is sought by collectors, galleries and history buffs across the world.

On Saturday, a small selection of that artwork is coming to the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center, where the public can enjoy it during the region's kickoff to its most intense period of the war's sesquicentennial.

"The Battle of Fredericksburg forever changed our area and had a lasting effect over the next century," museum president and CEO Ellen Killough said in a statement. "These pieces have never before been seen by our community, and they are a wonderful opportunity to visually experience the historic significance of this chapter in our local history."

The Battle of Fredericksburg, fought in mid-December 1862, was the first of four major battles fought in the area--making it the most blood-soaked landscape of the entire 41/2-year conflict.

The temporary exhibit comes courtesy of Silver, president and CEO of Silver Cos., the area's largest developer.

The executive's interest in the subjects emerged from his boyhood in Fredericksburg.

"Even today, you can see the historic imprint left behind by this battle on our nation's history," he said in a statement.

"My father, Carl Silver, who had a deep love for this community for over 70 years, taught me how important it is to remember and respect your past. I hope these paintings help inspire a new generation to cherish the rich history that is Fredericksburg."

Silver said he and the Silver Cos. wanted to do something significant for the battle's sesquicentennial.

He commissioned dozens of oil paintings, which have never been shown to the public, starting in 2006 as part of the Silver Cos.' early plans for its Celebrate Virginia retail complex, when a visitors center there was being considered.

Silver's collection focuses on the history of Fredericksburg from the Colonial era, when George Washington lived here with his family, through the Civil War.

He is providing 10 oil paintings, chosen by the museum staff, for the exhibition. They were created by many of America's most respected historical artists, including Mort Künstler, Don Troiani, Bradley Schmehl, Pamela Patrick White, Heide Presse, Keith Rocco, Dan Nance and Mark Churms.


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