The History of Silhouettes and an Interview with Patricia Altschul about her Collection

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  1. What a fine collection she has. It was exciting to finally see closeups and descriptions of some of the pieces. They really are extraordinary. But my museum background comes to the fore when I see a display like this. One wonders – is there UV protection on the glass above? The light is so strong coming down. It would be a great pity to have these deteriorate because of sun exposure. Very interesting post! Good to know the whole history of the art form. I’ve always admired silhouettes for both their graphic beauty and historic qualities.

    • Thank you for the positive feedback. You’ll be pleased to know that all of the windows in Miss Patricia’s common areas have UV protection on the windows. In addition, the house is maintained at particular temperatures to protect the art.

  2. I love silhouettes-my childhood home was filled with them, as my dad inherited many and my mother kept collecting. Thank you for this wonderful tour of Patricia’s impressive collection!

  3. I love silhouettes and have a few myself. But I don’t think this wonderful collection works where it is. The floor in that gorgeous entrance hall is quite “busy” and it really conflicts with all those silhouettes. They could be used to great advantage somewhere else. Like a poster above, I worry about all that light on them as well.

    When I was in grade school (back in the Stone Age!), I remember our teacher doing silhouettes of all of us to paste on construction paper and give to our parents for Christmas. It was fascinating to watch her cut them out. My mother was a “thrower-outer” and my own silhouette did not survive.

  4. Beautiful collection! Like others who have commented, I too hope they are protected from damage from the bright light.

  5. Excellent writing. I appreciate digging in a bit more than usual. I’m giggling to myself a bit wondering if all of Patricia’s “dear friends” are beautiful and brilliant? Enjoying this series and look forward to the next!

  6. Absolutely captivating! The simple silhouettes we had done as children were just a taste of this delightful and fascinating art form. Thank you for this most informative post. We simply cannot fully appreciate what we don’t understand.

  7. In 1963 at his home in the Low Country of South Carolina, Carew Rice did silhouettes of my now 60 and 57 year old children and my newly teen aged cousin. They are still so precious to me and when I look at them, it takes me back to that day beside the marshes where a lovely old two storied white house stood and a friendly smiling man talked away to two very young children entrancing them as he quickly cut away and revealed the profiles of my babies. I also have a set of glasses with his humorous scenes all around them. My aunt Maggie Doty who lived in Summerville, SC, left them to me in her will. The new edition of Garden and Gun has an article about a gentleman who has a collection of Rice’s work. He has inspired me as has the lady in the article above. Thank you.

    • Thank you for the comment and mention of the new Garden and Gun article. I will have to look. Your anecdote is lovely. I can almost feel myself in the scene you painted. The other day I saw a few of the Carew Rice tumblers on Etsy. You have tempted me to reconsider the purchase. I just love how Rice captured the lowcountry.

    • Sandy
      How wonderful ! Are your glasses Clear and Black ? I have a set.
      My cousin has a set of Green and Black.
      Aren’t we lucky ?

      • You really are lucky. Every so often I see Carew Rice’s work come up on EBay or Etsy, but not often enough! Thank you for taking the time to read the article and sharing your anecdote of the artist. Best, Luzanne

  8. I had written an earlier note about the silhoutettes that Carew Rice of my Mother and of me. ( done at Ocean Drive Beach, SC ) I believe I mis-spelled his name and was corrected by
    Mrs. Altschul ( and thank you for the history ), and later, one of me and my daughter done by
    his son, Clay. A great treat for me to learn so much.


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