FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 21, 2004
Contact: Maribeth Cowan, Public Relations Director
(804) 342-9665 email:
PAINTED HISTORY: THE LANDSCAPES OF VALLEY VIEW FARM OPENS AT THE
VIRGINIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY, FEBRUARY 21 THROUGH AUGUST 15
Richmond, VA–The chance encounter of farmer Charles Strother and artist Andrei Kushnir in 2001
at the gates of Valley View Farm inspired a two-year odyssey to document every aspect of this remarkably
historic and beautifully serene portion of Fauquier County, Virginia. The culmination of Kushnir's work, 50
landscape paintings and additional photographs contributed by the current owners, will be on view at the
Virginia Historical Society February 21 through August 15, 2004, in the exhibition, Painted History: The
Landscapes of Valley View Farm. The paintings, all created en plein air, depict one of the few family-owned
farms in the Crooked Run Valley, just south of Sky Meadows State Park. According to the Virginia Historical
Society's Lora Robins Curator of Art, William Rasmussen, "the paintings underscore the idyllic nature of the area,
as was apparent to Paul Mellon when he set aside the park acreage as a gift to the public." A full-color catalog
accompanies the exhibition and is available for sale in the museum shop.
The farm is rich in history and, with one exception, has been in the same family for nearly two centuries.
Originally land of the Powhatan Indians, it was inherited in the early 18th century by Thomas, sixth Baron
Fairfax. The current owner, Charles Strother, traces his lineage to the Fairfaxes, Carters, and Washingtons.
In the mid-nineteenth century, Quaker pastor Henry Simpers purchased the property. He offered it as a
stopover point for the Underground Railroad, while at the same time openly housed free African Americans.
During the Civil War, Simpers allowed armies from both sides to camp at the farm, including Stonewall
Jackson's troops who marched through on their way to the battle of Second Manassas.
Upon Simpers's death in the 1920s, George Thomas Strother purchased the farm for his son Ed Strother
who worked the property for sixty-one years, from 1926 to 1987. He bought and sold cattle, raised sheep,
hogs, and horses, and built a new house and barn. Neighbor and famous general, George S. Patton, enjoyed
foxhunting with Strother.
In 1997 current owner Charles Strother inherited the farm he had been helping his father run for the previous
decade. Charles expanded the farm business, offering it as a retreat for day outings by business and religious
groups and as a "Pick Your Own" fruits and vegetables attraction. He and his wife raised two sons on the
farm and continue to work it today.
En plein air artist Andrei Kushnir of Ellicott City, Maryland, has exhibited oil paintings for more
than 20 years in juried shows throughout the United States. His works have been selected and shown in
exhibitions judged by curators from the National Gallery of Art, National Museum of American Art,
Hirshhorn Museum, and Corcoran Gallery. He has two published catalogs, and his works have appeared in others.
The Virginia Historical Society is located at 428 N. Boulevard. The Story of Virginia, An American Experience,
a 10,000-square-foot exhibition with more than a thousand objects covering all of Virginia history from prehistoric
times to the present is featured in the Robins Center for Virginia History. Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am - 5pm
and Sunday 1pm - 5pm (Museum Galleries only). Admission: $5/adults, $4/seniors 55+ ($2/Tuesdays–galleries
only), $3/children and students, free/members. Admission to the galleries is free on Mondays. For group tour
information, call (804) 342-9652. For more information, please call (804) 358-4901 or visit