CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- "We've been dealing with mid-century art for many years. This is really exciting. The patriotic and historic theme really comes through," Chuck Hamsher, owner of The Purple Moon, said about the Pat and Helen Hamilton collection titled "Patriotism to Modernism: Art and More from a West Virginia Family."
The collection of 100 to 120 pieces begins its public display Sept. 17 in the store at 906 Quarrier St.
"We've haunted mid-century galleries and stores up and down the East Coast and beyond and this is one of the best collections we've seen," Hamsher said.
"This is great 'Mad Men' art, an amazing collection from this period," Hamsher said, referring to mid-century art that has been popularized by the Emmy Award-winning AMC television show "Mad Men."
"We always had art growing up," said Patti Hamilton. "I think we took it for granted. It wasn't until my mom died in December that I realized that we had to deal with it."
Patti Hamilton is the eldest of her parents' four children; the others are Debra L. Hamilton, Judith Hamilton Brooks and James Edward Hamilton.
Hamilton explained that her father, Pat R. Hamilton, is 90 years old and in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's disease. The lawyer and former longtime state legislator is living in a handicap-accessible addition to the family home in Oak Hill.
"It's hard and it's sad, but this is one of the nicest things we could do and let people enjoy it [the art collection]. I like to think my mom would like this. She left no instructions. We didn't do anything until we all decided. I see it as a meaningful tribute to my parents. We can choose what we want for our homes and let other people enjoy it instead of just having it sit around in boxes," Hamilton said.
The family employed Chuck and Connie Hamsher to help them with the process. A private opening was held Sept. 14 and the public showing begins Sept. 17 at the downtown Charleston store.
"Everything is original as framed. Everything is as it was found, which we think is important," Hamsher said.