NEPA Scene Staff

VIDEO: Everhart Museum acquires historic Scranton paintings by Dunmore artist John Willard Raught

VIDEO: Everhart Museum acquires historic Scranton paintings by Dunmore artist John Willard Raught
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From a press release:

The Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science, and Art has unveiled five paintings by Impressionist landscape artist and Dunmore native John Willard Raught (1857-1931) that were recently acquired by the Scranton museum. These works, which were obtained from the estate of a regional collector, will be on view in the John Willard Raught Gallery located on the second floor.

The unveiling on July 27 was followed by the public premiere of “The Power of Place: John Willard Raught’s Scranton,” a short video produced by Scranton digital marketing agency Posture Interactive on behalf of the Everhart. The video, featuring interviews with several local historians, examines Raught’s life and career while juxtaposing several of his landscapes from the museum’s collection with real-life images and footage of those scenes then and now.

Among the paintings explored in the video is “Harrison Avenue Bridge,” which depicts the recently replaced eponymous passage over the Roaring Brook, and “Scranton Looking North,” which portrays the Scranton cityscape as it was in the 1920s. Historians in the video include Executive Director of the Lackawanna Historical Society Mary Ann Savakinus, Executive Director of the Lackawanna River Corridor Association Bernie McGurl, and retired curator and member of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission Richard Stanislaus. It is available to watch now on the museum’s YouTube channel.

Everhart Museum Executive Director Kathy Johnson Bowles offered these words: “Raught’s paintings are a foundational part of the museum’s art collection, capturing Northeastern Pennsylvania’s powerful heritage. Raught’s works exemplify how this region inspires individuals to reach the heights of their potential. The museum is proud to share these works with the community and preserve them for future generations.”

Raught is best known for his Impressionist and Tonalist landscapes, to which he employed expert use of light, tone, and color to create mood. The Everhart’s Raught collection, amassed over the course of nearly a century, perfectly encapsulates both the natural beauty and the industrial legacy of the area. Through picturesque rural landscapes and Scranton cityscapes drenched in sunlight, as well as dark, dismal depictions of the region’s coal breakers, Raught explored NEPA and its importance to everyday life. He was distressed by the ravages of progress and industrialization, and his coal breaker paintings allow the viewer to reflect on an industry that was simultaneously vital to the region’s 19th century economic growth and detrimental to the environment.

Immediate former Chair of the Board of Trustees Donald J. Fredrickson, Jr., Esq., stated, “This acquisition builds on our past and creates our future as we position ourselves for the next 100 years. As an institution, the museum’s collection is diverse, much of which celebrates and commemorates the history of the region while furthering the vision of our founder, Dr. Everhart.”

The Everhart Museum (1901 Mulberry St., Scranton) was closed until February due to a surge in local cases of COVID-19. It is currently open on an abbreviated schedule of noon-5 p.m. on Fridays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays, and noon-5 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for students and seniors, $2 for children 6-12, and free to guests 5 and under and to Everhart Museum members.

The Everhart was founded in 1908 by Dr. Isaiah Fawkes Everhart, a Scranton physician and businessman with a keen interest in natural history. Located in Scranton’s historic Nay Aug Park, the Everhart is the largest general museum in Northeastern Pennsylvania. It is dedicated to the collection, care, and display of a diverse array of objects and specimens, including natural history, science, and fine arts. Through its exhibitions and programs, the museum has been an invaluable regional resource for educational and cultural opportunities for over 100 years.

General support for the museum is received from the Lackawanna County Office of Education and Culture, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the city of Scranton. For more information, contact the museum at 570-346-7186 or email