Mediterranea: American Art from the Graham D. Williford Collection

Boca Raton Museum of Art

On view January 31 through July 2, 2017

The term “Mediterranean” was coined by early-20th century, French historian Fernand Braudel, who was the first to unite the cultures, histories, and geographies of the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea into a singular image and locus of cultural production–seeing the region as uniquely constructed by its historical role as a stage for cultural encounters. This exhibition explores the atmosphere, architecture, and people of the Mediterranean region through the paintings of late 19th and early 20th-century American artists from the collection of the Jean and Graham Devoe Williford Charitable Trust. Such luminaries as William Merritt Chase, Elihu Vedder, Frank Duveneck, and Charles Caryl Coleman are featured among the 70 paintings. 

The late Graham D. Williford was born in 1926 and raised in Fairfield, Texas. After graduating from college, he served in the US Navy during World War II. After the war ended, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Columbia University. Following graduate studies at Columbia, Williford made his way to Paris, where he trained to become a concert pianist. He became intensely interested in American art during his stay in Paris and later made the city his second home, serving as the impetus of this great collection that he continued to build until his death in 2006.

Related Event

Boca Talk
Mark White, Ph.D.: Mediterranea: American Art from the Graham D. Williford Collection
Sunday, Apr. 9 / 3:00–4:00 pm
Seating is limited. Tickets: $10, available at 
Dr. Mark White, Director of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma, explores how American artists understood, interpreted, and portrayed Mediterranean culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Mediterranea: American Art from the Graham D. Williford Collection is made possible by made possible by the Museum’s Exhibition Leadership Fund with major support generously provided by the Estate of Ardele L. Garrod, the Estate of Ruth Feigl, Jody H. & Martin Grass, Dalia & Duane Stiller, Steinberg Global Asset Management, Ltd., Art Alliance of Contemporary Glass, and the Museum’s Friends Auxiliary. Additional support is provided in part by the City of Boca Raton; the Board of County Commissioners, the Tourist Development Council and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County; the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. Additional support is generously provided by our Members and Donors.

Additional support for Mediterranea is generously provided by the Jean and Graham Devoe Williford Charitable Trust.

Please contact Kelsey Johnson for interviews with Curator of Contemporary Art Kathleen Goncharov, or Museum Executive Director Irvin Lippman. High-res images and captions available via Dropbox: