Contemporary Impressions

Gettysburg College, January 2015

A little over ten years ago, Geoffrey Jackson '91 attended a local gallery showing in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, which featured the work of Alan Fetterman, one of the premier plein air impressionist painters in Bucks County.

"I had the opportunity to speak with Alan and get to know him," said Jackson, who became an avid collector of Fetterman's work. Jackson gained an appreciation for art at a young age, while touring museums and galleries with his parents, who were serious collectors of impressionist art.

His family's Fourjay Foundation, established by his late father Eugene Jackson, has provided support to the Center for Career Development, Musselman Library, the John F. Jaeger Center, Gettysburg Fund, and scholarships. Among the philanthropy that distinguishes Jackson are his generous donations of rare books, manuscripts, and art given to the College as part of Special Collections.

Penn HallJackson wanted to give back to his alma mater in a unique way that would honor the exemplary experience he had while at Gettysburg. He commissioned Fetterman to capture the essence of the campus in two paintings for the walls of the historic room in the Admissions building, where President Eisenhower wrote his memoirs—and where most visits to campus originate.

"These commissioned pieces are really important to me," said Jackson. "It's a marriage of good things: I can unite Alan's artistic vision with the significance and grandeur of a school that helped make me who I am today."

As part of the process, Jackson and Fetterman set out to visit campus and gather research for the paintings.

On the first visit to campus, Jackson and Fetterman viewed campus from atop the Penn Hall Cupola, the Glatfelter bell tower, the Gettysburg battlefield, and the rooftops of the Gettysburg Hotel and the Majestic Theater. Fetterman created renderings of possible views for the paintings, taking into consideration the College's historic prints and photos of campus dating back to the Civil War.

Fetterman embraced the journey, as he had never been to campus before this visit. "When Geoff posed the idea, I was struck by the historical greatness of Gettysburg­­—the legacy as well as the profound demise and greatness of humanity," he said.

He returned five times to campus during the research process.

"Glatfelter Hall depicted in the springtime is like a rebirth—as it was newly renovated, this feels particularly serendipitous," said Fetterman. "Showing Penn Hall in a winter scene recalls the history of the building as an old Civil War hospital."

Fetterman continued: "This collaboration is truly one where so many benefit. The energy and culture of learning at Gettysburg is real and alive, and it's an honor for me to play a part in this."

© Alan Fetterman Fine Arts