An iconic visual document of a pivotal moment in American history has a new home in downtown Spartanburg. The Johnson Collection’s monumental painting, The Battle of Gettysburg: The Repulse of Longstreet’s Assault, July 3, 1863, has been relocated from its former site to the Church Street headquarters of the Spartanburg County Public Libraries. The work is now displayed in one of two new programming spaces on the facility’s second floor. A free public unveiling is scheduled for Monday, May 16 at 7pm and will feature a special Greenville Chautauqua historical reenactment.
Measuring 20 feet in length and over 7 feet in height, The Battle of Gettysburg had been housed at a local corporate headquarters. While open to the public for viewing, the site did not provide optimal accessibility. In an effort to increase the painting’s visibility and maximize its potential as a teaching tool, the library leadership and Johnson family initiated a public-private partnership. “With over a half-million visitors each year, the library headquarters offers the greater Spartanburg community unparalleled access to this compelling record of our nation’s history,” stated George Dean Johnson, Jr. “The Johnson Collection operates on the principle that art should be shared, and The Battle of Gettysburg’s new location will ensure that our neighbors—and visitors to Spartanburg—will have more opportunities to appreciate this particular work of art and the American story it conveys.”