Museum of Work & Culture Unveils Portrait of R.I.’s First French Canadian Governor
(WOONSOCKET, R.I.) – The Museum of Work & Culture invites the press to an unveiling of a portrait of Governor Aram Pothier by noted French Canadian portraitist Lorenzo de Nevers.
On Thursday, May 18, the Museum will be holding a reception to unveil the portrait and thank the generous donors, Chris and Elaine Stephens. The portrait will be permanently installed in the Museum’s Slater Club exhibit, which honors the contributions of mill owners and noted public figures, including Pothier.
Pothier was Rhode Island’s first great Franco-American political leader. He served as governor of Rhode Island for two non-consecutive terms. Pothier immigrated to Woonsocket at the age of 16 and learned the banking profession. He became Woonsocket’s mayor in 1894 and worked to entice French and Belgian woolen and worsted textile manufacturers to set up operations in the city, transforming Woonsocket into a thriving industrial center. An ally of the owners, Pothier nevertheless possessed a genuine concern for creating jobs for his people.
de Nevers immigrated with his family from the Province of Québec to Central Falls, Rhode Island at the age of 21. After a year of study at the Rhode Island School of Design, he moved to Paris and attended the famed L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts. During his time in Paris, he established himself as a skilled portraitist and enjoyed commissions from European royals and nobles. Upon returning to North America in 1914 he began operating out of studios in Woonsocket, Montreal, and New York City. Some of his best known American subjects include Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Ted Williams.
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About the Museum of Work & Culture
The interactive and educational Museum of Work & Culture shares the stories of the men, women, and children who came to find a better life in Rhode Island’s mill towns in the late 19th- and 20th centuries. It recently received a Rhode Island Monthly Best of Rhode Island Award for its SensAbilities Saturdays all-ability program.
About the Rhode Island Historical Society
Founded in 1822, the RIHS is the fourth-oldest historical society in the United States and is Rhode Island’s largest and oldest historical organization, as well as its only Smithsonian Affiliate. In Providence, the RIHS owns and operates the John Brown House Museum, a designated National Historic Landmark, built in 1788; the Aldrich House, built in 1822 and used for administration and public programs; and the Mary Elizabeth Robinson Research Center, where archival, book, and image collections are housed. In Woonsocket, the RIHS manages the Museum of Work and Culture, a community museum examining the industrial history of northern Rhode Island and of the workers and settlers, especially French-Canadians, who made it one of the state’s most distinctive areas.