Elvis in Richmond at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

by Chris Murray on March 13, 2012

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts magazine, On Stage, Mosque Theater Copyright ©Alfred Wertheimer All Rights Reserved.

This coming weekend is the last chance to see Elvis at 21 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. Many of my favorite photographs that Alfred Wertheimer made of Elvis were taken in Richmond, Virginia. This weekend is also the anniversary of Alfred Wertheimer first photographing Elvis on March 17, 1956.

I visited the VMFA a couple of weeks ago and the exhibition looks terrific there. The museum itself is extraordinary with engaging art in every gallery, a wonderful restaurant, and an excellent book store and gift shop, which was well stocked with the exhibition catalogue; Elvis 1956 (Welcome Books, 2009).

The cover of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts magazine features a photograph of Elvis performing at the Mosque Theatre in Richmond, now known as the Landmark Theatre. Another site where Wertheimer photographed Elvis is at the Jefferson Hotel, where I stayed and where Elvis spent several hours while performing in Richmond on June 30th, 1956. The beautiful marble check-in counter is still there though guests no longer check in at that location. You can compare how it looked when Elvis checked in in 1956 with this picture of Govinda artist Carlotta Hester at the same spot just a couple of weeks ago.

Carlotta Hester at the Jefferson Hotel in 2012 Copyright ©Chris Murray All Rights Reserved. and Elvis Presely checking into the Jefferson Hotel in 1956. Copyright ©Alfred Wertheimer All Rights Reserved.

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