Sunday, October 06, 2013

Elmhurst Art Museum - Permanent collection

Salvador Dali

Not  many American suburbs have their own art museums -- and Elmhurst has a very good one.

Mostly it uses its space in a Mies Van Der Rohe steel-glass residence  to present special, temporary exhibitions of contemporary art.

But now we get to see its permanent collection, as gathered over the decades by donations from collectors and artists.

Above is an example of a direction that, thankfully, most of these donations did not take --- i.e. prints from world famous, iconic artists.

Lee Sturges

Instead, they've mostly gotten local artists, which I find much more interesting.

Sturges was a local businessman who also made etchings -- and very good ones, I might add.

Jurgis Sapkus

Sapkus made stain glass windows for a local church -- and I'm glad somebody purchased this lively drawing from him.

Ah... the  Bohemian life!

Joseph Henry Sharp

This is my favorite piece in the gallery dedicated to the early 20th C.

I love these carefully composed,  peaceful, romantic views of Native American life

It may  be a Euro-American fantasy  --- but art is usually about imaginary worlds.

Harry Bouras

Harry Bouras was a Chicago artist and critic who once had a brief radio program on WFMT  (the Classical music station) where he talked about art.

I occasionally listened to that program back in the 1970's -- and it greatly annoyed me

His primary claim to fame ever since has been the name taken by a group of Chicago painters (Nutt, Nilsson, Wirsum, etc) who called themselves the "Hairy  Who?" in response to his criticism of their work.

Harry who?

Auste Peciura

The museum received a large donation of Chicago art  from the 1980's, including this large drawing from an artist who seems to have dropped off the artworld radar.

If Peciura  qualified as an "outsider" artist, he (or she) might now be much better known.

Billie Hightower

Here's another artist who has dropped out of sight. I think this is the same Southern artist who taught painting in Florida and died about 20 years ago.

Here's a shot of the 80's gallery -- and the piece that stands out for me is the buck naked rifleman painted by the  Chicago artworld's  notorious bete noire, Wesley Kimler.

Wesley Kimler

You can probably guess why he doesn't get along with people very well -- especially other artists, curators, and dealers   ----- as a result of which,  his work is hardly ever shown.

The few pieces that I've seen repulse me -- like a big bug splattered on the windshield.

But I found this painting to be the strongest and most memorable painting in the Elmhurst collection.

Everything else seems a bit tame and sleepy by comparison.

Michele Feder-Nadoff

Unfortunately, I don't think this lady stayed with painting.

She's now  pursuing a degree in Anthropology.

Jennifer Scott Mclaughlin

Now we  move into the art of the last few years.

Usually I like the exhibits they've been mounting -- so it's no surprise I like some of the recent additions to their collection.

It's too bad the museum is not collecting any contemporary observational art:   no portraits, landscapes, or still-lifes.

But since the permanent collection hardly ever comes out of storage, it doesn't really make much difference.

Melissa Oresky

Zhao Brothers

I'm guessing that one brother did the red splotches, while the other did the black lines.

Their collaboration leads to results that are happily unexpected.

Sharon Halford

Moving on to the rooms of sculpture, I really like this piece from an amateur, self taught sculptor who was the artist-in-residence at a suburban high school back in the 90's, but seems to have disappeared ever since.

It's exactly the kind of work that a Mies Van Der Rohe glass/steel box  badly needs.

Abbott Pattison

The E.A.M. ended up with a large collection of work by this sculptor -- but I think it's better suited for an outdoor art fair than a museum.


Blogger Fayette Hickox said...

AustÄ— (Peciura) is alive and well. Her work is currently featured in two museum shows: "Unorthodox" at New York's Jewish Museum, and "Surrealism: The Conjured Life" at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Arts.

November 23, 2015  

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