Stark Museum of Art
Spring Acquisitions at Stark Museum of Art
With one of the largest collections of its kind in the nation, the Stark Museum of Art offers the public a variety of changing exhibitions throughout the year. Often included in these shows are recently acquired works, such as the painting by Frederic Remington entitled "Bullets Kicked Up," which was installed in Gallery 2 this month. The Stark Museum of Art houses a large and varied inventory of paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, books, and letters by Remington, who was one of the highest paid illustrators of his day and perhaps more than any other artist universally identified with the settlement of the American West. Still the best known of all of the Western artists, he continues to personify for millions of Americans that place and period known as the "Old West" in our nation's history. (left: Frederic Remington, Bullets Kicked Up the Dust, 1902, oil on canvas, grisaille, 27 x 49 inches, Stark Museum of Art, 31.10/6)
"Bullets Kicked Up", reproduced as a book illustration in 1902, depicts U. S. Army riflemen involved in combat on the Southwestern frontier. The soldiers advance in formation toward the viewer to engage an opposing force, which is not otherwise pictured. The subject is one of three paintings and six sculptures by Remington currently on exhibit at the Stark Museum of Art.
Of an earlier era is another recent acquisition entitled "Return of the Hunting Party" by John Mix Stanley, a painter who was active on the American frontier during the first half of the 19th century. Stanley traveled more widely in the West than almost any of his contemporaries. The greater part of his Western work was destroyed during his lifetime, and he spent several years recreating his lost collection. One of the largest surviving representations of Stanley's work is to be found at the Stark Museum of Art. "Return of the Hunting Party" may be viewed in Gallery 3 with other important paintings by this artist. (left: John Mix Stanley, Return of the Hunting Party, 1855, oil on canvas, 28 1/8 x 40 inches, Stark Museum of Art, 31.23/18)
Also recently installed in Gallery 3 is a painting by Jules Tavernier, one of the lesser known artists of the American West. Arriving in the United States from France in the 1850s, Tavernier quickly found work as an illustrator in New York City. With another artist-compatriot, he traveled on assignment for Harper's Magazine to California in the 1870s. Eventually he continued westward to Hawaii, where he made a name for himself as a landscape and portrait painter. (left: ules Tavernier, White Man's Weapon, 1880, oil on canvas, 28 x 22 inches, Stark Museum of Art, 31.243/1)
Tavernier's painting on view at the Stark Museum of Art is entitled "White Man's Weapon." Painted in 1880, it presents the standing figure of a Plains Indian man examining a new rifle, which he has probably received in trade. A pile of older, discarded native weapons is pictured at left. The background at right shows a distant view of the man's village against a backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. In keeping with the popular sentiment of his time, Tavernier's painting incorporates a romantic view of the abrupt and irrevocable changes that occurred in the conflict between cultures on the 19th century Western frontier.
Among the contemporary works acquired by the Stark Museum of Art this year is another bronze by Apache sculptor Allan Houser entitled "Acorn Harvest." Describing the tall, sweeping figure of a woman carrying a basket, it the second piece by Houser to have been added to the Stark collection. It now stands in Gallery 1 with other contemporary and historical works representing the life and culture of the American Southwest. (left: Allan Houser, Acorn Harvest, c. 1980, bronze, 37 x 14 x 18 inches, Stark Museum of Art, 21.32/2)
Also among the current offerings at the Stark Museum of Art are two new posters in the Gallery Shop. Both posters reproduce paintings in the museum's permanent collection which are also currently exhibited in the galleries. "The Outpost," by William Herbert "Buck"Dunton, a moonlit scene depicting a solitary horse and rider, was installed in Gallery 2 only this month, while Albert Bierstadt's large canvas, "Yosemite Valley," has been a popular feature of the exhibits in Gallery 3 for several years. Acquired in the same year that the Stark Museum of Art opened to the public, Bierstadt's painting has commanded the attention of thousands of visitors to the Stark galleries. After repeated inquiries and requests, it is now available in reproduction.
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For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.
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