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The Tarble at 25 - Celebrating the Collection

on exhibit through October 14, 2007


As part of its silver anniversary year the Tarble Arts Center at Eastern Illinois University is presenting the exhibition The Tarble at 25 - Celebrating the Collection. The exhibition is on view through October 14, 2007 in the main galleries. Tarble volunteer docents will be available to talk about some of the works in the exhibition at The Tarble at 25 Community Celebration on Saturday, September 30, 2-4pm. Admission is free and the public is invited.

The exhibition surveys significant holdings in the Tarble's collection of art. Tarble director Michael Watts organized the exhibition. Says Watts, "In selecting art for this exhibition I looked to show art that is significant to our region or artists who are art historically significant -- a sort of 'greatest hits.'"

The art presented represents the major areas of the Tarble's collection -- paintings by Paul T. Sargent, American Scene/Regionalist art, east-central and southeastern Illinois folk arts, and contemporary art on paper by Midwestern artists. Art that falls outside of these categories are also included in the exhibition. 

Featured are six recently restored landscape paintings by Paul T. Sargent, dating from 1927 and the early 1940s, plus photographs to illustrate the "before and after" of conservation treatment to one of the paintings. "Some of the Sargents on exhibit predate the formation of an organized art collection at Eastern," said Watts. "Most of the Sargent paintings came to the Tarble from the Paul T. Sargent Gallery collection when that program was absorbed by the Tarble Arts Center. But at least two of the Sargents being shown were owned by Eastern before the Sargent Gallery started its collection program." The Sargent Gallery opened in 1951 and served as Eastern's art gallery until the opening of the Tarble Arts Center in 1982.

Also passed to the Tarble's collection from the Sargent Gallery were American Scene/Regionalist art works. These are represented in the exhibition by original prints by Grant Wood, John Steuart Curry, Thomas Hart Benton and Charles Turzak, and watercolors by David McCosh and Umberto Romano. In 2006 the Mildred Grush Timmons American Regionalist Acquisitions Endowment was established in the EIU Foundation. The funding from this foundation is being used to build the Tarble's American Scene/Regionalist collection. The lithograph portrait of Burl Ives by Benton in the exhibit is the first purchase made with Timmons Endowment funding. These artists are represented in most major United States art museums' collections.

The Illinois Folk Arts Collection was created specifically with the Tarble in mind, and the Tarble's 500 or so works of folk art represent about half of the total permanent collection. From the folk arts collection are quilts by Sarah Dollar (c. 1845), Elvia Tarble (c. 1932), Cora Meek (c. 1985), and an Amish quilt by Katie Kauffman (c. 1910). There are also carvings and constructions by Ferd Metten and Arthur Walker, and paintings by Jennie Cell. Although many of the artists are only know in this region, Meek and Cell are represented in the American art collection of the Smithsonian Institution.   

The Tarble's holdings of Midwestern art on paper is represented with original prints by John Himmelfarb, James Butler and Fred Jones, and by previous EIU Art faculty members Lynn Trank (drawings) and Walter Sorge (a watercolor and an intagio). From the Tarble's biennial Drawing/Watercolor: Illinois exhibition purchase awards are watercolors by Ed Shay and Jeffrey Little. 

Some unique but significant pieces exhibited include a Villion/Duchamp aquatint, a suite of etchings by Jamie Wyeth, an oil painting by Alice Baber, an etching by Stanley William Hayter, two small bronze sculptures by Charles M. Russell, plus a long-term loan from Roger and Ramona Roberson of a glass work by Dale Chihuly. Marcell Duchamp was one of the creators of Dada and Surrealism, and the print was made with his brother,Jacques Villon. Jamie Wyeth is part of the "first family" of American art, the son of Andrew Wyeth and the grandson of N.C. Wyeth. Baber, an east-central Illinois native, achieved national recognition as a colorist in the 1960s. Hayter is known for helping start the 20th century renaissance in printmaking. Russell is the first or second best known of American's cowboy artists (along with Charles Remington). And Chihuly is currently the premiere glass artist in the U.S.

A sculpture maquette (or model) by Michael Dunbar and a small bronze by Cary Knoop serve to reference the Tarble's outdoor sculpture collection. The most contemporary works exhibited, in terms of concepts, is a selection from the Peter Norton Christmas Commissions, with works by Kara Walker, and others. And from the Tarble's study collection is a Oaxacan woodcarving from Mexico.

For more information about the exhibition or to arrange a group tour, please contact the Tarble at 217-581-ARTS (-2787) or mwatts@eiu.edu. 

(above: Jennie Cell (b. Coles County, IL; 1905-1988), Buster,  oil on board. Purchase, Tarble Arts Center Membership Funds)


(above: David McCosh (1903 - 1981; born Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Title Unknown, 1934, watercolor. Paul T. Sargent Gallery Acquisition)


(above: Paul T. Sargent (b. Coles County, Illinois; 1880-1946), Untitled (or The Yellow Oak), 1943, oil on canvas. Gift of or Purchased from the Artist)


(above: Arthur Ryan Walker (1912 - 1995; b. Sullivan, Illinois), Carousel, n.d., carved & painted wood, painted metal and found objects, Purchase; Tarble Arts Center Membership Funds)

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