West Bend Art Museum

West Bend, WI

(262) 334-9638


Unveiling of Carl von Marr and Helen F. Mears Works Acquired by The West Bend Art Museum


The West Bend Art Museum invites the public to an unveiling of recent additions to its Carl von Marr and Early Wisconsin Art Collection. On Friday, August 13, 1999 a public reception will be held from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. with a special presentation about the goals of the museum being given at 6:00 p.m.

Included in the unveiling will be a stunning turn-of-the-century portrait by Milwaukee-Munich artist, Carl von Marr, of a young lady casually reclining in a rich tapestry of color and pattern. The subject's casual pose, musing facial expression and playful interaction with a kitten lying next to her leaves the viewer wondering what this young lady could possibly be pondering. (left: Carl von Marr (1858-1936), A Wistful Moment, 1892, oil on canvas, Collection of The West Bend Art Museum)

It is typical of Marr's genre paintings where he imbues his sitters with traits that reveal their mental and emotional state of mind, as well as their character and personality. In this particular case, he uses a limited gray palette and emphasizes a relaxed youthful personification set amidst a rich composition of richly textured fabrics and patterned wall coverings.

An equally significant addition to the museum's early Wisconsin collection is a recently acquired early 20th century bronze portrait titled, Aphrodite, by rate 19th early 20th century Oshkosh Wisconsin artist, Helen F. Mears.

Mears was a full-time sculptor from Wisconsin who achieved a fair amount of notoriety including that which she achieved at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Today she continues to be widely known among Wisconsin Women's Clubs. She created sculptures in Europe and New York up until the time of her tragic and premature death around World War I. Aphrodite, a late Victorian-style bronze was the last bronze series she completed before she died. The museum's copy is one of only two known to still exist from the original edition of three. (right: Helen F. Mears (1876-1916), Aphrodite, 1912, bronze, Collection of The West Bend Art Museum)

Numerous other additions will be publicly shown for the first time. Among them is an extremely rare 19th century ceramic vase by Susan Frackelton, and modern art works by Wisconsin artists, Edmund Lewandowski and Carl Holty, who became prominent figures in early American abstract art.

The unveiling of the art museum's recent acquisitions will be done by the museum's Board of Directors members Roger Stephenson and John Dedrick, both of whom have been instrumental in working on the art museum's 21st Century Campaign which was designed to raise funds for the acquisition of fine and decorative art by Wisconsin's earliest artists.

The West Bend Art Museum is the only museum whose mission is to collect, preserve and document the early art of Wisconsin beginning with Euro-American settlement and concluding around 1950. The museum houses a related early Wisconsin art archives which is available for historical, scholarly and public review.

During the afternoon and early evening event, the museum will also host an opening reception for a six~week temporary exhibition of works of art by Wisconsin artists, Denise Presnell-Weidner and William Weidner. Their exhibition runs from August 11 - September 19, 1999.

This exhibit focuses on a husband and wife duo who are working as full-time artists as well as art educators at Lakeland College, Sheboygan, Wisconsin. William Weidner's paintings present unsettling vistas of not-quite-real Wisconsin urban landscapes while Denise Presnell-Weidner focuses on the ambiance of Wisconsin geography. (left: William Weidner, Sheboygan #29, 1994; right: Denise Presnell-Weidner, Highway 28 #17, 1993)

Tours of art collections, temporary exhibitions will be available as well as live music, educational activities and specialty foods at no charge.

Read more in Resource Library Magazine about the West Bend Art Museum.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 10/18/10

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