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items tagged with Augustana College Art Museum

A Resurrected Reputation: “Tranquil Power: The Art of Perle Fine,” through October 23 at the Augustana College Art Museum
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Art

Category: Feature Stories

2012-10-09 22:07:10

'Sketch for a Cubist Still Life' (1938), from the collection of the Augustana College Art Museum

The Abstract Expressionist artist Perle Fine once said, “If I feel something will not stand up 40 years from now, I am not interested in doing that kind of thing.”

Susan Knowles, who curated the career retrospective Tranquil Power: The Art of Perle Fine that closes October 23 at the Augustana College Art Museum, believes that the artist’s output met that high standard.

The irony is that Fine, late in her life and until the past decade, was largely “forgotten,” Knowles said in a recent phone interview.

Part of that is a function of Abstract Expressionism being distilled in the cultural memory to a few key figures. “Now it seems like all we know is Pollock and de Kooning,” Knowles said.

But even though Fine was an active, exemplary, and important participant in the mid-20th Century movement, her notoriety diminished over time while many of her peers’ didn’t. She was interviewed, covered by the media, collected, and invited by Willem de Kooning to join the exclusive Artists’ Club. Yet when the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1978 organized a show about the “formative years” of Abstract Expressionism, for example, it omitted Fine.


Read More About A Resurrected Reputation: “Tranquil Power: The Art Of Perle Fine,” Through October 23 At The Augustana College Art Museum...


“Our Van Gogh, Cézanne, and Corot”: A Memorial Tribute to Jim Konrad, Through September 17 at the Augustana College Art Museum
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Art

Category: Feature Stories

2011-08-26 14:35:03

'Family Portrait' (1976)

There is no doubt that Jim Konrad was a brilliant technician.

“He knew more about the nature of artist materials than any other artist in the Quad Cities,” said Sherry Maurer, director of the Augustana College Art Museum.

“He was very serious about technique,” said his wife Cathy. “And they [his artworks] all have superb technique – color form, composition, things like that.” She called him an “artist’s artist.”

Peter Xiao, a teaching colleague of Konrad’s at Augustana for more than two decades, said the artist’s work is “perfectly balanced” in terms of color – the dark and light, the chromatic scheme.

The Figge Art Museum, in its description of two Konrad works in its collection, notes his “meticulous craftsmanship and expertise in painting methods and materials.”

And in an interview with Bruce Carter earlier this year for the WVIK program Art Talks, Konrad (whom I never met) called himself a teacher of fundamentals. “The more you understand about how to use your materials and how to do it, the more it frees you to be an artist,” he said.

'Landscape (Grey Barn)' (1990)

Konrad’s technical acumen is plainly evident in the Augustana College Art Museum’s current memorial exhibit, celebrating the artist and faculty member who died in May at age 67.

For just one admittedly minor illustration, look at how he painted masking tape in a number of pieces. As Maurer said, “Sometimes ... we’ve had big debates as to whether it’s real tape or not.”

But praising somebody’s proficiency – even one as fine-tuned as Konrad’s – can be a backhanded compliment. And the body of work on display at Augustana College shows an artist fluent in many forms of expression who explored the world in rich and sometimes discomforting ways.


Read More About “Our Van Gogh, CéZanne, And Corot”: A Memorial Tribute To Jim Konrad, Through September 17 At The Augustana College Art Museum...





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