"Animals in Art" at the Muscatine Art Center -- through June 16.

Through Sunday, June 16

Muscatine Art Center, 1314 Mulberry Avenue, Muscatine IA

Man’s best friend, barnyard creatures, playful kittens, circus animals, and bucking broncos are among the creatures portrayed in the Muscatine Art Center's exhibition Animals in Art, with paintings, prints, drawings, and sculptures from the venue's permanent collection – alongside selections of art pottery on loan from Mark and Marie Latta – on display through June 16.

Featured in Animals in Art are works by John Steuart Curry, Thomas Hart Benton, Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Virginia Myers, Nathanial Currier, and many others, including Muscatine artist William Bunn. As Muscatine Art Center director Melanie Alexander explains, “This exhibition brings together treasures from the permanent collection with over 150 pieces of American Art Pottery. Planning this exhibition has been a real joy. It is not often that we have the opportunity to display a charcoal and pastel by Edgar Degas next to lithographs by Grant Wood.”

Among the artwork displayed on the Stanley Gallery’s walls, there are paintings that were added as recently as November of 2023, works on paper that were framed especially for this exhibition and had not previously been on view, and paintings that were cleaned or restored in 2023. “Even our frequent visitors will encounter works of art never before displayed at the Muscatine Art Center,” says Alexander.

"Animals in Art" through June 16

The display of American art pottery is the second major exhibition in the Stanley Gallery to feature the Latta collection. In 2006, approximately 100 pieces were on view for Weller Pottery: The Rare, The Unusual, The Seldom Seen. While that exhibition spotlighted the work of a single pottery company, Animals in Art celebrates the creations of three main pottery studios – Rookwood, Roseville, and Weller – along with examples of works by more contemporary potters.

“Muscatine Art Center staff selected examples of larger garden ware, vases, other vessels, and smaller objects,” says Alexander. “Each person on staff has a few favorites like the garden ware swans that measure about 18 inches or the highly decorative vases that feature fish or owls. There is something for everyone among the examples of art pottery.”

"Animals in Art" through June 16

Collectors Mark and Marie Latta have collected American art pottery for decades, and the couple has served on the board of the American Art Pottery Association. Mark is the past president of the organization and is the current president of the Board of Trustees for the Muscatine Art Center. The Lattas have also lent their collection to museums in the Midwest such as the Brunnier Art Museum on the Iowa State University campus and the Zanesville Museum of Art.

Mark and Marie Latta will give a guided tour of their collection on view in Animals in Art on February 29 at 5:30 p.m., the exhibit itself will be on view in the venue's Stanley Gallery through June 18, and regular gallery hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. Donations are appreciated, and more information is available by calling (563)263-8282 and visiting MuscatineArtCenter.org.

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