The Discerning Eye
January 26 - May 3
Juxtaposition: A New way to Look at the Permanent Collection
Central Methodist University's Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art opened a new exhibition in August titled "Juxtaposition: A New Way of Looking at the Permanent Collection." Being featured are two original and highly valued paintings by celebrated folk artist Clementine Hunter, which were recently donated to the gallery, said Curator Joe Geist.
The paintings, titled "The Melrose Auction" (1979) and "Baptising on Cane River" (1976), are oil on canvas works, each measuring 24- by 18-inches. They are a gift from the family of Dr. Paul and Lisa Schoephoerster of Fayette. The paintings are part of a larger collection of Clementine Hunter art works that had been owned by Dr. Schoephoerster's father, Hugh D. Schoephoerster of Anoka, Minn., who passed away in 2000. Schoephoerster is a family practice physician with the University of Missouri Health Care Clinic in Fayette.
"It was his desire to give those paintings to Central Methodist University," Dr. Schoephoerster said. "He absolutely fell in love with this area â he fell in love with Central Methodist."
Geist said the idea behind the "Juxtaposition" theme of the exhibition was to present art works similar in subject matter but painted by different artists â a show offering viewers the opportunity to see differing perspectives of the artists. "It's a matter of looking at our permanent collection in a new way and showing it in a new way," Geist added.
More than 60 paintings, lithographs and photographs are on display, including works by illustrator Monte Crews; former Oklahoma artist Charles Banks Wilson of Fayetteville, Ark.; Oscar E. Berninghaus; George Caleb Bingham; and Robert MacDonald Graham Jr. A number of the paintings are by Mid-Missouri artists and alumni of Central Methodist University. These include works by well-known artists, including Frank Stack of Columbia; Erica Rutherford and Fred Shane, both of whom taught at the University of Missouri-Columbia; Sharon Dyer of Boonville; Fayette photographer Dale Graham, who studied with the renowned landscape photographer Ansel Adams; and CMU alumni George Potter '63 of Colchester, Ill., Betty Switzer Hutson '51 of Kansas City, Edna Schenk '35 of Ventura, Calif., and Charles Broadus '84 of Fayette. Also being presented are the works of husband and wife artists Louis and Elsa "Elsie" Freund, who were the primary organizers of the Eureka Springs, Ark., art colony. The Freunds, long influential in the Arkansas art world, died several years ago in Little Rock.
Commenting on the newly donated Clementine Hunter paintings, Geist said, "Ever since our great Clementine Hunter show in l996, we have been enamored of this remarkable folk artist. Now we feel quite fortunate to have two of her wonderful original works in our permanent collection. We are very grateful to the Schoephoerster family for sharing these works with our many visitors to the Gallery."
Clementine Hunter, who died in 1988 in Louisiana at the age of 101, has often been called the "Black Grandma Moses," another celebrated folk artist who, like Hunter, didn't take up painting seriously until later in life and lived to be 101 years old. She died in 1961.
Hunter was born in December 1886 on a Natchitoches, La., cotton plantation and lived in Louisiana all of her life. She died in January 1988. Hunter's art style was represented in brightly colored images of plantation life in Louisiana. Her subjects depicted everyday life in the black community â seasonal festivals, weddings, dances, and church going, including baptisms and other Christian religious subjects. Her paintings included oils on paper, art board, cardboard and canvas. She also painted on glass, as is represented by her work called "Painted Bottle," which was done on a nine-inch-tall bottle.
She was in her early 50s when she began painting seriously. In time, she was to become Louisiana's most famous folk artist and is considered today one of the most important folk artists of all time. Her work can be seen in the Smithsonian Institute, The Museum of American Folk Art in New York, The New York Historical Association, The New Orleans Museum of Art and The Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, among several other important galleries.