[From the catalogue-in-progress for “Landscapes & Livestock”, a loan exhibition for Agincourt Homecoming in the Fall of 2015]
MINARIK, Frank [active 1930s]
After George Inness
oil on canvas / 12 inches x 16 inches
The market for late nineteenth century American art was dominated by a constellation of smaller stars—Bingham, Church, Eakins, Sargent. Among the most influential and prolific was George Inness (1825-1894), who lived much of his productive career at Montclair, New Jersey. Inness painted “Home of the Heron” in 1893, the year before his death—watching a Scottish sunset at Bridge of Allan, “when he threw up his hands into the air and exclaimed, ‘My God! oh, how beautiful!’, fell to the ground, and died minutes later.” “Home of the Heron” (and Inness’ work in general) was imitated again and again, in this case by an amateur artist from South Omaha’s Czech community.
It is likely that the family of Frank Minarik had come to Omaha, like many Czechs and Poles, to work in the meatpacking industry. In high school, Frank showed an interest in art but a preference for business. He continued to paint as recreation, however, and applied his skills to a replication of George Inness. This work by “Uncle Frank” came to Agincourt with Rosemary Plička, chef at the Periodic Table.