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John Ivor Stewart [1936-2017]

[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]

STEWART, John Ivor (1936-2017)

Vétheuil” [top]

oil on board / 11 inches by 11.2 inches

“Blackthorn Wind” [center]

oil on board / 9 inches by 9.2 inches

“Abstract Landscape” [bottom]

acrylic on board / 10.9 inches by 11.1 inches

all ca1970

Maureen and William Bendix built a mid-century Modern home in the Riverside Addition on the west edge of the city and furnished it with pieces which quickly became classics. Today their home would be featured in Modern magazine as a de facto museum for the period—were it still intact. The Bendixes have passed away and their daughter Estelle Bendix Morreau lives elsewhere. But we have the benefit of four mid-century Modern artworks she has given in her parents’ memory.

How the Bendixes became aware of British artist John Ivor Stewart (a near contemporary of Maureen Bendix) is a mystery. They became enthusiastic collectors of his work, however, acquiring more than these three small pieces, each less than the size of a long-playing record jacket (a comparison for those with an equally long memory). “Abstract Landscape” is particularly representative of a later mid-century color palette and aerial landscape distilled but still clearly recognizable.

“[John Ivor Stewart] studied at Belfast College of Art 1956-60, Reading University for his ATD in 1960, and later the Cardiff College of Art for his ADAE 1973-74. He was a founder member of the Society of Botanical Artists 1982, and was elected a member of the Pastel Society in 1987. He won the Major Prize as a non-member in 1986 and twice again as a member in 1992 and 1997.”

 

Stanisław Raczyński [1903-1982]

[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]

Raczyński, Stanisław (1903-1982)

“Barbakan” (from the Kraków Series)

ca1940

monochrome woodcut on paper / 5 inches by 7 inches

Woodcuts and other print media form a significant part of the Collection, perhaps because they are comparatively affordable. This woodcut by Polish artist Stanisław Raczyński comes from a series based on Kraków, an historic city in the southern part of the country and also the home of the artist’s wife.

Stanisław Raczynski studied painting at the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts in Poland, in 1920s. Before World War II his artistic interest focused on graphics and, in particular, wood-cutting, lithography and similar techniques. His early works were influenced mainly by the modernistic style in painting and wood-carving. His admiration for Salvador Dali was notable, though he did not follow the surrealistic style in graphical art. Among more classical authors, he was en enthusiast of El Greco and Albrecht Durer. He was also influenced by Polish groups of artists like Skoczylas and Pronaszko. Between late 20s and 1939 he was a successful young artist with great expectations. He married Bronislawa Gawin, a girl from an old Krakow family, who went on to become his great partner and supporter in all his life. The World War II dramatically interrupted his career.

A barbican (in English) is the outer defense of a castle or walled city. Large portions of Kraków’s medieval fortifications remain.

William Overend Geller [style of]

[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]

GELLER, William Overend (in the style of)

Portrait of Gaudeamus Tennant

ca1825

oil on board / 12 inches by 9.85 inches

Geller was a British painter and engraver active in London during the first half of the 19th century. As a printer, “…he was an accomplished master of mixed-method engraving which included various printing techniques such as mezzotinting, aquatinting, engraving and etching. He engraved both works by other artists such as Sir Joshua Reynolds and also his own work, spanning a variety of genres.” Portraits such as this study of Gaudeamus Tennant (born 1793) form the bulk of his own artistic output. Though unsigned, this preliminary study is purported to be from Geller’s hand.

If the Tennant brothers Horace, Pliny, and Virgil were the “fathers” of Agincourt, Gaudeamus Tennant (born 1793) was its grandfather. His own origins are cloudy and checkered, a typical American story: a rise from humble origins, emigration to the United States early in the Republic, and making financial success in the Delaware River Valley. So, this is not only the oldest work in the Collection, it is also the piece closest to our shared heritage.

[Just noticed this is post #1300!]

Otto Eckmann [1865-1902]

nachtreiher

[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]

ECKMANN, Otto (1865-1902]

“Nachtreiher” / “Night Herons”

1896

lithographic reproduction of original woodcut /

Otto Eckmann was an important contributor to the German “Jugendstil” movement. Were this one of the original woodcuts, it would be valued much higher. Eckmann and other European artists of his time, however, were frequent contributors to The Studio: An Illustrated Magazine of Fine and Applied Art, a fine and decorative arts journal published in London from 1893 until 1964. Early issues included fine art reproductions, such as our copy of “Night Herons”. So, although unsigned, it was authorized by the artist — no doubt in the spirit of self-promotion.

“Nachtreiher” — sometimes subtitled “Drei Philosophen” or Three Philosophers) — was a contribution by Amity Burroughs Flynn to the G.A.R. Exhibit she organized in 1912, foundation of the Community Collection and a quiet testament to Flynn’s elevation of local artistic standards.