Welcome to Agincourt, Iowa

Home » 2022 » September

Monthly Archives: September 2022

Maureen Bendix [1919–2006]

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

BENDIX, Maureen (née Florscheim) [1919–2006]

“Over the Moon”

ca1960

oil on canvas / 15.9 inches by 20.1 inches

The Bendix family established Agincourt’s first post-war housing development: Riverside Addition, where contractor William Bendix built one of the community’s finest examples of Mid-century Modernism, still standing at 216 N.E. Sixth Street. Bill had designed the house himself and lavished the best materials and craftsmanship on it. Several contemporary artworks graced its walls and the family were major donors to this collection. “Over the Moon” was painted by Maureen Bendix herself for their daughter Estelle.

A playful composition of rabbits defying gravity among clouds and stars, “Over the Moon” was a gift from Estelle Bendix Feldman, who now lives in Omaha.

Pictor Ignotus

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

Pictor Ignotus [ca1940s]

“Study for a Printed Fabric”

watercolor on paper / 6.8 inches by 10.2 inches

ca1940

During the 1940s the art department at Northwest Iowa Normal (its name had not yet changed to “State University”) offered classes in what today we would call commercial or applied art. A folio of work from that period has recently shown up in the library and been placed on long term loan to the Community Collection. Research into college records my reveal who created this sophisticated idea for what was presumably intended to be a silkscreen on silk.

Stylized birds of this sort were a popular theme with architects and designers from the early Arts & Crafts through the Art Deco — William Morris, C.R. Mackintosh, H.M. Baillie Scott, C.F.A. Voysey, and Kolo Moser are prominent in this group. Though their treatment tended toward repetition for application to fabric or wallpaper. The loose treatment evidenced here offers another perspective on industrial design.

Another equally probable influence came to the U.S. much earlier, from Japan, in the form of ukiyo-e floating world woodcut prints, such as this print by Yamada Hōgyoku, active in his own country a hundred years earlier, ca1820-1840.

obliti abhorrentes

obliti abhorrentes

Hard to believe that Agincourt will be one hundred and seventy years old next year — counting from townsite acquisition, rather than incorporation, but who’s counting besides me. At any rate, I feel a celebration coming on, even if it happens nowhere but between my ears. Suffice to say [is it ever thus?], there’s a great deal to be accomplished before next October 25th, viz.:

  • certificates of honorary citizenship, there being currently just over a dozen
  • the municipal standard (i.e, city flag) with its motto “obliti abhorrentes”
  • completion of the Methodist church — which has engaged me for about fifteen years
  • and a whole bunch of additional graphic “evidence” (stock certificates, advertising, posters, electioneering shit, the public library card, transit tokens for the NITC trolleys and interurbans, etc.)

Julius Singer [dates uncertain]

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

SINGER, Julius [ca1880–ca1942]

Winter on the Farm

1920

watercolor on paper / 8.5 inches by 12.2 inches / signed

Another piece on loan from Temple Emanu-El, this subtle and sensitive watercolor is the work of an artist who may have been lost to the Holocaust. His dates are uncertain and he may have been confused with another artist of the same date and approximate age who designed bookplates. This work was acquired in the U.K., though the subject is evidently an Eastern European rural setting.

This work was a gift from an anonymous source to the temple’s “Art of the Holocaust” collection [אמנות השואה].