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Donald Maxwell [1877–1936]

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

MAXWELL, Donald [1877–1936]

“Pook’s Hill, Little Dartmouth”

ca1920

lithograph / 6.8 inches by 10.9 inches / edition unknown

A charming early 20th Century chromolithograph, showing a view across Pook’s Hill, Little Dartmouth adds to the apt but unjust observation — in our estimation — that the Community Collection consists largely of “landscapes and livestock.” Artist Donald Maxwell may be better known for his considerable body of work as an illustrator:

“Maxwell trained in London at the Clapham School of Art, the Slade School of Fine Art, and the Royal College of Art. He was soon writing and illustrating extensively for The Yachting Monthly and other magazines. In about 1909, he became a regular correspondent for the Daily Graphic and the illustrated weekly The Graphic and continued so until the latter closed in 1932. In later life he wrote weekly illustrated articles for the Church Times.

“Most of Maxwell’s thirty or more self-illustrated books were about voyages in (Europe, Mesopotamia, Palestine, and India) and later about the sights of Southern England. He also illustrated books by many other authors, including Hilaire Belloc and also Rudyard Kipling, to whom his mother was related.

“Interest in Maxwell’s work as an artist has continued. Several of his topographical paintings were bought by the Southern Railway and displayed as prints in railway carriages. These have since become collectors’ items. A lithograph of a water colour by Maxwell showing Shap Fell in Cumbria, printed for the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, sold at auction for £517 in 1999, and a marine oil painting for £5520 in 1998. A folio of unframed drawings by Maxwell fetched £840 at auction in 2005.” [from Wikipedia, no less]

We are fortunate to have this delicate piece.

 

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.

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 a Central or Eastern European rural setting.

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

Maurice Lapp [1925–2014]

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

LAPP, Maurice [1925–2014]

Abstract Cityscape

1950-1955

oil on masonite / 27 inches by 33 inches

Chicago-born and educated at the Art Institute there, Lapp received both a Ryerson Fellowship and Fulbright Grant for advanced study. He settled in Northern California about 1952 and eventually joined the faculty at Santa Rosa Junior College in 1956. This painting was acquired by William and Maureen Bendix and hung in their MCM home in Agincourt’s Riverside Addition. It was donated to the Community Collection by their children.

Micah Schwaberow, also represented in the collection, was among Lapp’s students at the College.

William Walcot [1874–1943]

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

WALCOT, William [1874–1943; Scottish-Russian]

“An Etruscan Temple — Jupiter Capitolinus”

1918

etching and aquatint / 5 inches by 7 inches / signed

Scottish-Russian architect, artist and etcher, William Walcot was born in Odessa, now in the Ukraine, and practiced a refined Art Nouveau style in Moscow for about six years. This rendering of the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus shows the original wooden Etruscan temple which stood on Rome’s Capitoline Hill, now the site of Michelangelo’s Capitol.

This etching was a gift to the nascent Community Collection some time during the 1920s in memory of Agincourt architect Anson Tennant — at a time when he was thought to have gone down with the Lusitania. The source is unrecorded.

As is the origin of an additional memorial album, Walcot’s Roman Compositions, published in 1921 by the Architectural Press in London.

Max Pollak [1886–1970]

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

POLLAK, Max [1886–1970]

“Wien, Notsteg Uber den Donaukanal” / Vienna, Emergency Pier Over the Danube Canal

ca1917

mixed technique intaglio / ed. unknown

25 3/8 inches by 31 inches (image)

Born in Prague, while it was still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Pollak was educated in Vienna. This print was part of the Austrian record of World War I — think of it as something like a war-time WPA. The Nazis subsequently destroyed much of Pollak’s work as “degenerate Jewish art”. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1927.

This poignant and history-laden work is on loan from the collection of Temple Emanu-El.

Henry W. L. Hurst [1865–1938]

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

HURST, Henry William Lowe / “Hal” [1865–1938]

“An Italian Night”

watercolor / 13.5 inches by 8 inches (image)

“Born Henry William Lowe Hurst in London in 1865, he was the son of Henry Hurst, a well-known African traveller and publisher (Hurst and Blackett). He was educated at St. Paul’s School in London and soon after started recording the political instability of Ireland through drawings and illustrations. He travelled to the United States of America where he found work illustrating newspapers in New York City and Philadelphia. Hal returned to Europe studying art at the Royal Academy Schools and the Académie Julian in Paris. He exhibited extensively at all the principal London galleries and was elected member of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1896, Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours in 1898, and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 1900. He was a founder member of the Royal Miniature Society from its inception in 1896 and elected Vice-President, a position he held until stepping down in 1913 — he was given the distinction of Honorary member status the following year.

“Hal shared a studio at 23a South Audley Street, Mayfair, London with Alyn Williams founder of the Royal Miniature Society. A motivated, prolific and respected artist, Hal illustrated in excess of 20 published books including Mark Twain’s The American Claimant. In addition, his illustrations were published in Punch, Harper’s Weekly, Vanity Fair, The Idler and the Illustrated London News, amongst others.”

[Wikipedia.com]

Stephen Brook [British, contemporary]

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

BROOK, Stephen (contemporary British)

“Shaftsbury Avenue”

2022

acrylic on canvas / 12 inches by 12 inches

In the midst of this pandemic, with travel severely restricted, if not impossible, views of familiar places take on special meaning. This striking image of busy Shaftsbury Avenue in central London reminds us of a pleasant yet exhausting afternoon visiting its string of new and used bookstores. London artist Stephen Brook renders the subtle color differences of late afternoons in vignettes like this.

This was a gift to the Collection in memory of Agincourt’s dealer in out-of-print books, Hamish Brooks — no relation to the artist.

Seamus Tierney (1933-2011)

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

TIERNEY, Seamus [1933–2011]

“Templehof Hafen” 

watercolor on paper / 3.5 inches by 5.5 inches

1953

Seamus Tierney is known in the community primarily as a theatre director and playwright. But his local career was interrupted by service in the U.S. Army. Stationed at various bases in West Germany during the 1950s, Tierney became part of an airlift to Berlin during its life as a divided city. He had time to make several quick studies of the city, in this case the harbor near Templehof Airport. Inscribed on the reverse in Tierney’s handwriting is a fuller explanation in German: “Industrieanlagen im Hafen vom alten West-Berlin, im Hintergrund das Ullstein-Haus in Tempelhof.” [Industrial plants in the port of old West Berlin, in the background the Ullstein House in Tempelhof.] Since Tierney worked as an artist in woodcut, he probably intended this as a study for the more tedious process of carving the woodblock.