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Van Jones [dates unknown]

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

JONES, Van (dates unknown)

Portrait of William Bendix

ca1945-1950

oil on board / 23 inches by 19.2 inches

It is surprising when portraits leave a family’s possession and find their way to strangers through estate auctions or garage sales. An anonymous donor noticed this fine portrait at an antique dealer in Omaha and recognized the subject as former Agincourt resident William Bendix (1905-1984), developer of Riverside Addition and builder of what is arguably Agincourt’s first mid-century modern home. Bendix owned the Chevrolet dealership, which may be where the portrait hung and also account for it going astray.

William and Maureen Bendix had one child, a daughter Estelle. About the artist Van Jones we know little, except he was British, active post-1927, and produced both fine and graphic art — a distinction we are loathe to make..

Elsa Björkman-Goldschmidt [1888-1982]

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

BJÖRKMAN-GOLDSCHMIDT, Elsa (1888-1982)

“Vinter” / “Winter”

1922 (1916)

lithographic reprint of woodcut /

This modest print is one about which we know more about the artist than the work itself. The original was printed in 1916 in an unknown edition. Copies of the original are included in the collections of the British Museum and the National Gallery of Ireland. In 1922 it was reproduced as a print, possibly in book or periodical form such as The International Studio. Our copy is in that format and is on long term loan from Temple Emanu-El synagogue.

About the artist herself, however, there is considerable information. Her entry in Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikonintroduces a massive biographical summary of her long and dramatic life:

Elsa Björkman-Goldschmidt was an author, journalist and visual artist who was associated with the liberal left women’s movement. She also undertook comprehensive humanitarian work on behalf of prisoners of war, children, and refugees during and after both World Wars, largely as the local representative of Rädda Barnen in Vienna.

As the citizen of a neutral country during the Second World War, Mrs Björkman-Goldschmidt was able to accomplish considerable humanitarian work, despite her status as a Jew.

Photograph of Else Andrea Elisabeth Björkman-Goldschmidt [1888-1982]

Micah Schwaberow [born 1948]

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

SCHWABEROW, Micah (contemporary)

“Night Bridges 1”

color woodcut / 6 inches by 4 inches (image) / #45 of 68

1988

Contemporary artist Micah Schwaberow has found a special place among the print media in the collection. It joins several other prints done in the ukiyo-e or “floating world” style of Japan, a cluster which includes native Japanese artists, as well as British and Americans strongly influenced by the distinctive style. “Night Bridges 1” is a small format print which rewards multiple encounters.

Pictor Ignotus [early 20th century]

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

DONAT (early 20th century)

“Le Canal” / The Canal

circa 1920

color woodcut on paper / 9.75 inches by 12 inches

Many have speculated on the pencilled name of the artist on this serene but severely abused woodcut. The consensus is “Donat”, but that has not helped. The title is clear, however — “Le Canal” — and the subject is likely one of the many rural canals in France, possibly the Canal du Midi, which connects the Mediterranean with the Garonne River at Toulouse and then on to the Bay of Biscay.

This print is currently not on display due to the foxing and light soiling around the edge of the image. It awaits conservation.

Marcel Jacquier [1877-1957]

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

JACQUIER, Marcel-J.-L. (1877-1957)

“Voiles Rouge” / Red Sails

oil on board / 13.2 inches by 10 inches

ca1940

Through the occasional wonders of the internet, our acquisition of Marcel Jacquier’s folio of WWI images Somewhere in France came to the attention of the artist’s granddaughter Mlle Azilis Roparz. Impressed with the obtuse connection between our two countries represented by her grandfather’s work, she gifted the collection this painting of about 1940, perhaps earlier.

Though he was born in Paris, Jacquier became a member of the Breton School of painting (in that rural part of western France called Finisterre or Land’s End) and used several picturesque coastal settings as his subjects. Here the title refers to the red-sailed boats in the tidal river estuary.

Marcel Jacquier [1877-1957]

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

JACQUIER, Marcel-J.-L. (1877–1957)

“Somewhere in France”

folio / limited edition collection of ten woodcuts / Paris: Edmond Sagot, 1918

#385/500 / 17.3 inches by 12.5 inches

Published in Paris in 1918 (presumably coincident with the end of World War I), Marcel Jacquier created a suite of ten colored woodblock prints of American soldiers and sailors in France. Similar in style to the illustrations of Sir William Nicholson or the Beggarstaff Brothers (a collaboration of Nicholson and his brother-in-law William Pryde), the prints rely on heavy black lines defining areas of soft, almost watercolored pastel shades.

Though educated in Paris, Jacquier appears to have been a Breton artist; many of his subjects were located there. ”

A student of Luc-Olivier Merson, trained at the Beaux-Arts in Nantes and then at the Académie Julian in Paris, he was a member of the French Artists from 1909 and appeared at the Salon of the same Society. He was also decorator for the pavilion of Brittany at the Universal Exhibition of 1937.

Both before and after the war, he also illustrated posters and other advertising, such as the 1911 poster below.

Our copy of the Jacquier folio was purchased in Paris by Agincourt native Michael Schütz, an American doughboy who remained in France after his service long enough to establish contact with Rev Gaston Cornot, priest at the church of Saint Ahab in Azincourt. The folio had been in possession of the Schütz family until it was gifted to the Community Collection, honoring the several local men and women who enlisted in the war effort.

Folke Sinclair [1877-1956]

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

SINCLAIR, Folke (1877–1956)

“Trädgrupp” / Group of Trees

1926

oil on canvas / 12 inches by 11 inches

The collection is fortunate, indeed, to have acquired a second painting by Swedish artist Berndt Folke Sinclair. “Trädgrupp” (which we translate as “Group of Trees” or “Copse”) is another pastoral vignette of the Swedish countryside. His composition and low key palette are similar to British rail travel posters of the late ’20s.

Sinclair is a well listed artist, though not well known outside his native Sweden, whose work is represented in museums at Helsingborg, Kristianstad, Malmö and Tomelilla.