TOPEKA – Works by a native of Topeka and pieces from a
family collection will be featured exhibitions at the
Mulvane Art Museum from Oct. 6 through Jan. 27, 2013.
Both exhibits will open with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 5.
The influence of the Southwest is a theme in “Capturing the Spirit: Prints by Kenneth M. Adams.” Born in Topeka, Adams began art studies in 1913 with George M. Stone, who was a local artist. He later studied at the Chicago Art Institute, the New York Art Students League and spent time in academic training in Europe. While studying with Andrew Dasburg in Woodstock, N.Y., he became acquainted with Cezanne, Picasso and the Cubists. In 1927, Adams relocated to Taos, N.M., where he became the final and youngest member of the Taos Society of Artists and taught at the University of New Mexico. Adams distinguished himself from other Taos artists by responding to the humble dignity and culture of the Spanish and Indian people of the area. He had a fascination with the uniqueness of their everyday lives in the fields, irrigation ditches and building their adobe homes. An inward appreciation of common things and ordinary people is strongly suggested in his most successful pictures that captured the spirit of the people and the place where he lived in New Mexico. He died in Albuquerque in 1966.
The prints, which are part of the Mulvane’s permanent collection were donated to the Mulvane Art Museum in 1964 by Herbert Spear, in memory of his wife, Mable, the sister of Adams.
“Lasting Impressions,” are works on loan from the Pruitt Family Collection. Stephen W. and Mary M. Pruitt, of Overland Park, Kan., began collecting in 1989 with their first fine art purchase -- a dark and mysterious 1890 landscape etching by the German artist Franz von Stuck. Neither one of them had ever taken a course in art history, nor had spent so much as an hour inside a commercial art gallery. But there was something about that print that seemed to reach out and touch them. It was, as Martin Krause, curator of prints, drawings and photographs at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, said at that time, "a great place to start building a collection."
The Pruitt family has shared their love of collecting with the general public for almost 25 years through 11 museum exhibitions across the country. The collection, which features works from the 1500s through the 1900s, includes pieces by Thomas Hart Benton, Childe Hassam, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Anders Zorn, John Sloan, Felix Buhot, Erich Heckel, Albert Belleroche, Peter Ilsted, Frederick Sommer, Imogen Cunningham, Wynn Bullock, Camille Corot and Grant Wood.
Stephen Pruitt will present a discussion on collecting art, "Masterworks on Main Street," at 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 11 at the Mulvane Art Museum.
The Mulvane Art Museum, ArtLab and gift shop are open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free. The museum is closed major holidays.
The Mulvane is located on the campus of Washburn University, at 17th and Jewell Streets. Free parking is available directly to the west of the Museum. Call 785-670-1124 or go to washburn.edu/mulvane.
Dena Anson, 785.670.1711