A work by Ed Paschke caught my eye because we have his strange portrait of a tattoed woman at the South Bend Museum of Art. He is a Chicago artist--not surprising to find his work in Elkhart. What was more surprising was to see works by Nevelson, Albers, Calder, Warhol, Rauschenberg, Red Groom, Robert Indiana, Elaine De Kooning, and Grant Wood also hanging in the same galleries..
The docent who welcomed me asked if I had any questions. When I mentioned how amazing it was to have these well known artists represented in their small museum, she said that she had scorned visiting the museum when she moved from NYC and said what will they have in the middle of those corn fields? Pictures of corn growing? Now, she volunteers almost daily and her enthusiasm was obvious.
There is a large room upstairs with many lithographs of works by Norman Rockwell. Some are the famous Saturday Evening Post covers but others were illustrations for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer.
Later, Brian Byrn, the curator and as he said, the only curator, answered a question I had about white space in a painting. He said it was intentional and probably was a magazine cover with space left for the title and contents just like the Norman Rockwell lithographs He was eager to tell me about the Still Life exhibit--100 years of still lifes--both representative and abstract--that is just opening. I was happy to see a Anthony Droege painting--again one of the artists at the SBMA.
I browsed in the gift shop and decided to buy two tiny vases as a souvenir. Byrn introduced me to the woman who wrapped my vases carefully. Her name? Jane Burns, the name on the gallery. I was touched and said that while touring the museum, I was thinking about those who gave the money to buy this art and what a fine thing that was. And here she was, wrapping my small purchase--and I could thank her personally.