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Grand Canyon Grandeur:
Early Paintings and Prints from the Hays Collection
February 9 - May 26, 2008
Many of America's
greatest artists have tried to capture the majesty of the Grand Canyon in
their work, challenging both their perception and their skill. Grand Canyon Grandeur: Early Paintings and Prints from
the Hays Collection, a new exhibit opening Saturday,
February 9 and running through Monday, May 26, 2008 at the Museum of Northern
Arizona, brings together a who's who of preeminent artists who chose Grand
Canyon as their subject. The artworks in this exhibit are from the collection
of Mr. and Mrs. A. P. Hays of Paradise Valley, Arizona. (right: Thomas
Moran, N.A., Grand Canyon of Arizona from Hermit Rim Road, 1912)
This exhibit's 24 artists labored from 1854 to the mid-1930s
to reproduce a small measure of the canyon's monumental beauty in their
55 works in this show. Many strived for detailed realism, while others saw
the canyon as atmospheric and impressionistic. Among the exhibit's artists
are masters such as Louis Akin, Carl Oscar Borg, George Elbert Burr, Thomas
Moran, and Gunnar Widforss.
Collector Abe Hays has assembled art and artifacts most
of his life. Together with his wife Lalla, Hays also has important collections
of four artists who are prominent in the current exhibition, Carl Oscar
Borg, George Elbert Burr, Edgar Alwin Payne, and Gunnar Widforss. The Hayses
also have major collections of Western artists Maynard Dixon, Will James,
and Lon Megargee, which have been shown at major museums in the U.S. and
Collector Abe Hays states, "For sixty years I have
been trying to collect art of the Grand Canyon, Colorado Plateau, and other
Arizona subjects, in both prints and paintings. At the top of my collecting
interests are the Grand Canyon and Walpi, as I consider both to be the most
important and relevant to our state's history. I particularly like to collect
worthwhile artists whose best known and accomplished artwork was done in
Arizona. In addition to those artists, I value William Henry Holmes, William
R. Leigh, and Julian Scott. I have felt a responsibility to collect in this
field and to provide the artists' works for future generations to enjoy."
MNA Curator of Fine Art Alan Petersen adds, "The Hays
Collection contains some of the Southwest's finest work, created by outstanding
artists from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Grand Canyon
Grandeur dramatically illustrates the creative richness of a period
that could be called a "Golden Age" of Western art. This period
followed the exploration of the Great Surveys, when the Santa Fe Railroad,
Fred Harvey Company, and other business interests began to bring enthusiastic
attention to the beauty of the Southwestern landscape and cultures. The
artwork in this exhibit has a vibrancy that reflects the artists' fascination
with the newly revealed landscape of Grand Canyon and their ability to convey
the intensity of what it meant to encounter this landscape."
- Public programs are included with museum admission.
- February 9
- 2:30-3:30 p.m.
- Grand Canyon Grandeur Gallery Tour
- Take a tour of the Grand Canyon Grandeur exhibit
with collector Abe Hays and MNA Curator of Fine Arts Alan Petersen. Learn
about the artists and their work that make this collection of early Grand
Canyon paintings so rich and fascinating. Hays will also discuss his passion
and motivation for collecting the finest Southwestern art.
- March 8
- 2-3 p.m.
- The Incredible Canyon
- Scott Thybony talks about his new book The Incredible
Canyon. It includes bits of canyon lore which have slipped through
the cracks and a few of the classic stories that still resonate. Thybony
covers canyon characters, both certifiable and aspiring, with the best
of the tall tales trimmed down to size. He includes a few scandals, a little
romance, and some grand schemes gone awry. And since people never seem
to tire of hearing about other people getting in over their heads, there
are a few cliffhangers thrown in. Geared for both canyon junkies and
first-timers, Thybony's talk offers a light take on the hard facts. A book
sale and signing will follow this presentation.
- March 15
- 2-3 p.m.
- Early Paintings of the Grand Canyon
- Following the completion of John Wesley Powell's survey
of the Grand Canyon region in 1880, artists were attracted to the
canyon in ever-increasing numbers. Patronage of the arts by the Santa
Fe Railroad helped to publicize the Grand Canyon and the greater Southwest
as an exciting destination, as well as give artists a strong market
for their work. Discover the rich history of Grand Canyon art created in
the early decades of the twentieth century with MNA Curator of Fine
Arts Alan Petersen.
- March 22
- 2-3 p.m.
- Bruce Aiken's Grand Canyon: An Intimate Affair
- In a remote side canyon along a stream that flows into
the Colorado River, Bruce and his wife Mary raised three children while
he tended Grand Canyon National Park's precious water supply at Roaring
Springs . . . and painted. Out of this intimate relationship between the
artist and his canyon muse came a body of work unparalleled in the annals
of Grand Canyon landscape painters. Join Aiken as he shares his story with
a visual presentation of more than thirty years of living and painting
at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. This event celebrates the publication
of the new book Bruce Aiken's Grand Canyon: An Intimate Affair,
published by the Grand Canyon Association. A book sale and signing will
follow this presentation.
- March 29
- 10-11 a.m.
- It's a Squirrel's Life!
- Anyone who has seen an Abert's squirrel in the forests
around Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon knows that the tassel-eared squirrel
is one of the cutest squirrels in the world. No one knows just how amazing
these squirrels can be until they hear Northern Arizona University Biology
Professor Sylvester Allred talk about them and the importance of their
forest home. Allred will read from his new book Rascal, the Tassel-Eared
Squirrel and MNA docents will present a squirrel puppet show and craft
activity.A book sale and signing will follow this youth and family program.
- March 29
- 2-3 p.m.
- Imaging a People
- When the Havasupai people asked Steve and Lois Hirst
to document their life and history, the Hirsts made visual records a large
part their effort. They and photographer friends Terry and Lyntha Eiler
enjoyed unique opportunities to record everyday lives of Havasupai friends
and neighbors. At the same time, while combing museums and archives across
the country, the Hirsts also discovered hundreds of exquisite historic
photographs, many over a century old and never before seen. The Hirsts
will share examples of early and contemporary imagery and discuss how they
located and identified early portraiture. A book sale and signing will
follow this presentation.
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