Exhibition of the Month: John Steuart Curry’s Early Years

John Steuart Curry (1897–1946) became widely recognized in the 1920s and 1930s for his intimate understanding and representation of the people and landscapes of his home state of Kansas. Artwork from the artist’s formative years is on view in “John Steuart Curry: Mapping the Early Career,” an exhibition on display through May 13 at the Beach Museum of Art, at Kansas State University.

Along with such artists as Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood, Curry was one of the most significant artists in the Regionalist movement of the 1920s and 1930s, which sought to use realism to portray the lives of everyday men and women in America’s heartland. Curry was born on a farm in eastern Kansas and studied briefly at the Kansas City Art Institute and then more extensively at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He worked for several years as an illustrator, switching his focus to fine art after a formative trip to Paris in 1926.

The exhibition explores Curry’s time as a student and early professional through more than 30 drawings, paintings and magazine illustrations. A major mural on loan from the Burr Living Trust of Lewisberry, Pennsylvania, forms a centerpiece of the installation, which also presents never-before-exhibited objects from the museum’s collection, which includes more than 900 works by the artist.

For more information, visit beach.k-state.edu.

John Steuart Curry Exhibition | Beach Museum of Art | Artist's Network

Sleeping Man, by John Steuart Curry, charcoal, 14 x 21 1/2. Collection KSU, Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, Manhattan, Kansas.

John Steuart Curry Exhibition | Beach Museum of Art | Artist's Network

Cattle Chasing a Threatening Dog, by John Steuart Curry, watercolor and black crayon on paper, 10 x 14. Collection KSU, Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, Manhattan, Kansas.

John Steuart Curry Exhibition | Beach Museum of Art | Artist's Network

Map of Europe, by John Steuart Curry, oil on canvas, 119 x 182. Courtesy Burr Living Trust, Lewisberry, Pennsylvania.

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