Archive for Thursday, April 26, 2007

Carnegie to open Sandzen exhibit

April 26, 2007

An art exhibit featuring the works of one of the Founding Fathers of painting in Kansas opens this weekend at the Carnegie Arts Center.

"Sandzen and the New Land," the center's free exhibit of the works of Swedish-American painter and printmaker Birger Sandzen, will open Friday, April 27, at the center, 601 S. Fifth St., Leavenworth.

The center will display works from two collections out of the Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery in Lindsborg, where Sandzen took up residence after moving to the United States from his native Sweden. The first collection is from the Birger Sandzen Memorial Foundation Collection of Art and the second is from the Margaret S. Greenough Trust Art Collection.

"The artwork is beautiful. It is rare that we get a exhibition of this magnitude in this area," said Carolyn Singleton, executive director at the Carnegie Arts Center.

The Carnegie has wanted to bring Sandzen's paintings to Leavenworth for a while but did not have the money to do so, Singleton said.

That all changed when Reifschneider Eye Center agreed to sponsor a Sandzen show at the Carnegie. The exhibit is part of the Reifschneider's "Healthy Vision for the Community" initiative.

Sandzen was born Feb. 5, 1871 in Blidsberg, Sweden. He arrived in Lindsborg, a tiny Swedish enclave south of Salina, in 1894, when he was 23 years old.

Sandzen taught for about 52 years at Bethany College in Lindsborg. While at Bethany, he taught Swedish, German, Spanish, French, and assisted in Bethany's art and vocal music departments. By 1899, however, Sandzen became the principal art teacher at Bethany.

He was also a guest artist teacher at many American colleges. Although many prominent colleges asked Sandzen to take permanent teaching positions, he declined "because he loved 'little Lindsborg' and was dedicated to Bethany College."

Sandzen traveled to many western and southwestern areas of the United States, visited Mexico twice, and went to Europe three times.

He died June 19, 1954, at age 83.

Singleton said the paintings were to be delivered from Lindsborg on Wednesday afternoon, and she was eagerly anticipating their arrival.

"The paintings that are coming from Lindsborg are huge. They are beautiful," Singleton said.

Most of Sandzen's lithograph and print work is of Kansas; most of his oil paintings, however, are more of the American West, Singleton said.

Sandzen's works include landscape motifs, floral still lifes and portraits.

"During his life, Sandzen gave away many of his prints to people in the area," Singleton said.

Singleton encouraged local schools to bring their students to the center to see Sandzen's works.

To mark the exhibit, the Center has put together fun activities to entertain and teach students about art. The Center also teaches students art gallery etiquette, Singleton said.

Singleton also encourages all people in the area to come by the gallery, enjoy the artwork and learn a bit about Sandzen.

The Sandzen art show's opening reception is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at the Carnegie Art Center. The Heart of America Woodwind Quintet and the Carnegie Recorder Consort will provide entertainment.

The exhibit will be on display until June 1. The Carnegie is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To contact the Carnegie Arts Center, call (913) 651-0765.

- Abbie Stutzer is a University of Kansas journalism student. Her work will appear this semester in The Current.

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