Deceased artist brought back to life through exhibit
The works of renowned Bonner Springs artist Ernst Ulmer will be on display — and up for grabs — for the first time since his death.
About 40 pieces of Ulmer’s artwork will be included in an exhibit and sale at the Kansas City Club, 918 Baltimore, Kansas City, Mo., as part of the club’s Third Friday Art Nights from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15. The event will include a discussion about the life and works of Ulmer, lead by Bill Worley, actor and historian. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the Ernst Ulmer Scholarship Fund for an Art student attending Kansas City Kansas Community College.
The artwork will remain on display through the end of the month, open to the public daily during the club’s regular business hours. Connie Breidenthal, Ulmer’s daughter, said this is the first time since her father’s death in June of last year that his work has been displayed, and she hopes to have many other shows in the future.
“We thought it would be nice, maybe for people that have supported him before and want one more piece,” she said.
Ulmer was influenced by famous American impressionists Mary Cassett, George Bellows and Caleb Bingham. He developed his own unique style he described as “loose realism.” Many of his works were historical in nature and feature Indian Americans and older buildings found in the Kansas City area, like the Grinter, Alexander Major and Mahaffie homes.
“He was very historical, so every thing he did had a purpose,” Breidenthal said.
Breidenthal remembered how Ulmer would go to historical battle re-enactments to get inspiration for his paintings. One of his best-known paintings, Blood-Stained Dawn (Burning of Lawrence) will be included in the exhibit and sale.
“That was one he was very, very proud of; that’s one he did toward the end of his life,” Breidenthal said.
Breidenthal said her husband found out about the club’s Third Friday Art Nights and contacted it, as the family has quite a few of Ulmer’s pieces.
“We probably have 300 pieces left of his work that I found as I was cleaning out his house,” she said. “Dad would, when something got in his head, sit down and get it started.”
Briedenthal helped set up the paintings at the Kansas City Club, and she said the aesthetics of the building make a great backdrop for Ulmer’s images.
“His work, being historical, just looks so wonderful in that building,” she said.
All works are for sale and will include oils, watercolors, pastels and acrylics, as well as prints of some pieces that won’t be on display. Breidenthal said most prices would range from $25 to $150.
The scholarship for the community college was set up in conjunction with the sale. While Ulmer attended the Kansas City Art Institute, he also went to the community college for a time, as did Breidenthal.
Breidenthal said since her father was such a big contributor to charities, especially on the Kansas side of the metro area, she thought it would be appropriate for the sale to benefit art students at the smaller college.
“Hopefully we’ll sell something and get a pretty good scholarship out of it,” she said.
More about Ulmer and his works can be found at ernstulmer.com.