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Northwest Missouri State University


Northwest Collection

Senior Class Gifts

Senior Class Gifts

An early source for art in the permanent collection at Northwest was Senior Class acquisitions. The most notable example of this is a small-signed lithographic landscape presented to the senior class by Thomas Hart Benton in 1939. Olive DeLuce who was well connected with many notable contemporary artists and very active in state and regional art education organizations arguably guided those purchases, documented, in the database, as gifts from 1920 through 1939. Much later, in the 1990’s works by University art professors added to this collection.

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University Collection

University Collection

The University Collection is a broader category of acquisitions. The individual(s) responsible for collecting most of the earlier works is not known. However, one must conclude that Miss DeLuce was influencing the purchase of the majority of the collection prior to her retirement in 1958. Because many of the major works have been permanently housed in the University President’s Office, it is possible they were purchased specifically for that location.

Other major portions of the collection include:

  • Works by university art faculty members including Professors Charles Johnson, George Rose, Russell Schmaljohn, Philip Laber, Paul Falcone and Armin Muhsam. There are also several large paintings in the collection by Abbie Bahnemann, spouse of university professor David Bahnemann.
  • Works by former students. The best example is a beautiful occasional table with a forged iron base and top from trees from the campus Arboretum. It is titled, Beginnings, A tribute to Mr. Gaunt, by alumni John Stalling and Frank Chestnut and was commissioned for use in the Gaunt House.

Yet to be photographed is:

  • Works gifted to the former Art Department by the Racela Educational and Charitable Foundation including various types of prints, photographs and paintings by contemporary Kansas City artists. During his tenure at Northwest, Professor Philip Laber developed a close association with Dr. Antonio Racela, a Kansas City physician and art collector.

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Fine & Performing Arts Department Print Collection

Fine & Performing Arts Department Print Collection

From the early 1980s through 2016, the Art Department Printmaking Program, led by first by professor Norman Weil and later by Professor Philip Laber, frequently hosted regionally and nationally recognized visiting artists who presented printing workshops to students in attendance. The artists would customarily leave the department signed original prints, which, when added to other departmentally collected prints by Peter Milton, Kathe Kollwitz, Paul Klee, and Thomas Coleman has resulted in a sizable and respectable collection of 20th century contemporary printmaking.

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