Thursday, December 6, 2012

Let it Snow, MIZZOU!: Representations of the MU Campus in the Winter

A Keith Crown painting is now on display in the MU Student Center! It is currently being shown as part of the "Let it Snow, MIZZOU!" exhibition in the square cases on the first floor, just outside the entrance to Mort's Cafe. In addition to Crown's painting, the exhibition features beautiful Savitar yearbook spreads from throughout the years that show photographs of a snow-covered MU campus (to see some of these images check out this blog entry from last year). The display will remain up through winter break.

Keith Crown is a nationally renowned Modern artist, most often recognized for his experimental work in watercolor. Crown was born in Iowa, but lived a rather transient life, working and residing in numerous cities worldwide. His travel is reflected in his body of work, which includes views of the California coastline, the mountains and pueblo at Taos, the gothic architecture of London, and the industrialized landscapes of the Midwest, among other subjects. In 1983, after teaching for several decades at the University of South Carolina, Crown retired to Columbia, MO where he continued to paint and lived out the remainder of his life alongside his wife and intellectual cohort, Dr. Patricia Dahlman Crown, an emerita professor of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century art history at the University of Missouri. 

Keith Crown (American), Missouri University, Columbia, 1985, watercolor and acrylic paint

In the painting Missouri University, Columbia from 1985, Crown depicts Mizzou’s Francis Quadrangle under a blanket of snow, rendered here through transparent washes of blue and purple and gestural swaths of opaque white. The line of the buildings arches across the painting’s curved horizon like a string of paper dolls, eventually falling off the bottom edge of the paper. The largest building on the far left likely depicts Pickard Hall, perhaps a nod to the artist’s wife in that Pickard houses the Department of Art History and Archeology at MU. In the foreground, Crown features stylized representations of Mizzou’s beloved ionic columns and several small figures, ostensibly students who make their way to their respective classes. The tree located in the center left of the composition is inverted and echoed in the sky, now resembling lightning or tree roots that merge into the columns’ capitals.  

Keith Crown (American), Missouri University, Columbia (Detail), 1985, watercolor and acrylic paint
 ***Keep an eye out for more great paintings by Keith Crown! You will be seeing more of his art in the Student Center in the coming months! To learn more about Keith Crown's life, or to check out more of his art, check out this website

Authored by Niki Eaton, PhD student, Art History and Archaeology