As the only museum in North America devoted exclusively to Agrarian Art, the museum collects, preserves, and interprets fine art that pertains to lands, fields, and their tenure. The scope of the agrarian art collection thematically focuses on all classifications of lands, including; grasslands, wetlands, federally protected lands, agricultural lands, and even urban green spaces. The growing collection includes many historic works by artists such as John Steuart Curry, Thomas Hart Benton, Robert Gwathmey, Peter Helck, and Robert Wesley Amick. The collection also features important contemporary agrarian artists from around the country such as Robert Bateman, Marilyn Bower, Mark L. Moseman, Charles Banks Wilson, Jane Scott, Tim Klunder, Sara Merkel-Jacobs, Jim Hamil, V….Vaughan and John Roush.
Jim Hamil,”Giant Haystack, Late Afternoon”, watercolor, 2011.3.1
Robert Wesley Amick, “My Colorado Home”, watercolor, 2009.9.1
Sarah Merkel-Jacobs, “Witt Farm”. 2006, oil, 2008.14.3
Thomas Hart Benton, “Nebraska Evening”, 1941, lithograph, 2008.7.1
Marilyn Bower, “Five Below Morning”, 2005, oil, 2007.7
The Dale Nichols Collection
As the national center for Nichols Studies, the cornerstone of the collection features Nichols’ “Four Seasons”, four paintings originally commissioned for a David City, Nebraska bank, and subsequently acquired by the museum located in the hometown of Dale Nichols. Along with Benton, Wood and Curry, Nichols is best known as one of the major artists of the Regionalism art movement. The museum serves to educate the public about Nichols and his contribution to American Art. This collection documents the life and work of Dale Nichols as he explored various art styles and locations around the USA and abroad. The curator of the museum has become the nation’s foremost scholar on the life and work of Dale Nichols. The Nichols Collection is a national resource for those interested in the work of Dale Nichols. Family, friends and fans of Dale Nichols continue to donate to this growing collection of paintings, prints, drawings, books, papers, letters, plates, trays, cards, tins, recordings, and other memorabilia.
The Edward Glannon Collection
This collection includes several watercolors and numerous prints generously donated by the family of Edward Glannon. Glannon was a teacher, painter and printmaker from Pennsylvania whose work has been shown at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Philadelphia Academy of Art. He work is a part of many public and private collections. Reflecting on his work, he said, “I had a feeling even as a boy that nature could give me a symbol to say anything that I could ever say. The trees, the leaves, the lights, the texture of the grass, the fields, were a complete language that could express any feelings that any human being could have.”
Glannon traveled throughout the United States and recorded his observations in art and word. “The land has a different accent in different places, but it can be very beautiful in almost any place.” But “the American land is not sweet. It can be a heartbreaking land.” Thus, Glannon’s paintings and prints also show huge trees uprooted by hurricanes, devastating floods and forest fires. “The destitute areas turn the spirit inward. When you face those lands, you are also facing your own spirit because there is no place for the spirit to go but home.”
The Luigi Lucioni Collection
Lucioni lived and worked mainly in New York City, but also spent time working in Vermont. His still lifes, landscapes, and portraits are known for their realism, precisely drawn forms and smooth paint surface. Like many of his fellow Regionalists, his work was marketed through Associated American Artists in New York. Hailed by one scholar as “the most popular painter that this country has produced since the time of Gilbert Stuart,” Lucioni was also praised in Parnassus as a “painter to be envied. With very little experimentation he has found a style which apparently fulfills all his pictorial needs. It is a sort of sublimated realism; natural forms are reproduced with marvelous accuracy, bathed in pellucid atmosphere. Everything is raised a key or two. Lucioni’s outlines are firmer, his colors clearer, the spatial relations of objects more precise than any in nature. It is like looking at the world through strong myopic lenses or with the sharpened eyes of fever.”
Bone Creek is very proud to have a sizable collection of his charming landscape subjects including the cathedral of birch trees. William and Patty Nelson of Hastings, Nebraska recently gifted their collection of 44 original etchings by Luigi Lucioni. Lucioni prints have also been gifted by Dr. Stuart and Lynn Embury and Anna Nolan (Covault).
The Fortune Collection
From 1930 to 1950, Fortune Magazine was an expensive high quality publication with illustrated covers by well known American artists, such as Robert Gwathmey and Peter Helck. In order to obtain fine illustration images, the magazine editors requested that artists submit illustrations of their own desire and design. The cover illustration intentionally did not represent the Fortune’s feature story of the month. These early covers are serigraph prints on heavy paper. The high quality resulted in a magazine that sold for ten times what other magazines cost at the time. This cover art collection chronicles a great variety of agrarian imagery showing the prevalence of rural subject matter in the national cultural prior to the industrial revolution.