Second Exhibition at Overture to Focus on James Watrous

James Watrous and Friends: the Legacy and Influence of James Watrous
November 12, 2004—January 9, 2005
Opening reception Sunday, November 14, 1:00—4:00 PM

The James Watrous Gallery of the Wisconsin Academy is named in honor of Jim Watrous, one of the most influential and loved figures in Wisconsin visual art. Watrous taught art history and art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1934 to 1976. During this time, he played a major role in shaping the Departments of Art History and Art, worked with many students who went on to become respected art historians and artists, and authored several important books, including The Craft of Old Master Drawings. Watrous was a working visual artist as well as a teacher. He is perhaps best known for his public art pieces, which include the Paul Bunyan murals in the Memorial Union at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and several large mosaics in UW-Madison buildings. Watrous was also instrumental in building the Elvehjem Museum of Art in Madison, helping to direct this complex project through design, fundraising, and construction.

Through a selection of art work accompanied by photographs and text, James Watrous and Friends will show how Watrous’ roles as a faculty colleague, teacher, and artist have influenced generations of Wisconsin visual artists. Besides Jim Watrous, noted artists that the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences Arts and Letters plans to include in this exhibition are:
John Wilde, Nancy Eckholm Burkert, Robert Burkert, Robert Grilley, Doug Safranek, Dan O’Neill, John Wickenberg, and Robert Baxter.

Several lectures will accompany the exhibition. Madison historian Art Hove will speak at the exhibition opening reception on November 14, 1—4 PM; Millard Rogers, first director of the Elvehjem museum, will speak about Watrous and the Elvehjem on November 16 at 7:30 PM in the Wisconsin Studio as part of the Academy Forum Series; and Elvehjem curator Maria Saffiotti Dale and artist Doug Safranek will give a joint lecture/demonstration on old master drawing and painting techniques on December 5 from 2—5 PM in the Wisconsin Studio.

In conjunction with the gallery exhibition, the Wisconsin Academy Review will publish an article by Art Hove about James Watrous in the Fall 2004 issue. Hove will write about Watrous’ long career as an art historian, artist, teacher, and university citizen.