Before his death Oct. 7, 2007, Kent Collins Day (born 1929) bequeathed to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts 12 paintings and 13 works on paper by Utah artist LeConte Stewart (1891-1990). The dates of the donated works range from 1914 to the 1970s, with some important pieces from the '30s, '40s and '50s.
Museum curator Donna Poulton said, "While the UMFA has some enviable Stewarts, such as "The Victorian, North Salt Lake City" (1927) and "Smith's House" (1937), this bequest added depth and dimension to the collection by adding four oils from the 1930s and an additional four oils from the 1940s."
Stewart, a significant Utah and American artist, is also important to the UMFA and the University of Utah art department because he was an art instructor as well as the department head from 1938-56.
With one of Poulton's focuses being the development of the historical and artistic significance of the U.'s art instructors, Day's endowment is a godsend.
"While initial art instruction from self-taught pioneer artists was, to some extent, primitive," Poulton said, "their advice to upcoming artists to save their money to go east or to Europe for training was good advice."
The second-generation artists came home with credentials and training and were the first to be recruited to teach at the U.
In addition to Stewart, other artists affiliated with the U include Herman Haag, Edwin Evans, Florence Ware, Mabel Frazer, Lee Greene Richards, J.T. Harwood, A.B. Wright, Arnold Friberg, Avard Fairbanks, Alvin Gittins, Doug Snow, Paul Smith, Sam Wilson and others.Poulton also spearheads Friends of Utah Art and Western Art, a Friends of the Art Museum affinity group for enthusiasts of Utah art and the art of the American West. Anyone interested in joining the group should contact UMFA Development at 585-3315.
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