Academic Year Gallery Hours:
Tuesdays through Saturdays: 12-6pm
Closed Monday, Sunday, and University Holidays
This exhibition spans the career of an artist whose oeuvre traverses the vast expanse of European and American modernism, from post-impressionist scenes recalling the work of Paul Gauguin to New-York-style Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. The generic title of “modernist” might therefore seem apt, but it warrants scrutiny.
After serving in the Army Air Corps in the second world war, Jack Franjevic was stationed in Great Falls. After relocating to Illinois, where he attended the Art Institute of Chicago, he went on to teach art at Grinnell College in Iowa, eventually returning to Montana to accept a professorship at a new liberal arts school – the College of Great Falls. During his tenure there he taught students who would go on to become creative titans in the state, including Steve and Bev Glueckert, James Todd, and others.
Like fellow war veterans and college professors Aden Arnold, Rudy Autio, Walter Hook and Peter Voulkos, Franjevic was a conduit that connected Montana artists to the art world beyond the Rocky Mountain West. Indeed, during his 1969 sabbatical tour of England, France, Germany and Italy, he visited museums, obsessively photographing in city after city, museum after museum. Franjevic proceded to invent a new medium, the Photostat, transferring photo images onto silkscreen onto canvas. If his earlier paintings seemed to comb European modernist styles, this new body of work combined realism with abstraction to transcend geographic space. In this sense, Jack Franjevic became a distinctly Montana modernist.
This exhibition features nine works by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Jean-Charles Cazin, Jules Dupré, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Thomas Gainsborough, and a sculpture attributed to Donatello – all new gifts from the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art to the MMAC Permanent Collection. The works once belonged to the estate of “Copper King” William Andrews Clark, a former Montana senator.
Born in 1839, Clark eventually made his way out West working the roles of farmer, teacher, soldier, prospector, woodcutter, teamster, cattle driver, grocer, mining engineer, banker and eventually a real estate tycoon and a railroad magnate. He became one the most powerful and influential 19th-century Americans with peers including John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie. MMAC is one of the only non- Washington D.C. entities to receive works because of Clark’s important Montana history.
Thursday, October 4, 3:00pm – 6:00pm, Opening Reception for the exhibition “The William A. Clark Collection: A Homecoming”, in the PARTV Lobby and Meloy and Paxson Galleries. Refreshments will be served.
Thursday, November 15, 7:00pm, MSU-Billings Department of History Professor and Chair Keith Edgerton, PhD, presents a talk entitled, “Copper King: The Life and Times of W.A. Clark” in the Masquer Theatre, PARTV Center in conjunction with the exhibition William A. Clark Collection: A Homecoming.