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Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art

Sunrise over Kansas: John Steuart Curry

June 29, 2021 – February 28, 2022 
Virtual exhibition launch June 29, 2021

Click here to view the virtual exhibition.

The sun is rising in this exhibition at the Beach Museum of Art, which explores the sunrise motif in Regionalist artist John Steuart Curry’s paintings, prints, drawings, and book illustrations. The exhibition pays particular tribute to the artist’s 1935 painting Sunrise over Kansas purchased from his second wife, Kathleen Curry, in 1996 with support from the Friends of the Beach Museum of Art. Because of distracting discoloration of the sun—caused by Curry’s mid-1930s experiments mixing natural resins and oil-based materials—the painting has not been on display for many years.

Dramatic weather plays a significant role in Curry’s art and often serves as a symbol of menace relating to farm life and world crises. Less recognized is the significance of another natural event in Curry’s oeuvre—the sunrise. Whether part of an ensemble in a mural or as a main character in an easel painting, the sunrise stands in for poetic ideals, positive historical change, and the artist’s personal optimism.

The exhibition is accompanied by a video about the materials analysis and conservation of Sunrise over Kansas, which depicts a ranch scene in Kansas’s Barber County. Art conservator Kenneth Bé of the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha, Nebraska, has treated the painting to help bring back a sense of its sun’s intended impact. Bé serves as consultant to the exhibition, which has been developed by Curator Elizabeth Seaton with assistance from student curatorial assistant Abby Lynn.

Related event

“Caring for a Curry”
Talk by paintings conservator Kenneth Bé with introductory remarks by Curator Liz Seaton.
Thursday, November 11, 5:30 p.m.
In-person and livestream

Platinum Major Sponsors: The Alms Group and Dan and Beth Bird
Gold Sponsor: Archie R. and Dorothy E. Hyle Family