Eye-popping artworks to be unveiled Thursday at La Poste

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Karina Levy, left, daughter of the artist William Sturdevant, points out details in one of her father's realistic works painted in his studio in Mexico. A collection of Sturdevant's works will be permanently exhibited at the Forest Park Museum in Perry.

William Sturdevant‘s deep affection for the art and culture of the southwest shows in where he chose to set up his studios — Mexico and New Mexico — and visitors to Thursday’s opening of an exhibition of his some of his works in the Cellar at La Poste are in for the rarest spectacle.

This will be the first public exhibition of Sturdevant’s southwest-inspired works.

Sturdevant’s daughter, Karina Levy, and her husband, Jonathon Levy, chose Cinco de Mayo, May 5, as the perfect occasion for the exhibition opening. The Cinco de Mayo holiday is popular in Mexico and the U.S., and the exhibition date would have pleased Sturdevant, Karina Levy said.

“My father’s art is extremely diverse, and he worked in many places over his long career as an artist,” Levy said Monday, “but he especially loved Mexico and the southwestern United States. The passion he put into these paintings is very powerful.”

The opening starts at 4 p.m. in the Cellar of La Poste and coincides with the weekly happy hour at the popular downtown events center. Numerous Sturdevant artworks will be on display through the end of May, with a second set of works coming for June.

Sturdevant, an Iowa native born in 1922, is sometimes called “the fourth renegade” among the Depression-era circle of American Regionalist painters, Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton and John Stuart Curry. His work bridges the social realism of the Regionalists and the modernist tendencies in American art that issued in the 1950s in abstract expressionism and similar schools.

RVCA logoSturdevant exhibited his work around the world and in many of the finest galleries in the U.S. He also had a studio in San Diego, Calif., from the 1950s to the 1970s and later taught art at East High School in Des Moines for many years. He died in 2010.

“This exhibit marks the first public viewing of his work in nearly 50 years,” Levy said, “with the opportunity to view and collect first-run editions of aquatint prints never before seen.”

The Levys’ Raccoon Valley Centre for the Arts (RVCA), set to open this spring in the rear of 1205 Second St., will house some Sturdevant works in a permanent collection. The RVCA will feature a broad range of arts, including dance, music, poetry, culinary arts, massage as well as the plastic arts of Sturdevant.

For more information, visit the Raccoon Valley Centre for the Arts website, email info@RVCArts.org or call 775-250-2162.

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