Sturdevant’s eclectic collection a joy for hippie shindiggers

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In this image from the exhibition of William Sturdevant's works in the Cellar of La Poste, the farmer broadcasts his seed as liberally as Sturdevant produced artworks.

I had a wonderful albeit a very short time at La Poste late Thursday afternoon. My time at the William Sturdevant exhibit in the Cellar might have been abbreviated, but it was delightful.

I had made other plans prior to learning of this event, so I was unable to stick around long enough to see more than about six souls making the most of a good scene. If you were not there, you missed another great gig (hippie lingo for event) at La Poste.

Cordial pleasantries were exchanged between me, the artist’s daughter and a nice gentleman assisting her. They granted permission for me to take a few snaps of those works I favored.

I do not pretend to be an art critic. The little I know about the visual arts is only enough to make me look silly to someone who has the eyes, training and legitimate credentials required to be an art critic. Accordingly, my comments are based on my own subjective experiences regarding the works I’ve selected.

Stated simply, I speak of what I like and what I don’t like.

I had a deep appreciation for Sturdevant’s earlier impressionist work. The painting with the dog and bone in the foreground had a bit of a story for the viewer to think out. I also liked the farmer plowing a field in one work and casting seed corn in another.

It escapes me now where I first saw it, but I know I’ve seen a photo of the farmer casting seed corn in a book or magazine somewhere over the years. Regardless, these two paintings of a gritty farmer reminded me a lot of the work of Thomas Hart Benton.

I’m not certain how to categorize it, but I was particularly taken with a portrait of an important historical personage of the 20th century. I’m sure many people wouldn’t have recognized the subject as a haggard and gaunt Che Guevera. His sunken cheeks made me wonder if this is how Che would have looked just before he was captured and executed.

Frankly, I didn’t care much for Sturdevant’s foray in Cubism. The portrait of the Matador is a good example of his work in this genre. To be sure, it’s executed quite well. Doubtless, Picasso himself was the grandmaster of Cubism, but I really don’t like even his Cubism so much either.

Lastly, we come to Sturdevant’s adventures in Surrealism. The portrait of the horse and rider melting together brings to mind similar works by Salvador Dali and my misspent youth in pursuit of better living through chemistry. I was much more impressed with the painting of the two-faced, androgynous angel. This was my favorite selection of all Sturdevant’s work on exhibit.

My sincere thanks to La Poste for hosting the shindig. I can just kick myself for not being able to stay longer. My only consolation for not lingering is the pure joy and sanctimony of knowing that all of you who missed the show entirely messed up much worse than I did. If you didn’t go but could have, you goofed immensely, but do not despair.

This set of Sturdevant works will be on display all month, with a second set coming for the month of June.

1 COMMENT

  1. What an amazing collection! And as I understand it, this is only a fraction of Mr. Sturdevant’s works. I was an art student at Iowa State, yet I changed majors, and I am blown away by the scope of this guy’s works. The review (above) didn’t mention the selected sculptures (two in wood, a brass figurine entitled “Medusa” that was femininely haunting, a small boxer in fighting pose and the terra cotta bust of a boxer that was like looking at a real face, beaten yet victorious). I have never heard of Mr. Sturdevant, but I’m going to be returning in June to see it again with friends from my former art classes, because this guy was a true master of the Fine Arts!
    Thanks so much for opening my eyes to a period of art history that I thought was only about “Americana painting” FABULOUS EXHIBIT!

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