Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Salt Lake City, UT

(801) 581-7332



A Selection of Still Lifes from the Collections of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts

August 22 through November 21, 1999


The Utah Museum of Fine Arts will open a new exhibit titled A Selection of Still Lifes from the Collections of the Museum. This exhibit will provide a unique opportunity to view a facet of the permanent collection that is rarely displayed to the public. The more than 30 selected pieces in this exhibit have never been publicly displayed together. (left: Paul Wonner, Study with Flowers, Notebook Paper and Pencils, acrylic on paper)

According to UMFA Director, Frank Sanguinetti, "The upcoming still-life exhibit is important because it continues our thematic review of works in the permanent collection which have rarely, if ever been seen in context. The theme of still life gains interest from the fact that the artist often ignores the subject matter and concentrates instead on the true content which is the way in which he assembles and organizes the subject manner."

The artworks featured within the exhibit are diverse and distinctive pieces from the Museum's immense permanent collection. In today's busy world, still lifes afford a viewer the chance to relax and reflect on the simple objects from everyday life. From flowers, vegetables and aquatic life to lollipops, silverware and dishes anyone can relate to the subjects of a still life. (right: Alex Katz, Poppy, screenprint)

Although the exhibit focuses on twentieth-century still-lifes, the art form has been around for centuries. In Europe, still life paintings were originally deemed as some of the least desirable artwork produced since they were not of historical or religious significance at the time. By the seventeenth century still lifes were finally gaining widespread popularity in large part because of the affordability of the art.

While the basis for each still life is to focus attention on inanimate objects, each piece in the exhibit strives for its own individuality. Many use a broad range of color to exemplify their subject matter while others focus strictly on the simplicity of black and white to highlight the composed materials. The display will include oil on canvas paintings, gelatin silver prints, watercolor paintings, lithographs, sculptures and charcoal drawings. Some of the talent profiled in this exhibit include well-known regional artists such as Tony Smith, George Dibble, Bonnie Sucec, Wayne Kimball and Simone Simonian. Other artists represented in the exhibit are Paul Wonner, Jane Freilicher, Jack Beal and Wayne Thiebaud. The still-life art pieces in this particular exhibit have been acquired by the UMFA over the past 40 years. Many of the works of art have been purchased by Friends of the Art Museum while others have been acquired through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and as gifts from patrons of the Museum.

In addition, the Museum also has a number of still lifes currently on display from periods prior to the twentieth-century. Many illustrate the use of genre scenes to convey other values - either religious or symbolic. A look at the Val. A. Browning Collection unveils a number of European master paintings of the seventeenth and eighteenth-centuries. For an example of still-life sculpture, the Angel Doors by the famous French glassmaker, Rene Lalique, are loaded with symbolism and designed in the true spirit of the Art Deco movement.

An opening reception will be held on Sunday, August 22 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the UMFA. Director Frank Sanguinetti will provide an informative discussion about the exhibit beginning at 2:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend this free event. The exhibit will run through November 21 and will be on display in Gallery 3 at the UMFA.

Read more in Resource Library about Utah Museum of Fine Arts.


Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library. See America's Distinguished Artists for biographical information on historic artists.

This page was originally published in1999 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

Copyright 2012 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.