Unique faces, places captured in new Springfield Museum of Art exhibition

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Springfield Museum of Art staff hopes the latest exhibition, featuring an artist whose paintings captured the faces he saw and the places he traveled to worldwide in a variety of styles, will not only please visitors’ eyes, but inspire them.

“Seeing is Enough: Paul-Henri Bourguignon” will showcase 72 of the late Columbus artist’s works in the museum’s McGregor Gallery beginning today. A reception with the exhibit’s guest curator and longtime neighbor and friend, Jane Hoffelt, will be 6-7:30 p.m. today, with curator remarks at 6:30.

Born in Brussels, Belgium, in 1906, Bourguignon was moved to capture the world about him and an observer of the human condition. That was made easier as his wife, Erika, was an anthropologist whose work took her to around the globe. Haiti was a particular inspiration. He would capture his subjects, and occasional landscapes, exactly as they appeared to him, said Elizabeth Wetterstroem, collections and exhibitions manager.

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Bourguignon worked in various Modern Art Movements, including expressionism and cubism over his seven-decade career. He even inspired his own subgenre dubbed “wonderheads” by his Columbus followers, doing faces in abstract style and very layered.

“He had a large breadth of different styles, but all were unmistakably his,” Wetterstroem said.

Bourguignon’s wife was the major breadwinner, a faculty member at Ohio State, which is how they came to settle in Columbus, allowing him to pursue his art full-time.

“People will see being able to play with things that interest you can lead to creating wonderful artwork and a wonderful life,” said Wetterstroem. “The Bourguignons were filled with goals and passions, and they liked sharing these with their friends and neighbors with parties. They were very festive.”

The exhibition will include a video capturing what the couple’s lives were like, and even the opening reception will reflect this. The cash bar will feature a sherry station, one of the Bourguignons’ favorite drinks, and music from the vinyl records of their personal collection will be played.

Admission to the reception and exhibit is $5 for non-museum members, $3 for seniors and free for museum members, kids ages 17-under and students.

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Wetterstroem said one of the exhibition’s goals is for visitors take away not just memories of the artwork, but a little into their lives beyond the museum grounds.

“We really hope this will inspire people to pursue their passions when you find something you’re interested in, just like the Bourguignons did,” she said.

“Seeing is Enough” will be on display through July 16.

Also just opened is the Springfield High School Visual Art Exhibition, featuring the works of up-and-coming young artists. The museum describes the exhibition as one that “…pushes contemporary ideas through conceptually contrived works.”

This exhibition is free and will be up through May 12, and a special reception will be at 1 p.m. April 23. For more information on the museum, go to its website at www.springfieldart.net/.

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