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Succession: Artists and Their Students from the Museum Collections

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"Succession: Artists and Their Students from the Museum Collections" shares pairings of works by teachers and their students.

"Succession," culled from the Museum permanent collections, was arranged in honor of Signe Stuart, whose retrospective exhibition is on display in the succeeding galleries. An accomplished artist, Stuart is often also cited as an influential teacher from her time as professor of Art at South Dakota State University (1971 – 94). As a result, this exhibition was planned to celebrate and offer thanks to all educators, who like Stuart, generated ideas and inspiration in their students.

Home page image: Milton Kudlacek, Landscape with Gas Pumps,1968; oil on canvas. South Dakota Art Museum 1970.04.17. Gift of the South Dakota Arts Council & SDSU Alumni Association

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Works by South Dakota born Harvey Dunn are paired with works by his students, whom he taught during the Golden Age of American Illustration. Three paintings by Oscar Howe, first Artist Laureate of South Dakota, are paired with works by his students Arthur Amiotte, Robert L. Penn and Herman Red Elk. Works by contemporary artists living and working in the state, including Shannon Frewaldt, James Pollock, D. George Prisbe-Przybysz, Gerry Punt, Erik Ritter, Mary Selvig and Mel Spinar celebrate the continuation of influence and education in the state; many of these artists are informal or formal educators themselves.

"Succession" offers you an opportunity to reflect on the educators who sparked imagination, creativity and meaning in your life. As you experience the exhibition, you may question:

  • Are there stylistic connections between teachers and their students?
  • Who is an educator in your life that has made an impact?
  • What would it look like if you and your art teacher displayed your works together?

The South Dakota Art Museum serves the diverse peoples and communities of the state and its visitors as South Dakota’s premier visual arts resource. The Museum collects and preserves artworks of aesthetic, cultural, and historical significance. The collections contain over 7,000 objects representing the artistic achievements of artists from South Dakota and the surrounding region and artists from further afield who are of national and international significance.

“The most fruitful and worthwhile thing I have ever done has been to teach.” — Harvey Dunn

This portion of "Succession" displays pairings of artworks by Harvey Dunn and his students. Born on a homestead near Manchester, Dunn left the farm to study at the South Dakota Agricultural College, at the Art Institute of Chicago and under “The Father of American Illustration,” Howard Pyle. He eventually opened his own studio in Wilmington, Delaware, and in Leonia and Tenafly, New Jersey. Dunn’s desire to share his artistic knowledge with the next generation was central to his practice and personal vision. He mentored thousands of artists at the Leonia School of Illustration, which he co-founded, and at the Grand Central School of Art, Pratt Institute and the Art Students League, inspiring many of the twentieth century’s most influential visual communicators.

Among the paintings and drawings on display in this exhibition are works by Dean Cornwell, Robert Doares, Helen Gilmore, Horace Gilmore, Albin Henning, Hubert Mathieu, Grant Reynard, Jes Schlaikjer, Amos Sewell and Ruth Wilcox, who went on to achieve careers in illustrations themselves. Speaking in clear and direct terms, as he was known to do, Dunn urged his students to maintain the passion that first led them to a life in art. When he died in 1952, his New York Times obituary announced his passing with the headline, “Harvey Dunn, 68, Artist, Teacher,” reflecting upon his dedication to his art and his strong belief in the value of sharing one’s knowledge for the benefit of others.

Teachers | Students

  • Ada Caldwell | Irene Reinecke
  • Nathanial Cole | Alice Berry
  • Harvey Dunn | Dean Cornwell - Robert Doares – Helen Gilmore – Horace Gilmore – Albin Henning – Hubert Mathieu – Grant Reynard – Jes Schlaikjer – Amos Sewell – Ruth Wilcox
  • James Gibson | D. George Prisbe-Przybysz
  • Carl Grupp | Bonnie Hale-Pieper
  • Oscar Howe | Arthur Amiotte – Robert L. Penn – Herman Red Elk
  • Milton Kudlacek | Melvin Spinar
  • Gerry Punt | Shannon Frewaldt – Mary Selvig
  • Madeline Ritz | James Pollock
  • Signe Stuart | Erik Ritter
  • Ronau Woiceske | Ada Caldwell


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Significant operational support for the South Dakota Art Museum is provided by South Dakota State University. Additional support is provided by the South Dakota Arts Council (with funds from the State of South Dakota, through the Department of Tourism and the National Endowment for the Arts) and museum members and donors.