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Salt Lake museums exhibit works of LeConte Stewart


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Two Salt Lake Museums are exhibiting the works of Utah painter LeConte Stewart, which marks the first ever joint collaboration between the LDS Church History Museum and the University of Utah Museum of Fine Arts.

Who is... LeConte Stewart?
LeConte Stewart is a Utah artist, famous for his realistic portrayal of Utah's rural and urban landscape. Stewart, who created thousands of works, was one of the most accomplished and beloved artists working in Utah during the twentieth century. Stewart, who died in 1990, began his formal art education at the University of Utah before continuing his studies in New York and Pennsylvania before returning to Utah. From 1938 to 1956, Stewart served as chair of the Art Department at the University of Utah. - Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Born in 1891, Stewart became an accomplished artist and beloved teacher. Over a 75-year period, he created nearly seven thousand works of art, which he described as the "raw side of life."

At the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, the LeConte Stewart exhibit is titled "Depression Era Art," which contains about 80 pieces.

"Thinning the paint down with turpentine, bringing homes in closer, looking at dilapidated areas," said curator Donna Poulton, "it's kind of a real empathy for what was happening during the Depression."

Stewart's "The Soul of Rural Utah" exhibit is located at the Church History Museum, where 120 of his famous landscape paintings fill two rooms. Stewart could paint two of the large works in a day.

"LeConte didn't just paint what he saw as a camera would record it, but as how he felt about it," said senior exhibit developer Robert Davis. "It was mostly the act of doing it. He wasn't interested in selling the pieces or exhibiting them necessarily."

One painter; two museums; 200 works; all of which, making a statement about the importance and legacy of Utah artist LeConte Stewart.

Both exhibits opened Thursday and will remain at the museums through Jan. 15, 2012.

Email: cmikita@ksl.com

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Carole Mikita

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