Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Things He Left Behind: Bill Morgan Original Artwork For Sale

Originally from St. Louis, the late Bill Morgan taught art history and studio art at UWS here in the Twin Ports. When I learned of his passing in early 2016 I knew he would be missed by many. In my interviews with local artists I repeatedly came across artists whom he had influenced.

In 2012 I had the privilege of meeting him and spending an hour interviewing him. He shared with me how he came to be an artist himself and his approach to making art. "Somehow in the West we think everything is a problem to be solved. I don’t think this way. You should be relaxed and enjoy oneself. Some painters have everything worked out in advance, all their colors, everything. That’s anathema to me. I start with canvas, and see what happens. I’m not afraid of words. I see them as patterns. They can work as just a visual experience."

Morgan didn't just teach and inspire students, he was himself prolific. As a result, when he left us he left behind a large body of work.

I'd heard about an estate sale that was taking place last year and hoped to swing over that I might perhaps acquire one of his works. I has a schedule conflict, so was unable to attend. I was curious, though, where his many pictures may have dispersed to, hoping they wouldn't have ended up in a dumpster.

Earlier this month, out of the blue, I received a phone call from local painter Doris Sampson and learned where at least a portion of his things ended up.

Doris Sampson is a local artist who has been painting for more than fifty years here in Duluth. In my 2013 interview with Sampson I speculated that nearly everyone in Duluth was familiar with her work but simply didn't know it. Her paintings appear on walls in many local businesses including the DECC where one of her paintings of the Edmund Fitzgerald hangs. Sampson, who is likewise prolific, had attended an auction where some prints of her work were being sold. Serendipitously, Sampson saw that a large lot of Morgan's art was on the block to be sold. Rather than having the sold for a pittance, she snatched up the whole lot.

Some of the pieces in this collection brought to mind the work of a Spanish artist whose work I have followed in the past, Pere Salinas. You can check out his illustrations and designs here.

In an effort to bring them to market in a manner that respects their value, she has created a website and made them available for others to purchase and appreciate. Because I myself have found inspiration in Bill Morgan's work, I offered to share some of them here. All are 16"x 20" unless otherwise specified. To see more, or to purchase yourself, visit this web page featuring The William Morgan Collection.

You can get to know Bill Morgan more intimately by reading my interview with the artist. Or simply by enjoying his art, shared here.

This piece is 11"x 14"

Ah, to see the world as through the eyes of a child. All becomes wonder.

 Meantime, art goes on all around you. Engage it. 

1 comment:

Doris Sampson, Artist and More said...

Exceptional! Thank you, Ed! Doris Sampson