West Shore accepts third Dawson piece

April 11, 2013
Dawson's grandson, Peter Lockwood, and Professor Emeritus Sharon Bluhm unveil the painting.

Dawson’s grandson, Peter Lockwood, and Professor Emeritus Sharon Bluhm unveil the painting.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

VICTORY TWP. – West Shore Community College placed itself in the ranks of some of the nation’s most prestigious art museums Thursday when it added a third piece of original Manierre Dawson art to its collection.

Sharon Bluhm speaks about Manierre Dawson.

Sharon Bluhm speaks about Manierre Dawson.

Manierre Dawson was a Riverton Township farmer through much of 20th century whose hobby was abstract art. Towards the end of his life, Dawson’s art was discovered by the art world and it was realized that he was the premier abstract artist of the United States.

Today, his work is displayed in museums across the country. In 1969 Dawson donated an untitled abstract to the newly formed West Shore Community College. That piece sat in storage for almost a few decades until Professor Sharon Bluhm started doing researching on Dawson.

Bluhm, who is now retired and holds the title professor emeritus, was inspired because she lived in the home that Dawson spent his childhood summers in, only a short distance from the home where he lived most of his adult life. Dawson grew up in Chicago but his family summered in Riverton. After college and after a stint in Europe, he decided to settle in south of Ludington.

Professor of Art Rebecca Mott hangs the Dawson piece in the gallery.

Professor of Art Rebecca Mott hangs the Dawson piece in the gallery.

Bluhm recently published “Manierre Dawson: Inventions of the Mind,” a biography on the artist and his art.

“Sharon knows more about my grandfather than I do,” said Dawson’s grandson Peter Lockwood of Arlington, Texas. Lockwood was one of the grandchildren who helped turn Bluhm’s casual interest in Dawson into a pursuit. He was present at Thursday’s dedication ceremony to donate the 101-year-old untitled abstract.

“This is just beautiful,” Dr. Charles Dillon, WSCC president, said when viewing the piece for the first time.

The three pieces are on display permanently in the Manierre Dawson Gallery located in the WSCC Arts and SciencesBuilding. Other Dawson art, located in the Great Lakes region, are on display at the Muskegon Museum of Art, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Kalamazoo Art Institute, Art Institute of Chicago and the Milwaukee Art Museum, which is the only other regional facility, besides West Shore, to have three Dawson pieces.

Bluhm’s book can be purchased at the WSCC bookstore.

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