Past Exhibitions

Decorative: Images by Edward S. Curtis from The North American Indian Collection

November 23, 2013 - March 16, 2014

Decorative: Images by Edward S. Curtis from The North American Indian Collection

This installment of Curtis photogravures in the Museum’s Falb Family Gallery featured 37 images of American Indian decorative arts. Accompanying the images were 9 works of rare Native American basketry and pottery from the private collection of Dubuque collector Mary Ellyn Jensen.

Edward S. Curtis spent more than 30 years of his life photographing over 80 North American Indian tribes west of the Mississippi. The arts in Native American life were extensively recorded by Curtis including stories, music, and images of decorative objects. In the texts that were part of The North American Indian collection, he recorded volume after volume of myths and legends. Musical compositions were written down for posterity. The skill and craftsmanship displayed in ceremonial and everyday objects were richly preserved in thousands of images.

The North American Indian collection came to the Dubuque Museum of Art’s permanent collection in 2009 thanks to the efforts of the Dubuque Cultural Preservation Committee.

Image: Edward S. Curtis (America, 1868-1952), Pima Baskets, plate 41, 1907, photogravure on Dutch Van Gelder paper, 10 1/4×15 3/4 in., gift of Dubuque Cultural Preservation Committee, an Iowa general partnership, consisting of Dr. Darryl K. Mozena, Jeffrey P. Mozena, Mark Falb, Timothy J. Conlon, and Dr. Randall Lengeling, 2009.41.

Arthur Geisert’s Aesop & Company

November 13, 2013 - January 12, 2014

Arthur Geisert’s Aesop & Company

On view for the first time at Dubuque Museum of Art were six etchings from Arthur Geisert’s nineteen illustrations for Aesop & Company With Scenes From His Legendary Life by Barbara Bader [HMH Books for Young Readers, 1991]. Geisert’s blend of naturalistic local landscapes with animated, expressive figures brings these stories to life with a Midwest spin.

Born and educated in California, Arthur Geisert has lived in the Midwest for the majority of his artistic career, including Galena, Illinois and currently Bernard, Iowa. He has illustrated over 25 children’s books for which he has received numerous awards including three New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book Awards.

Image: Arthur Geisert (America, b.1941), Aesop & Company, Cry Wolf, 10/100, 1990, etching on Rives BFK paper, image: 11 7/8×9 5/16 in., The Arthur Geisert Collection. Gift of Arthur & Bonnie Geisert, made possible by Jack & Mantea Schmid., 02.11.107

Karen Kurka Jensen: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

November 8, 2013 - March 2, 2014

Karen Kurka Jensen: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Sumi-e (soo-me eh’) artist, Karen Kurka Jensen, presented 13 ink brush paintings in the Museum’s Kris Mozena McNamer Gallery. Karen is a nationally recognized sumi-e artist from Minnesota who lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Sumi-e is the ancient art of East Asian brush painting that originated in China thousands of years ago. The technique of sumi-e is related to calligraphy. It is characterized by an economy of strokes and tonal variations. Karen studied the technique for over 10 years under the guidance of Susan Frame and Susan Christie and has evolved her imagery into a new American-style sumi-e that uses traditional tools, called the Four Treasures: Japanese inks, bamboo brushes, grinding stone, and Asian rice paper.

Image: Karen Kurka Jensen, The Rivers of My Homeland VIII, 2013, ink and watercolor on xuan paper, 54×27 in., collection of the artist.

Tom Nakashima: Nature Morte

August 10, 2013 - November 10, 2013

Tom Nakashima: Nature Morte

Tom Nakashima’s exhibition, Nature Morte, featured four monumental canvases along with supporting works inspired by mounds of dead and pulled up trees and brush known as treepiles. Using printmaking, painting, and collage, Nakashima brought works of unprecedented scale to the Museum, the largest, The Brothers Karamazov, being almost 10 feet high by 30 feet wide.

Treepiles are a common but often overlooked site on the landscape. These man-made forms signify a change to the landscape either planned or unplanned. After periods of flooding or wild fires, treepiles are signs of clean-up. Farmers and other land owners clear their land for a variety of reasons such as to increase space for livestock or crops or to develop land for commercial or residential building. It was the shape of a treepile that attracted the observant eye of Nakashima but it was the reasons behind the treepiles that inspired this artist to incorporate the form into his artwork.

Nakashima was born in 1941 in Seattle, Washington. He grew up in Dubuque and received his B.A. from Loras College in 1965. He received an M.A. in 1966 and M.F.A. in 1967 from the University of Notre Dame. Currently Nakashima is the William S. Morris Scholar in Art Emeritus at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Georgia and Professor Emeritus at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Image: Tom Nakashima, The Brothers Karamazov, 2010, magazine collage and acrylic on canvas, 119 x 360 in., collection of the artist.

Dubuque Camera Club

July 26, 2013 - October 13, 2013

Dubuque Camera Club

It warrants attention when amateur and professional artists as well as hobbyists can successfully come together in informal groups or specialized clubs and colonies for fellowship, collaboration, and constructive competition. Artists can gain exposure to new ideas, themes, and techniques from their peers with regular participation in a group dedicated to their medium but the opportunities for such fellowship are typically rare. This exhibition of 24 works by 20 photographers presented a select sampling of the beautiful images captured by the members of one such group, the Dubuque Camera Club.

The Dubuque Camera Club has been in existence since the early 1940s with its start at the Dubuque YMCA. The current club has over 30 members and is part of the N4C which is an organization of 42 camera clubs in 11 North Central states.

The Club meets the first and third Mondays, September through May at the EB Lyons Center in Dubuque. More information about the Dubuque Camera Club can be found online at

Image: Cara Pusateri, A New Day, 12×18 in., June 2006, digital photograph printed on canvas, collection of the artist.

Monochrome: Pastel Works by Heather O’Neil

July 19, 2013 - October 27, 2013

Monochrome: Pastel Works by Heather O’Neil

Twelve luminous pastel portraits by emerging Dubuque artist, Heather O’Neil, were on view in the Museum’s McNamer Gallery. O’Neil is originally from Dubuque, graduating from Hempstead High School in 1994. She worked as a commissioned portrait artist while living in Lake George, New York and spent time on two humanitarian missions to Africa, which inspired her Congo series of portraits. She and her husband now reside in Dubuque.

Image: Heather O’Neil, Congo Boy II, 2011, soft pastel on paper, 38 ½ x 27 in., collection of the artist

Dubuque Museum of Art 2013


April 6, 2013 - July 21, 2013


The fourth Dubuque Museum of Art Biennial Juried Exhibition featured exciting works of art by some of the most talented artists in a 200 mile radius of Dubuque. Generously sponsored by Marella fine gifts, located in the Roshek building downtown Dubuque, this home-grown exhibition highlights the quality and variety of artwork being produced by the artists of this area. Special thanks to this juror Mr. James Welu, Director Emeritus of the Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts. Mr. Welu presented a gallery talk on Sunday, April 21st at 1:30 pm. The 2013 Biennial was the most competitive call for entries yet with 124 artists submitting 348 works of art. Of those, 47 artists and 50 works of art were selected by the juror for the exhibition. The artists included in the 2013 Biennial were:

Jesse Bakey – Sherrill, IA; Guy Benson – Evanston, IL
Beth Bird – Galena, IL; Christina Bolgren – Dubuque, IA
Kayla Carlson – Maquoketa, IA; Gail Chavenelle – Dubuque, IA
C. Arthur Croyle – Ames, IA; Catherine Jones Davies – Anamosa, IA
Phil Dorothy – Iowa City, IA; Ken Dubin – Fairfield, IA
Sandra L. Dyas – Iowa City, IA; Adam Eikamp – Dubuque, IA
Stephanie Failmezger – Peosta, IA; Delores Fortuna – Galena, IL
Jenny Harms – Dubuque, IA; Carla Heathcote – Dubuque, IA
Thomas Jewell-Vitale – Dubuque, IA; Carl H. Johnson Jr. – Galena, IL
Louise Kames – Dubuque, IA; Alda Kaufman – Dubuque, IA
Lauretta Kelley – Iowa City, IA; Mary Kline-Misol – Clive, IA
Joseph Lappie – Davenport, IA; Diego Lasansky – Iowa City, IA
Nancy Lindsay – Anamosa, IA; Carol S. Mantey – Galena, IL
Christopher Martin – Ames, IA; Brian McCormick – Madison, WI
Alice McMahon – Galena, IL; Barbara Mills – Bellevue, IA
Christian Narkiewicz-Laine – Galena, IL; Pam Ohnemus – Davenport, IA
Hans Eric Olson – Iowa City, IA; Lori V. Raife – Iowa City, IA
Jessica Rebik – Galena, IL; John-Thomas Richard – Hazel Green, WI
Robert Rivoire – Galena, IL; Brian M. Roberts – Pella, IA
John Paul Schafer – Cedar Rapids, IA; Elizabeth Shriver – Coralville, IA
Jessica Teckemeyer – Dubuque, IA; Peter Robert Thompson – Mineral Point, WI
Tonya Tubbs – Cross Plains, WI; Joseph Turek – Freeport, IL
Barbara Walton – Ames, IA; Marcia Wegman – Iowa City, IA
Dawn Wohlford-Metallo – Bettendorf, IA

Image: Biennial 1st Place Award by Sandra L. Dyas, Don, The Modern Barbershop, Burlington, Iowa, 2012, color photograph, 33×22 in., collection of the artist.

John Bissell’s Animal Series

March 24, 2013 - March 24, 2013

John Bissell’s Animal Series

On view in the amuse bouche balcony gallery, These bold lithographs are part of an animal series by local artist, John Bissell that were recently donated to the Dubuque Museum of Art by Dr. and Mrs. Robert Cairns. Done in pairs, one in black & white and one in color, Bissell represented 8 different animals including an American Merino, a Mikumi warthog, Pacific walrus, moose, African hippopotamus, bull elk, sea elephant, and a Stone sheep. Four of the pairs are presented for the first time in this mini exhibition.

Image: John A. Bissell (American, b. 1938), Ram Series, American Merino, 30/125, 1980, hand-colored lithograph on paper, 10 ½ x 14 in., gift of Dr. Robert Scott and Sandra K. Cairns, 2010.45

Margaret Whiting: Art and the Environment

March 22, 2013 - July 7, 2013

Margaret Whiting: Art and the Environment

Margaret Whiting is an Iowa artist who creates paper sculptures, collages, and installations from discarded law books, encyclopedias, dictionaries, science books, maps, and card catalogs. She uses her artwork to explore contemporary issues related to land use and encourages thoughtful consideration of the laws that regulate American society’s impact on the land.

A native of Minnesota, Whiting lives and works in Waterloo, Iowa. She graduated in Medical Technology from the University of Minnesota and received a BA from the University of Northern Iowa. She worked as a medical technologist in hospital laboratories and has taught workshops in papermaking and bookmaking. Whiting has participated in numerous regional, national, and international exhibitions.

Image: Margaret Whiting, Catalog (detail), 2013, library catalog cards, objects from nature, and wood shelf, 24x213x4 in., collection of the artist.

Thomas Moran and New Acquisitions from the Permanent Collection

March 15, 2013 - September 30, 2013

Thomas Moran and New Acquisitions from the Permanent Collection

Two Thomas Moran paintings that are on long-term loan to Dubuque Museum of Art returned for an encore exhibition. These popular paintings of The Grand Canyon and Venice made their first public appearance in over 70 years last spring when they were loaned to DuMA from a private local collection.

The Moran paintings were accompanied by a selection of new acquisitions to the DUMA Permanent Collection over the past three years by artists Max Ernst, Don Glasell, Persis Weaver Robertson, Charles Schroeder, Norman Zepeski, Carl H. Johnson Jr., and Ellen Wagener.

Image: Thomas Moran (1837-1926), Grand Canyon of Arizona at Sunrise, 1910, oil on canvas, 16 1/4×201/4 in., private collection, L2011.2