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Art Museum celebrates Dunn’s birthday with new exhibit

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BROOKINGS, S.D. — A new exhibit, “Harvey Dunn: Select Works,” will be displayed at the South Dakota Art Museum through April 25, 2010.
In honor of Harvey Dunn’s 125th birthday, the SDAM is hosting a birthday celebration on March 8 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Cookies and coffee will be served, and all Harvey Dunn prints and items in the gift shop will be 20 percent off the entire month of March.
Harvey Dunn, known across the country for his extraordinary illustrations and paintings, provides the museum with much of its hallmark work. His illustrations were included in numerous magazines and books of his time and many of his war works are housed at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
Dunn attended South Dakota Agricultural College, now SDSU, in 1901, where he studied painting under noted art professor Ada Caldwell. After recognizing his innate talent, Caldwell encouraged Dunn to further his skills at the Chicago Art Institute. Dunn studied in Chicago until 1904, when he moved to Delaware to study under Howard Pyle, the foremost illustrator in America at the time. “He made me unafraid to be dramatic,” said Dunn, on Pyle’s impact on his artwork.
Dunn’s paintings, often characterized by bold, vigorous detail, are known and admired for capturing the spirit of the pioneers and the essence of the prairie. Dunn drew much inspiration from his mother, Bersha Dunn, as well as from his childhood spent on the South Dakota plains.
Some of his most prominent works include “The Prairie is my Garden,” “After School,” “Girl Driving Oxen,” “Something For Supper,” and “Prairie Trail.” In addition to Dunn’s well-known paintings, the new select works exhibition includes lesser known and seldom shown small oil and watercolor paintings, woodcuts and drawings.
“Dunn became one of America’s most successful illustrators, but despite his success, he never forgot his South Dakota roots,” said John Rychtarik, Curator of Exhibits at the SDAM.  “This collection represents a vital piece of South Dakota’s history. We are proud to display these visually stunning reminders of early pioneer life.”
The South Dakota Art Museum is located at the junction of Medary Avenue and Harvey Dunn Street. Museum hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (605) 688-5423, toll free (866) 805-7590 or visit