Paul Henry’s Art Gallery in Hammond is displaying a lifetime of the work of late artist Montana Morrison, a prolific painter who created thousands of paintings that have hung in collections across America and Europe.
The School of the Art Institute graduate ran Gallery 1633 in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood for more than 20 years. In her later years, the fine artist also had the Montana Morrison Gallery and Museum in Red Bluff, California, where she moved to in 2007.
She worked in a number of different styles, creating diverse pieces over the years. She had a Hollywood period, a dance period, an abstract period, a 3D sculptural period and a Japanese period in which she created floral prints and portraits of women in traditional kimonos. Her artwork focused on varied subjects like dance, religion, cities and figures like Fred Astaire of Hollywood’s golden era.
Morrison died in 2009 and her family donated the paintings to Paul Henry’s, which is looking to sell them.
“We’ve sold several but there were a lot of paintings,” owner David Mueller said. “There were a lot of paintings, big oil paintings a lot of people wouldn’t have room for because they’re too large. After 12 years, she still had a lot of paintings left. It’s a burden for the family to store them or to sell them because then you have to drag them out of storage. She didn’t have anywhere to display the work.”
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Her family showcased Morrison’s work at a few posthumous exhibits over the years.
“They were moderately successful, but it’s getting to be a burden to do something with all their mother’s work,” Mueller said. “So we’re looking to move them.”
Paul Henry’s, a 19th century hardware store reimagined as an art gallery, has more than 150 of her paintings, which take up the entire back room on the hardware store side of the gallery at 416 Sibley Ave.
“It’s an enormous collection,” he said. “It took three weeks just to look at, label and organize everything.”
Mueller is looking to move the paintings to free up space as Paul Herny’s gears up to again host live events, like its popular open mic night.
“It represents 30 to 40 years of work,” he said. “The subject matter changes quite a bit. But they’re all oil paintings, which is rare among the paintings I come into contact with these days.”
He believes the size of the paintings would make them ideal for institutional uses, such as for businesses, offices or theater groups that need set decorations. Real estate agents for instance might find the paintings helpful in staging properties.
“They’re large. They’re huge,” he said. “They would take up an awful lot of wall space.”
He is flexible on price and willing to accept reasonable offers.
“It’s an unusual project. This is an opportunity you’re not going to have every day to get a large-scale oil original work at an extreme discount,” he said. “It doesn’t take too long to stop by and check it out to see if you’d be interested or not. There’s a lot of variety: a dance series, Middle Eastern work and Hollywood movie posters she did for the better part of a year. There’s a lot of figurative and portrait work, pieces that are not any particular style. The subject matter moves around a lot. It was done throughout her career and it’s just fascinating to review the collection.”
For more information, visit www.paulhenrysartgallery.com or call 219-678-5015.
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