Tag Archives: orange

Iron Crosses, Bruges – update

After a flurry of emails back and forth, I was connected to Chris van Lierop, whose parents were Rev. Richard E. Nelson and Mrs. Dorothy Rawlings Nelson.

I received this lovely note from Chris:

“I looked again at your website. Iron Crosses is in the background of the newspaper photo dated Feb 18, 1960. That article mentions Cedar Falls. I assume that my parents met Sister Mary James Ann at that time.

My father was campus pastor at Norther Iowa U at that time. In that capacity, he organized exhibits of religious art at the student center on campus on Serely Blvd. We lived in that building when I was born in 1956 and for the first three years of my life. I had assumed that my parents met Sister in connection with one of the exhibits they organized. But perhaps it was at the other exhibit in Cedar Falls mentioned in the article.”

My family moved to Duluth, MN, in 1964. Iron Crosses hung in our dining room there for 45 years!

Chris also shared that Iron Crosses, Bruges was donated to the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis.  She provided me with a photo that was provided by Dr. Rodney Allen Schwartz, director of the Westminster Gallery and Archive, who has given me permission to use it here:

Iron Crosses, Bruges is inspired by a cemetery in Belgium that features hundreds of iron crosses slowly rusting.  Courtesy of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Minneapolis

However, Chris did inform me that the painting in the background of this clipping is Iron Crosses, Bruges. I would have never known unless I saw the original!

Iron Crosses, Bruges is behind my aunt on the wall. It is vibrant in reds, golds, oranges and pinks! News clippings provided by Clarke College (University).

According to a 1960 article SisterJamesAnn_1960, my aunt was inspired to create this along with many other images during an art student tour of Europe.

I have never been to Belgium, but I was curious about what my aunt may have been looking at.  I found this picture from a Google search – I couldn’t find who owns it but it was on a website called dipity.com

Iron Crosses, photo found on dipity.com

I also found this YouTube video searching for photographs. Not all of the images shown in this video are of crosses made of iron. Some ornate crosses are found individually on top of headstones, and this collection, set to lovely music, shows the same area photographed above, but dusted with snow. I think it sets a pensive tone.

Chris is also going to try and find some old family photographs where the painting hung in the dining room!  The painting was 48″ by 34″ tall.

I will discuss the detail of the image at a later date here.

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Mid Century Iowa Art

I have to start checking my junk mail more regularly. Ever have a trusted name or domain slip into your junk mail for some reason? Well maybe it’s coincidence that the 13th discovery came to me in that manner- but I was indeed LUCKY that I scanned the numerous Viagra and replica Rolex watches and found this:

Courtesy of Clarke University. Title, date and medium unknown

Forgiveness 10/12

Actual title, year, medium unknown. Courtesy of Clarke University

I called this Forgiveness because I see a figure kneeling in the middle of the painting, it’s hands outstretched and palms up. It faces a great white light and touches the light peripherally, as does one knee. Most of the figure remains in the natural world, with browns, dark golds and greens on the outside, and a heated red-orange closer to the figure.

The red-orange may represent evil, or the fires of hell. This person is in the hotseat, in the middle of heated passion or turmoil.

This figure has hope. Through prayer, he calls back the blessings and peace of a higher power. The goodness of God, his grace, his forgiveness is approaching and is moving toward the figure.There is some white in the center that could be the hand of God, ready to embrace the figure.