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The Ashby Collection - Part 1

A two-part exhibition of the remarkable Ashby Collection opened in The Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art on the Central Methodist College campus Oct. 24 and continued through Dec. 1.

Titled "The Way We Were: The Ashby Collection Revisited Seven Years Later," the show featured 51 works of American art from the collection of Dr. Don and Loretta Ashby of Pekin, Ill. The works were provided to The Ashby-Hodge Gallery for its permanent collection. Pieces to be shown include acrylics, oils, watercolors, pastels and bronze sculpture.

Among the art shown for the first time were pieces by American artists Cecil Bell (1906-1970), Paul Cornoyer (1864-1923), Joe Jones (1909-1963) and Reginald Marsh (1898-1954). Also being shown for the first time are five works by artist Fred Irvin of California, who was born in 1914 in Chillicothe, Mo., and active in national art circles for more than a half century, and works by Roger Medearis, who was born in Fayette in 1920 and is still active as an artist from his home in California.

Other artists featured included Missourian Thomas Hart Benton, who died in 1975; Aaron Bohrod (1907-1992); Missourian Robert MacDonald Graham, who died in February; Frederic Remington (1861-1909); and Charles Banks Wilson, who was born in Oklahoma in 1918 and is still an active artist from his home in Fayetteville, Ark.

The Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art opened in October 1993 at Central Methodist College. In addition to the Ashbys, its benefactors include Dr. Robert and Anna Mae Besgrove Hodge of Kansas City. "From the very beginning, the central focus of the Gallery was the Ashby Collection," said Dr. Geist. "The collection started with 92 works and has now grown to over 150 works." Geist said the collection emphasizes Midwestern regionalist artists of the 20th century, with a special interest in the students of Thomas Hart Benton.