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A Wondrous Gift: Paintings from the Schenk Estate in Memory of Edna Schenk

The late Edna Schenk, a 1935 graduate of Central College (now Central Methodist University) and a prominent artist on the West Coast for many years, will be the featured artist at The Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art at the opening of its fallfrom Edna Schenk '35 exhibition schedule Aug. 21.

Schenk, who passed away in May, taught art in the Boonville School District from 1937 to 1942, and then moved to Illinois briefly before settling in Ventura, Calif., where she taught for many years in the public school system. She also became a well-known West Coast artist, who also traveled extensively in Europe, which is portrayed in much of her life's work.

In the spring of 1999, Schenk's art was featured at The Ashby-Hodge Gallery in a exhibition titled "Edna Schenk: The Artist as Traveler," which featured 33 paintings done by Schenk over the past four decades as she traveled throughout western Europe and the Mediterranean. These include oils, pastels and watercolors painted while she was in England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and other European countries. Much of this work, along with many previously unseen works will be featured in the current exhibition.

Edna Schenk Painting"The Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art is quite proud to present this memorial exhibition in honor of Edna Schenk," said Joe Geist, curator of the gallery. "She was a great patron of the arts, a special friend of our gallery, and one of the finest artists to graduate from our university."

In the summer of 2006, Schenk invited Geist and former Ashby-Hodge curator Thomas Yancey to her home in Ventura, Calif., to select paintings for the Gallery's permanent collection or for the sales gallery. Fifty-two paintings were selected. With her death in May, the gallery will now be the recipient of her canon of works that were left in her studio, Geist said.

Schenk was born in Fayette, Mo., in 1913. After graduating from Central, she did post-graduate work at the University of Wisconsin and San Fernando Valley State College. She started her teaching career in Boonville and later taught in IllinoisEdna Schenk Painting before moving to California.

During her travels in Europe, Schenk lived among the natives, drawing her inspiration not only from what she saw, but also from myriad interpersonal relationships and experiences, Geist said. "This close sharing tempered her interpretation of the world around her. She would spend her time drawing and painting and viewing the old masters, as well as seeking out the work of contemporary artists."

Between 1966 and 2003, Schenk had one-woman exhibitions at the Diogeneous Art Gallery in Athens, Greece, in Beverly Hills, the Pacific Palisades, the Oxnard Gallery of Fine Art and the Bryant Hale Gallery of Palm Springs. In the 1960s, she coordinated her European paintings with a special fashion import show by Joseph Magnin. Schenk's works now hang in more than 400 private collections throughout the United States and the European continent. 

 
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