Marion Gunderson, Her Watercolors, and the 1951 Des Moines Tribune


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"A Busy Mother Heads Art Week," Des Moines Tribune Oct. 31, 1951. (Click twice on article to enlarge text.)

This newspaper article is on the back of the framed original of Ear of Iowa Corn, painted by Mother and owned by Bill Carmichael at West Lake Okoboji, Iowa.

Our family had no knowledge of this painting until July of 2007 when RAGBRAI went through Rolfe. A year later, Carmichaels were kind enough to let my oldest sister, Clara, take photos of their original corn watercolor, painted by Mother. You can imagine Clara’s surprise and glee (yes…I think glee!) when she discovered this article in a plastic protector on the back of the framed painting.

The article is from the October 31, 1951, Des Moines Tribune. Peggy was born just 30 days prior. I was born four years later. Meaning that at the time of this article, Mother had five children ages nine and younger. In Mother’s 1980 (or ’81) oral history she said, “Much of my painting was done after eight o’clock in the evening when the children were in bed because I just didn’t have time earlier.”

It is amazing that after days that I’m sure were frequently long with five children, Mother had the get-up-and-go to reserve time and energy for painting in the late evenings. And, to exhibit around the state of Iowa.

What a marvelous photo of Mother at the bottom of this article. And, I love the columnist’s use of the word “brilliant” (second column) to describe Mother’s watercolors. It’s so very true. See for yourself by taking a look at two watercolors she painted in 1951, the same year this article was published: Railway Station and Grain Elevator (Gilmore City, Iowa) and in Depot (Rolfe, Iowa).

If you didn’t already click twice on the article to read it, I hope you will.

Also, in case you didn’t catch last week’s (11-10-09) Des Moines Register article about Mother, you may click here to read it.  (Update on December 13, 2009:  The article is no longer posted on the Des Moines Register web site.  If you email me to let me know you’d like I a digital copy of it, I’ll email it to you. ) The article is an endearing story about Mother.  It also explains how the profit from prints of her watercolors is funding the Rolfe, Iowa, oral history project she spearheaded in 1980-81.

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This article is posted with permission from the Des Moines Register.

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