Works by Rembrandt, Toulouse-Lautrec, others on display at Waukegan’s Urban Edge Gallery
Above, among the works owned by private collector Richard Harris is Still life with bouquet and skull by Flemish artist Adriaen van Utrecht who lived from 1599 – 1652. – Richard Harris collection
All living things have one thing in common: mortality. The City of Waukegan presents “Human Condition”, curated from the Richard Harris Art Collection, opening Saturday, March 18 at Urban Edge Gallery. This fine arts exhibit explores the ways different backgrounds, cultures and religions cope with mortality.
Original works by Rembrandt, Toulouse-Lautrec, van Ultrect, Jasper Johns, and Mapplethorpe are among the museum quality pieces on display. Urban Edge curator Vickie Marasco said of the exhibition, “This is such an exciting opportunity for the gallery and for me personally as a curator to be able to experience representing a remarkable collection of Masters to Modernists. It has been a pleasure to work with Richard Harris as his passion for fine art is contagious and his collection fascinating.” Marasco chose 50 pieces out of the over 3000 in the collection, a task she said “wasn’t easy, but it was fun.”
Richard Harris grew up in New York, graduating from Queens College with a degree in Economics and a strong background in art history. He started his career at an art reproductions business selling copies of old master paintings to businesses.
Over 12 years, I have accumulated over 3,000 objects exploring the related themes of death and mortality. They range from incidental pieces of ephemera and vernacular art to rare and beautiful masterpieces.” – Richard Harris
His introduction to antique prints began as he worked for two dealers who bought and sold botanical prints and prints of birds and animals. From there he went out on his own. “At that point of my art collecting life, I wanted to test my own eye and had the time to devote to the acquisition process,” Harris said. “Over 12 years, I have accumulated over 3,000 objects exploring the related themes of death and mortality. They range from incidental pieces of ephemera and vernacular art to rare and beautiful masterpieces. These objects represent every medium and come from all over the world. There were things that were $5 and others are worth hundreds of thousands.”
“The subject matter of this exhibit invites viewers to reflect on death as it relates to themselves and our society. Taking in the varied visual artistic interpretations of mortality makes life more beautiful and our finite existence not so frightening,” Marasco said.
“It’s a universal theme,” Harris said. “When the show was in London school children came. It’s not a scary show; in fact, I think they enjoyed it because of the content.”
Urban Edge is located at 220 West Clayton Street in downtown Waukegan. After the grand opening on Saturday, gallery hours for “Human Condition” are Thursdays 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Fridays 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Saturdays Noon – 5 p.m. through June 1. The show is free.
ArtWauk is a monthly art festival in downtown Waukegan Arts and Entertainment District. It is held the third Saturday of each month, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. featuring a number of art galleries, as well as performing art venues.
For more information about Richard Harris’ collections, visit http://www.richardharrisartcollection.com/
For more information about Urban Edge, visit http://www.facebook.com/UrbanEdgeSpace