Best imitation of a museum show
It was a presentation worthy of a museum -- not the Denver Art Museum, of course, since it pays scant attention to Colorado's rich art heritage, but a museum somewhere else. Exhibition organizer David Cook, who runs a pair of galleries side by side on Wazee Street, used a connoisseur's eye and a historian's judgment to infuse John F. Carlson and Artists of the Broadmoor Academy with a multiplicity of rewards. There were the seldom-seen masterworks by Carlson and other teachers at the long-closed Broadmoor Academy, including Robert Reid, Birger Sandzen and Ernest Lawson, and there was the work of their students -- in particular, dozens of pieces by Charles Bunnell, one of the state's first modern artists. The once nationally famous academy and its successor institution, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, shaped regional art for decades in the first half of the twentieth century, its influence felt all the way from Denver to Santa Fe. Cook not only assembled an impressive clutch of paintings and prints (and even a sculpture or two) by the academy's teachers and students, but he also commissioned an accompanying catalogue written by local art historian Stanley Cuba and salted the show with charming, historical photographs.
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