Local business leader Frederick B. Scheel not only ran the family’s successful recreation and home store business but also was a serious photographer and art collector. A generous new gift from the Scheel family of Fred’s own photographs and those by many masters of photography will be unveiled in a new exhibition opening this fall. Of the 266 photographs in this new collection for Plains Art Museum, 67 will be on view in Part One of a two-part, long-term run to show the breadth of artists, subject matter, style, and techniques. In March 2011, new photographs will replace a number of those from Part One of this permanent collection exhibition.
More than 40 of Fred Scheel’s own gelatin silver prints will be centrally featured alongside the black and white photography of mentors Ansel Adams, Brett Weston, and Robert Byers, and other photographers he admired, such as Berenice Abbott, Walker Evans, André Kertész, Henry Gilpin, among others.
“In reviewing the 166 photographs by Fred and 100 by other artists, it became clear how Fred’s artistry was influenced by his mentors,” commented Colleen Sheehy, curator of the exhibition and director of Plains Art Museum. “Fred saw pattern and form—a sense of order—in the world, whether in human environments like cities or industrial buildings or in nature’s grand mountainous landscapes or in single flowers. He shows a rigorous sense of composition that makes his work a pleasure to view. He helps us to see the beauty all around us.”
After this inaugural showing, Part One and Part Two, the Frederick B. Scheel Photography Collection will be an ongoing resource for future exhibitions and for study. A collection of books on photography, also part of the gift to the Plains, will be made available for study in the future as well.
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