Sunday, September 4, 2011

Vulcan's Victory: An inspiration from a great collaboration

Clement Haupers (1900-1982)
Vulcan’s Victory, 1960’s,
Collection of Minnesota Museum of American Art
Gift of Mrs. Benjamin Grey, 1976.
By the end of the 2011 Minnesota State Fair, I will have served as a State Fair Foundation Volunteer for 6 of the Fair's 12 days. I was lucky to have been assigned to the J.V. Bailey House and to the tiny exhibit, Fairs, Circuses, and All Things Fun, which is a collaboration between the Foundation and the Minnesota Museum of American Art. As the MMAA is currently looking for a home and its collections are in storage, it is a special treat to be able to see these paintings and sculptures.

My favorite piece, Vulcan’s Victory by Minnesota artist Clement Haupers, is an inspiration on many levels. It celebrates one of my favorite events, the St. Paul Winter Carnival (ice palace, bouncing girls, and fireworks), and it has a secret linked to Minnesota’s great agricultural tradition imbedded in its frame. Really? When Haupers made the frame, he used egg flats to echo the shapes and bursts of the fireworks. 
Egg Flat Frame

Many visitors have been intrigued by this painting, and there was much speculation about how Haupers achieved the look of stucco on this three-dimensional frame. Was it plaster? Plaster-of-Paris? Very thick paint? Stucco?

Having gone directly to a grocery store after seeing this frame, I learned that egg flats are not the egg cartons in grocery stores; they are made to hold 30 eggs. Nonetheless, I am inspired once again to create my own frames, and to look for unusual materials to do that. What inspires you?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the nice write-up, Susan, and your insights into Haupers' painting! I'm glad to know they were "egg flats" used in the frame, and not "egg cartons." Good research! I'll put that in our museum files. Cheers!