Encyclopedia of the Great Plains

David J. Wishart, Editor


A notable development in the artistic climate of the Great Plains in the decades following World War II has been the appearance of a whole generation of painters of the prairie landscape: Robert Sudlow, Anne Burkholder, James Butler, Hal Holoun, Ben Darling, Ernest Ochsner, and Keith Jacobshagen. Among them Keith Jacobshagen has attained recognition on the national scene with paintings of exceptional quality. His is not the landscape of the regionalist thirties, dominated by a dry realism and ravaged by climate and social neglect. Instead there is deeply personal, even intimate perception at work. The landscape is rich with the textures of weather, season, and growth. His viewpoint is one of patient absorption, an immersion in the specifics of time and place and, in particular, the hours of the early evening.

Jacobshagen was born on September 8, 1941, in Wichita, Kansas. A graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute (1965) and the University of Kansas at Lawrence (1968), he came to the faculty of the University of Nebraska– Lincoln in 1968 still working in the academic version of current abstract expressionism. Soon thereafter he centered his personal concern on the rural landscape around him, and his work took on the qualities that have identified him among his contemporaries as a master of the minutiae of the subject–of cloud, smoke, the haze of distance. In some of his works he has specified in marginal notations the date, the time of day, the very sounds and smells of being in that place. Most particularly, he has matched the implied complications of the presence of people on the land to the natural drama of the sky.

Norman A. Geske Lincoln, Nebraska

Geske, Norman A. Art and Artists in Nebraska. Lincoln: Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery in Association with the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska– Lincoln, 1983.

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