The fine art shippers lifted the painting from the wall, wrapped it in a nylon film, coated the ends in bubble wrap and secured it into a climate-controlled truck.

Thus began the journey Tuesday (Oct. 25) of a 60 plus-year-old oil painting to see the world.

As part of a bet with the Louisiana State University Museum of Art, The Art Museum of West Virginia University is sending a canvas depicting coal’s place in the American experience down the east coast to LSU.

The bet for a six-week loan of a piece of artwork was lost during the Sept. 24 football game in Morgantown between the two schools. But it’s an opportunity to share Appalachian heritage with a part of the country that is worlds apart.

They speak Cajun. We speak Appalachian. They’re on the bayous. We’re landlocked in the hills. But we’re both respected land-grant institutions that work to educate the entire public in a variety of disciplines, including the arts. And we are both in states that have a strong link to energy.

“While I don’t like losing, I’m happy for the opportunity to share an important work of art from our museum collection with colleagues at the LSU Museum of Art and the citizens of Louisiana,” said Joyce Ice, director of The Art Museum of WVU. “I know they will appreciate being able to see this painting firsthand on campus.”

The Rockwell Kent painting entitled “To Make Dream Homes Come True” will be housed in the Modern Gallery of the LSU Museum of Art from Oct. 31 until Dec. 12.

In 1947, WVU received the painting, one of 10 commissioned by the Bituminous Coal Institute from a noted artist of the time, Rockwell Kent. Each painting was given to a university that was strongly intertwined with coal’s history.

“To Make Dream Homes Come True,” is a somewhat abstract portrayal of a giant figure emerging from the hazy night sky. He holds a piece of coal that sheds light on a few homes which are placed on ground that is marked with the tracings of a future housing development.



CONTACT: Joyce Ice, The Art Museum of WVU

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