Manierre Dawson Sculpture


Photo: Greg and Mary Yaple hold one of Manierre Dawson’s works, “The Acrobats,” which they donated to West Shore Community College on behalf of the estate of Reginald Yaple.

West Shore Community College has been given a sculpture by the late abstract artist Manierre Dawson and it will be added to the gallery which honors and recognizes the legacy of this prominent American artist and Mason County resident.

The composite wood sculpture titled “Acrobats” was created in 1954, and is a gift from the estate of Mason County resident Reginald O. Yaple who purchased the sculpture from Dawson in the 1960s.

The new acquisition will join three other Dawson pieces in its permanent art collection, “House at Bridge,” 1910, oil on wood panel, “Untitled Abstraction,” ca. 1912, oil on wood panel, both gifts of Peter Lockwood, and an untitled composite wood sculpture “Labyrinth” which was a gift of the artist to the college in the early1970s.

“We proud of our connection to Manierre Dawson and are excited by this recent gift,” said WSCC President Kenneth Urban. “It is remarkable that a college of our size can showcase several excellent examples of this prolific abstract artist right here in western Michigan.”

A fruit farmer who lived most of his life 15 miles south of the college in Mason County’s Riverton Township, Dawson is credited as America’s first non-representational abstract artist.

Dawson made his public debut as an abstract artist in the 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art, exhibiting next to Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Paul Cézanne who were also unknown at the time.

Yet through a variety of circumstances, Dawson was overlooked by art historians and is only now receiving recognition for his contributions a century after he began painting what was then considered a radical style of art.

Dawson is represented in numerous public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, Milwaukee Art Museum, Grand Rapids Art Museum, and Muskegon Museum of Art.

Located in the college’s Arts & Science Center, the Manierre Dawson Gallery opened in October 2010 and features a rotating display of art exhibits. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Friday.

Call 231-843-5966 for current exhibit details.

Author: Thomas Hawley | Executive Director of College Relations