“Ezra Meeker,” oil on linen, study for mural, by Danny Pierce. COURTESY PHOTO, city of Kent

“Ezra Meeker,” oil on linen, study for mural, by Danny Pierce. COURTESY PHOTO, city of Kent

Centennial Center Gallery features city of Kent Danny Pierce collection

Exhibit to run in April, May

  • Wednesday, March 28, 2018 3:09pm
  • Life

The city of Kent Arts Commission’s Centennial Center Gallery, 400 W. Gowe St., displays the city’s full collection of Danny Pierce artwork through May 18.

The show is free and open to the public, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Pierce (Sept.10, 1920 to March 6, 2014) was a beloved Kent artist with a long and prestigious career. His artwork is included in such notable collections as the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Institute and the Seattle Art Museum. He has exhibited widely in the United States and abroad.

This exhibit features 10 artworks that were generously donated to the city art collection by Danny and Julia Pierce’s children from the Pierce estate, as well as works from the city’s existing Danny Pierce collection.

Pierce began life working as a cowboy in California and, throughout his life, he remained adventurous. His artwork consistently chronicled the working landscapes of farm, forest, sea, range and city, paying special attention to the partnership between man and animal. At the age of 19, he entered the Art Center School in Los Angeles, but the Depression and World War II intervened.

From 1940 to 1953, Pierce worked as a commercial artist, served a term in the military, enrolled in the American Art School in Manhattan, moved to the Adirondack Mountains to work as an illustrator and concluded his education at the Brooklyn Museum of Art School. In the midst of this period, he married Julia Rasmussen in 1943 and started his family of four children in 1952.

In 1959, the Carnegie Foundation invited Pierce to be the first artist-in-residence and founding chairperson of the Art Department (1960-1963) at the University of Alaska, College, Alaska. While in Alaska, he hunted whales with Eskimos, documented nesting birds, and raised his family in rustic conditions. In 1964, Pierce was invited to be a guest instructor in printmaking at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wis. He remained in Wisconsin for the remainder of his teaching career, retiring as a professor emeritus in 1984.

The couple returned to Kent, Julia’s hometown. They lived in her childhood home until their deaths, which were two weeks apart in 2014.

Centennial Gallery shows are produced by the City of Kent Arts Commission. For more information, visit kentwa.gov/arts/gallery/.

Danny Pierce. COURTESY PHOTO, Eduardo Calderon

Danny Pierce. COURTESY PHOTO, Eduardo Calderon