January 22, 2020

Lithograph in black and white of a man sculpting a woman's face.

Lithograph from the “Histoire d’en Dire 2” (A Story to Tell 2) series by Paul Gavarni

Las Vegas, N.M. – New Mexico Highlands University presents “Selections from the Highlands Foundation Print and Painting Collection,” an art exhibition in the Burris Hall Gallery at 903 National Ave., with an opening reception Jan. 24 from 5 to 7 p.m. The exhibition continues through Feb. 14.

Highlands fine arts faculty members David Lobdell, Todd Christensen and Shereen Lobdell curated the exhibition.

“The fine arts faculty has watched the Highlands Foundation collection grow through Dr. Robert Bell’s generous patronage,” Lobdell said. “We have used the collection as a resource for drawing and print classes in that students produced Old Master copies for a number of years. The regular drawing courses have participated as well as the life drawing course that focuses on the figure. The ultimate goal of this exhibition is to inspire our Highlands students.”

Bell is a Santa Fe art collector, art patron, author and publisher. He is also a longtime Las Vegas ophthalmologist.

“Art students as well as the public have enjoyed Dr. Bell’s periodic lectures that focus upon both the collection that he donated to Highlands and artworks he still owns,” Lobdell said.

Lobdell said the majority of the artwork in the exhibit was donated by Bell, with Dixon, New Mexico artist Eli Levin also contributing some of his own paintings to the Highlands Foundation collection.

“We chose the works for the exhibition based on the time periods in the paintings, which are done by living contemporary artists in New Mexico. In addition, the exhibition includes fine art prints from modern European artists from the 20th century, as well as Rembrandt works from the 17th century and Gavarni works from the 19th century,” Lobdell said.

Lobdell said it is very rare for a small university of Highlands’ size to have an extensive art collection of such profound quality.

“It was a joy collaborating with my fine arts colleagues to produce this extraordinary exhibition,” Lobdell said.

Renee Buchanan is the Highlands Foundation art curator and archivist. She said the featured painters in the exhibition include New Mexico artists Jack Sinclair, Mark Spencer, Eli Levin and former Santa Fe resident Clayton Campbell.

“Each of these artists paint a wide variety of scenes, from mythological to current affairs,” Buchanan said. “All these artists studied elsewhere but found a home in the New Mexico art scene. Along with New Mexico painters, Dr. Bell collects and has donated a wide variety of fine art prints to Highlands, numbering more than 3,000 since 2001.”

Buchanan said the exhibition includes famous printmakers such as Rembrandt, known as “the master of light,” Marc Chagall, Paul Gavarni, Joan Miró and Henry Moore.

“All of these artists were best known as painters and sculptors, but they were also prolific printmakers. We are fortunate to have such fine examples of their work in our collection,” Buchanan said.