Young college graduates, largely from Northwestern University in Evanston, came to southernmost Illinois in 1933 and established a college just outside of Harrisburg. The College in the Hills was an experimental liberal arts college offering courses in history, economics, sociology, psychology, and art for the surrounding communities. Its mission, as stated in a newspaper announcement, was "to develop students capable of living in a modern world of new social and economic values.
Few abstract paintings are known to exist from this once prolific, German-born artist who immigrated to Chicago in 1926 and lived in Evanston, Illinois, until 1933. In 1934, Penrod Centurion, also known as “Penny Cent,” moved to southern Illinois to teach art at the College in the Hills, an experimental college near Harrisburg. In 1937, he received a stipend award from the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation in New York City for the Museum of Non-Objective Painting.
Today in the United States, many people feel very uncomfortable looking at a death portrait. However, in earlier times, it was an accepted means of remembering and memorializing someone who had died. In the 19th century, many families lost children to accident and disease.
The urn harks back to ancient Greek funeral cremation urns. The interest in Greece and Rome—the Neo-Classical Revivals of the 18th and 19th centuries—inspired architecture and decoration that emulated these ancient cultures.
Edward Richardson Jr. worked as an artist in Springfield, Illinois, from 1850 until his death in 1858 at the age of 31. He advertised himself in the local newspaper as a portrait artist and decorative painter.
Illinois' predominately flat landscape leaves us with ample sky to contemplate, making us all forecasters of coming storms. Nothing is more indicative of the powerful and unpredictable forces of weather than tornadoes, a not uncommon sight on our horizons.