A Feeling of Humanity: Western Art from the Ken Ratner Collection

Scroll down to see all 70 works in this exhibit

A Feeling of Humanity:
Western Art from the Ken Ratner Collection

September 17, 2016 – March 26, 2017

On Saturday, Sept. 17, A Feeling of Humanity: Western Art From The Ken Ratner Collection, opened in the main gallery of the Museum, located on the Sul Ross State University campus. The exhibition features 70 works by both contemporary artists along with works by early 20th century painters including Kenneth Miller Adams, John Sloan, Boardman Robinson, Georges Schreiber and Bettina Steinke. This exhibit explores and celebrates the beautiful in the ordinary. Included in the show are works by contemporary Texas artists Julie Davis, Tony Eubanks, David Forks and V…. Vaughan.

In 2014, museum director Liz Jackson and museum curator Mary Bones traveled to New York City to meet with Ratner to discuss the potential of exhibiting his unique collection at the Museum of the Big Bend. Enamored by Ratner’s story and collection, Jackson said, “We knew that his collection would be an extraordinary exhibit that we could bring to our patrons, visitors and community.”

Growing up in a Harlem housing project, Ratner came from very humble beginnings. As a young boy, he felt empathy for the poor, the homeless, and those who lived on the edge. These experiences shaped both his career and the art that he collected: he was drawn to humanity. He initially collected works by the Ashcan School of artists–urban realists who documented street scenes of New York City in the early twentieth century.

After 20 years of collecting the Ashcan School artists, Ratner felt the need to support the artists of today. In 2008, or so, he attended a Sotheby’s preview of important American paintings. There he came across two paintings by Gary Ernest Smith of western agrarian scenes that floored him. When he later learned of Smith’s comment that “art is a way of addressing humanity,” it heightened his interest in Smith and other western painters who had a humane response to their environment.

 

Click on any image for a larger view.

Platte River Shallows by V….Vaughan

Platte River Shallows by V….Vaughan

Lanky Cowboy by Trish Stevenson

Lanky Cowboy by Trish Stevenson

The New Blanket by Tony Eubanks

The New Blanket by Tony Eubanks

The Chief’s Daughter by Tony Eubanks

The Chief’s Daughter by Tony Eubanks

Rain View for the Hotel, Butte, MT by Taylor Lynde

Rain View for the Hotel, Butte, MT by Taylor Lynde

Morning Post by Taylor Lynde

Morning Post by Taylor Lynde

Anasazi, Night and Idols of the Changing Woman by Taylor Lynde

Anasazi, Night and Idols of the Changing Woman by Taylor Lynde

A Wedding in Mexico, Part 1, The Busy Streets of San Miguel by Taylor Lynde

A Wedding in Mexico, Part 1, The Busy Streets of San Miguel by Taylor Lynde

Dawn, Sawtooth Range, Idaho by Silas Thompson

Dawn, Sawtooth Range, Idaho by Silas Thompson

Ghost Cliffs by Ruth Andre

Ghost Cliffs by Ruth Andre

Vermillion Cliffs by Rob Colvin

Vermillion Cliffs by Rob Colvin

Morning Light, Chandler Farm by Rob Colvin

Morning Light, Chandler Farm by Rob Colvin

The Elevator by Phil Epp

The Elevator by Phil Epp

Livestock Barn by Phil Epp

Livestock Barn by Phil Epp

Horses on the Hill by Phil Epp

Horses on the Hill by Phil Epp

Horses at Night by Phil Epp

Horses at Night by Phil Epp

Elevators by Phil Epp

Elevators by Phil Epp

Elevator by Phil Epp

Elevator by Phil Epp

Bulls by Phil Epp

Bulls by Phil Epp

Buffalo by Phil Epp

Buffalo by Phil Epp

Barn in Winter by Phil Epp

Barn in Winter by Phil Epp

A Kansas Day by Phil Epp

A Kansas Day by Phil Epp

Solitary Cow by Peggy Judy

Solitary Cow by Peggy Judy

Windy Day by Patricia Melvin

Windy Day by Patricia Melvin

Sausalito Shacks by Patricia Melvin

Sausalito Shacks by Patricia Melvin

Golden Gate Bridge by Patricia Melvin

Golden Gate Bridge by Patricia Melvin

Sawtooth, Winter Sunrise by Louisa McElwain

Sawtooth, Winter Sunrise by Louisa McElwain

Zig Zag by Logan Maxwell Hagege

Zig Zag by Logan Maxwell Hagege

Shadows, Clouds and Mesa by Logan Maxwell Hagege

Shadows, Clouds and Mesa by Logan Maxwell Hagege

El Rancho by Kim Mackey

El Rancho by Kim Mackey

Color of the Day by Kim Mackey

Color of the Day by Kim Mackey

Taos Indian Woman by Kenneth Miller Adams

Taos Indian Woman by Kenneth Miller Adams

Alaska Sky by Kathryn Townsend

Alaska Sky by Kathryn Townsend

Stacked Mesa by Kate Starling

Stacked Mesa by Kate Starling

New Mexico Vista by Julie Ford Oliver

New Mexico Vista by Julie Ford Oliver

Old Smokehouse by Julie Davis

Old Smokehouse by Julie Davis

Taos Drummers by Johnson Yazzie

Taos Drummers by Johnson Yazzie

Nude with Indian Drum by John Sloan

Nude with Indian Drum by John Sloan

Old Bob by Jerry De La Cruz

Old Bob by Jerry De La Cruz

Nazche by Jerry De La Cruz

Nazche by Jerry De La Cruz

Cree Finery by Howard Terpning

Cree Finery by Howard Terpning

From Arkansas by Georges Schreiber

From Arkansas by Georges Schreiber

Trail to the Loch in Rocky Mountain National Park by George Coll

Trail to the Loch in Rocky Mountain National Park by George Coll

Spring Comes to the Rockies by George Coll

Spring Comes to the Rockies by George Coll

Plein Air in Rocky Mountain National Park by George Coll

Plein Air in Rocky Mountain National Park by George Coll

Utah Farmer by Gary Ernest Smith

Utah Farmer by Gary Ernest Smith

Noon by Gary Ernest Smith

Noon by Gary Ernest Smith

Farmer Icon Sketch by Gary Ernest Smith

Farmer Icon Sketch by Gary Ernest Smith

Farmer and Barn by Gary Ernest Smith

Farmer and Barn by Gary Ernest Smith

Navajo Cliffs by G. Russell Case

Navajo Cliffs by G. Russell Case

Mount Carmel, Utah by G. Russell Case

Mount Carmel, Utah by G. Russell Case

Monument Clouds by Erin Hanson

Monument Clouds by Erin Hanson

Canyon de Chelly by Erin Hanson

Canyon de Chelly by Erin Hanson

Arches National Park, Utah by Erin Hanson

Arches National Park, Utah by Erin Hanson

Fairholme in Shadow by Elizabeth Wiltzen

Fairholme in Shadow by Elizabeth Wiltzen

Farmer with Pitchfork by Douglas Aagard

Farmer with Pitchfork by Douglas Aagard

Heber Valley Brush, Utah by Don Prys

Heber Valley Brush, Utah by Don Prys

Ranch Sheds by Don Gray

Ranch Sheds by Don Gray

Ranch Shed by Don Gray

Ranch Shed by Don Gray

Last Glow by Don Gray

Last Glow by Don Gray

Till the Cows Come Home by David Forks

Till the Cows Come Home by David Forks

Summer Chisos by David Forks

Summer Chisos by David Forks

South Texas Cattle by David Forks

South Texas Cattle by David Forks

Canyon at Black Gap by David Forks

Canyon at Black Gap by David Forks

Arroyo Vista by David Forks

Arroyo Vista by David Forks

Winter Trail by Clyde Aspevig

Winter Trail by Clyde Aspevig

Kansas, Winter by Caroline Norton

Kansas, Winter by Caroline Norton

Kansas, Sunrise by Caroline Norton

Kansas, Sunrise by Caroline Norton

Two Cowboys on Horseback by Bettina Steinke

Two Cowboys on Horseback by Bettina Steinke

The Little Ranch Hand by Boardman Robinson

The Little Ranch Hand by Boardman Robinson