Neil Cockerline, former Director of Field Services and Conservator for the Upper Midwest Conservation Association in Minneapolis, MN, wrote to the Ellsworth Foundation: “I have had the opportunity to review a listing of the collection. . .the overall collection is eclectic and of high quality. In an art historical context, the collection has both national and international significance and value. This simply cannot be overstated. Several of the works would be welcome additions to any art museum that exists in the world today. The potential for recognition of this collection is limitless. You have the opportunity to develop a new museum in the historic Carnegie-Ellsworth building that can become a source of community pride and praise. ” Cockerline visited Iowa Falls in October of 2000 and subsequently encouraged development of plans for the collection.
Among the more than 300 pieces of art, many American artists are represented. New York City artist and conservator Robert Miles Parker, Betty Guy of San Francisco, Ed and Marie Wordell of San Diego, and Virginia Daley of Washington, DC, all have several works in the collection. A signed lithograph by Man Ray, a personal friend of Pat Clark ’s while the famous surrealist painter/ photographer lived in Paris, is of special interest.
Internationally, the works of Japanese artist Kojiro Akagi and Danish artist Leif Peterson are important in the collection. The oldest piece is an oil by C. A. Schleisner of Denmark from the 1800s. British artist Anne Grant- Morris actually painted landscapes of the Iowa River near Iowa Falls in 1965 while visiting friends, and her depiction of a river walkway is in the collection. The works of many French artists are part of the collection, including the work of P. Pohl Zanaroff. A sculpture of African martyr Anuarite, a nun in Zaire who was killed by rebel fighters in the early 1960s, is one of many pieces of art in the collection by African artists.
Artwork already in Iowa Falls reflects the international emphasis of the collection. The oil painting of “Mother and Child ” by Amandos Akanaev of Kazakhstan combines traditional and personal styles, and the painting is inlaid with metal and fabric to create an unusual effect. The largest painting in the collection, to date, is “Pedang Jagung ” (translated as -Balinese family cooking corn) , by Indonesian artist Hendro. The painting ’s portrayal of corn reminded Pat Clark of her home state when she spotted it in Indonesia.
The collection has been described as “eclectic ” and “unique ” mainly because it includes art from so many cultures, by such diverse artists, and was collected by one person who knows the stories behind each work of art. Because the “stories ” may make the artwork even more compelling to visitors, Neil Cockerline wrote: “Obtaining her personal account of how she developed the collection, stories relating to the acquisition of individual artworks, her personal accounts of why works were selected and personal anecdotes relating to specific artworks is critical information that should be recorded and preserved along with the actual artworks. ”
The staff of the Ellsworth College Development and Alumni Affairs office on campus keeps a complete list of all the art in the collection. Descriptions and anecdotes about when, where and why each piece was purchased are in the process of being transcribed from tapes made by Pat Clark and will be used to develop a catalog and other public information about the collection. She has also commissioned a documentary to be made by Ian Hardy working with a crew of French cinematographers, so that visitors to the Carnegie-Ellsworth building will also be able to see where the collection hung in Paris for many years before its long journey to Iowa Falls. The 20- minute film will also provide background information on many of the artists and works of art.