Survey exhibition showcases works by the late painter, curator, and professor Sandra Jorgensen
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Survey exhibition showcases works by the late painter, curator, and professor Sandra Jorgensen
Sandra Jorgensen, Herb's Texaco, 1978, pastel on paper, 31 x 38 ¼ in. Elmhurst Art Museum Collection.

ELMHURST, ILL.- Elmhurst Art Museum is presenting Sandra Jorgensen, a broad survey exhibition showcasing the works of the late artist-curator who was the driving force behind the internationally known Elmhurst College Chicago Imagist collection and helped found the Elmhurst Art Museum. Her works, however, have often been overlooked. The exhibition, on view January 25 – April 12, 2020, is dedicated to Jorgensen’s artistic accomplishments—as a painter, photographer, and her role as a major caretaker of Chicago’s cultural history.

Jorgensen (1934 - 1999) held positions as professor and chair at Elmhurst College, and curator of the Elmhurst College Art Collection, for many years. An accomplished painter, she worked in oil and specialized in contemporary American landscapes and still life compositions. In addition to her paintings, the exhibition includes a series of never-before-printed photos taken by Jorgensen of the Chicago Imagists in their homes and studios.

During her lifetime, Jorgensen’s work was displayed at the Art Institute of Chicago, Richard Gray Gallery and Hokin Kaufman Gallery. In 1985, a mural created by Jorgensen was commissioned by the City of Chicago for the Sulzer Regional Library and dedicated to former Mayor of Chicago, Harold Washington. The mural—which illustrates ethnically diverse children in formal, geometrically shaped gardens—has been recreated for this exhibition.

“Sandra’s connoisseurship and vision were critical to the College’s art collection, as well as the formation of the Elmhurst Art Museum,” said John McKinnon, Executive Director of Elmhurst Art Museum. “We are proud to pay tribute to this beloved artist, friend and mentor to many, and place her work amongst the larger stories of Chicago and Midwestern artists.”

Jorgensen served on the board of the Elmhurst Fine Arts and Civic Center Foundation; the entity that helped start the Elmhurst Art Museum. As curator, Jorgensen was the driving force behind maintaining and growing the Elmhurst College art collection. In doing so, she became a major caretaker of Chicago’s cultural history, and amassed an internationally known collection now considered to be “the finest of its kind” by the late James Yood, former art critic and teacher at School of the Art Institute.

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