Artifact of the Month:

Donor: Arthur Saar

Accession #: 2003-0173-001

History:  Framed print “By The Country Store” by Minnesota wildlife artist Les C. Kouba. He painted himself in three stages of his life: a man sitting in front of the store carving; a boy sitting on a box watching a man painting a Coca-Cola sign on the side of the store.  Thirteen geese are flying over the store.  A vintage automobile is parked by a gas pump and a Coca-Cola truck is parked on the left side of the store. A sign for Clabber Girl is in the store window and a greyhound sign above the door indicates it is a bus depot. A bicycle and water pump are behind the boy and two ladders extend to the roof and provide scaffolding for the painter. A rural mailbox sits in a milk can across the road and a house and farm are in the distance. 1667/5000.  Wood frame; glass.  Kouba: “This intensely personal painting is an accurate and romantic dual-portrait of the way it was when I was a young man in 1939 working my way around the country painting Coca-Cola signs and trucks, and the way it is now some 50 years later as I sit on a bench in front of the same country store in quiet contemplation pursuing my hobby of carving duck decoys. Like many wildlife artists in my generation, I started basic training wherever I could, and in this case it was sign painting. It was a way of paying my dues while always keeping in mind the final goal of graduating into fine art as a painter of wildlife.


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