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SHERIDAN — Fra Dana is the subject of “Fra Dana: American Impressionist in the Rockies” which presents Dana’s work alongside artists she collected and regarded as her teachers and mentors such as Alfred Maurer, William Merritt Chase and Joseph Henry Sharp.
The Brinton Museum in Big Horn has announced a major exhibition featuring Wyoming’s as well as Montana’s most enigmatic artist of the early 20th century, Fra Dana.
The exhibition accompanies the first-ever full biography of Dana, authored by Sue Hart, professor of English, Montana State University – Billings and Dr. Valerie Hedquist, associate professor of art history and criticism, the University of Montana in Missoula and edited by Caroline Patterson
Dana (1874-1948) and her husband, Edwin L. Dana, lived and ranched in the Parkman area before moving their cattle operation to the area of Great Falls, Mont., in 1937. She was one of the leading artists of the Rocky Mountain Northwest at the turn of the 20th Century.
This exhibition is traveling to The Brinton Museum courtesy of the Montana Museum of Art & Culture at The University of Montana. The works are currently on display until June 23 which marks the first known public exhibition of this remarkable artist’s work within the state she called home for over forty years.
Born in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 26, 1874, Dana studied art at the Cincinnati Art Academy, the Art Institute of Chicago and New York School of Art. In 1893, Dana moved with her family to Parkman and met her future husband.
The two married in 1896 and worked together to develop what was by 1918 America’s largest purebred Hereford operation in Montana and Wyoming.
Her desire to study and create art was often in conflict with her obligation as a ranch wife.
However, while living in Parkman she traveled extensively with her husband to the East Coast, Paris and Egypt, painted with Joseph Henry Sharp and befriended Bill Gollings, becoming a mentor and nurturing his career.
Dana’s bequest to the Montana Museum of Art & Culture’s Permanent Collection in 1948 included her own artworks as well as those by some of history’s most accomplished artists.
The Dana Collection is central to the richness of the MMAC Permanent Collection and integral to the development of American art. The Brinton Museum is indebted to the MMAC for their cooperation and willingness to facilitate the loan, so Dana’s works can be appreciated in her home state. A very special thank you goes to The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of Wyoming, who were instrumental in bringing the works of a founding member of their ranks back to Wyoming for their 100th anniversary.
Museum hours are Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.