RAM Logo
Racine, WI     May 14, 2012

RAM Hosts Beth Van Hoesen:
The Observant Eye

Only Venue to Showcase Artist Preparatory Materials


The Racine Art Museum is pleased to present Beth Van Hoesen: The Observant Eye featuring drawings, paintings, intaglio prints, and lithographs by this nationally known artist. Open May 20 through September 9, this traveling exhibition chronicles decades of her realistic images of animals, floral studies, figure drawings, and human portraits. Unique to RAM, this show combines pieces on loan with recent gifts to the museum that support the development of an archive of Van Hoesen prints, color proofs, preparatory studies, and copper plate.  


Beth Van Hoesen, Pike, 1988
Etching, aquatint, and watercolor, Artist's Proof, 3/5
Courtesy of the E. Mark Adams and Beth Van Hoesen Adams Trust
Photography: Jon Bolton, Racine, WI 

While not the only subject included in this exhibition, Van Hoesen's animal prints are particularly engaging and form a significant portion of the artist's body of work. Often isolating a single animal on a solid background, she offers an image that conveys depth and intensity. As RAM Executive Director and Curator of Collections, Bruce W. Pepich describes: "These are not scientific studies as much as they are portraits...She does not create anthropomorphic renditions in which she projects personal traits onto these figures. Instead, through hours of careful and clear observations of cats, dogs, birds, and a host of other beasts large and small, she manages to locate the essence of each that communicates a sense of the animal's individuality."


The exhibition contains 147 works by the artist of which 74 are works the E. Mark Adams and Beth Van Hoesen Adams Trust has recently presented to the Racine Art Museum. With the help of the Trust, as well as Anne Kohs and Associates, the museum acquired 58 color proofs, preparatory studies, and copper plates among the pieces. Not only does this gift strengthen RAM's holdings of works on paper, it affords the opportunity for a unique, in-depth look at an artist's process. The show offers numerous examples of Van Hoesen's work where the life of a print from start-to-finish may be traced through multiple stages and various media. RAM is the only venue on the exhibition's tour that will showcase these study materials.


Accompanying The Observant Eye is a 64-page exhibition catalogue with essays by Joseph Goldyne and Bob Hicks. Published by Fresno Art Museum, this softbound catalogue is available from the RAM Museum Store for $20. Also available at the Store, Beth Van Hoesen: Catalogue Raisonné of Limited-Edition Prints, Books, and Portfolios is a 592-page hardcover book by Bob Hicks, Lori Fogarty, Bruce W. Pepich, and, Joseph Goldyne for $95. Copies may be reserved by calling the Museum Store at 262.638.8200.


Museum Menagerie at RAM

This summer, the Racine Art Museum features an exciting array of exhibitions and programming that highlights animals and their relationship with humans. Museum Menagerie at RAM highlights a collection of animals by contemporary artists safely held captive for all to view. RAM hosts Animal Nature, an exhibition that addresses the complex relationship between humans and animals with work that is witty, insightful, and poignant. Whether using jewelry, cut paper, blown glass, or other materials, these contemporary artists create engaging works that reflect on both animal and human nature.


Animal Magnetism: Sculpture from RAM's Collection presents works from RAM's significant permanent holdings that feature animals as subject matter. Handle with Care: Recent Acquisitions in Glass, in RAM's smaller Ruffo and Schumann Galleries, highlights works made of glass that were recently gifted to the museum. This exhibition not only celebrates the arrival of significant glass works to RAM's collection, the show is also linked to a nationwide anniversary of studio glass in America.


These exhibitions are made possible at Racine Art Museum by: Presenting Sponsors -Karen Johnson Boyd and William B. Boyd, RAM Society Members, Jay Price Ruffo, S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., Windgate Charitable Foundation; Gold Sponsors - Helen Bader Foundation, Inc., National Endowment for the Arts, Racine United Arts Fund; Silver Sponsors - Elwood Corporation, Osborne and Scekic Family Foundation, W.T. Walker Group, Inc., Wisconsin Arts Board, Bronze Sponsors - Clifton Gunderson LLP, CNH America LLC, E.C. Styberg Foundation, Inc., Educators Credit Union, In Sink Erator, The Marjorie L. Christiansen Foundation, The Norbell Foundation, Real Racine, and Runzheimer Foundation. 


Together, the two campuses of the Racine Art Museum, RAM in downtown Racine at 441 Main Street and the Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts at 2519 Northwestern Avenue, seek to elevate the stature of contemporary crafts to that of fine art by exhibiting significant works in craft media with painting, sculpture and photography, while providing outstanding educational art programming.

Docent led contemporary craft and architectural tours of the museums are available. Both campuses of the Racine Art Museum, are open to the public Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, and are closed Mondays, Federal holidays and Easter. RAM is open Sunday Noon - 5:00 pm, while Wustum is closed Sundays. An admission fee of $5 for adults, with reduced fees for students and seniors, applies at RAM. Admission to Wustum is free. Members are always admitted without charge to either campus.

Quick Links

For more information or to request images, please contact:

Laura Gillespie
RAM Marketing Assistant
262.638.8300 x 114