Renowned South Bend artist honored with new exhibit
SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- The family of a local artist has designated a new exhibit to share his award-winning artwork and honor his memory. Edward Basker's watercolor paintings can now be found at the Saint Joseph County Public Library in downtown South Bend. Saturday evening was the grand opening and many of his family members were the first to appreciate the collection of his art pieces. Edward basker had a major influence on the art community in South Bend decades ago, teaching watercolor at Notre Dame and even his own art school. Now, his influence can be seen in the new exhibit dedicated to showcasing his art pieces.
“It’s kind of unique that people get to see the artwork that’s based here, and that was gathered from his extensive travels and all made their way here," says Basker's great-nephew and exhibit developer, Jared Basker.
Basker has paintings that have been purchased, owned, and collected across the country.
“He had at least ten thousand outstanding pieces before he passed away, and all you see in this room here is fifty, so that’s a testimony to the length and magnitude of the pieces that he did and how they spread across the country ever since," says Andrew Hatfield, great-grandson of Basker.
Basker's passion for arts started when he was young, winning his first blue ribbon award at the age of six and working odd jobs as a kid to get art materials.
“He would sweep the butcher floor at the meat market here in South Bend to get the packing paper as a kid, and he would get to draw on that, that would be his payment," says Jared.
The exhibit also allows Basker's family to appreciate his art in a new way. The paintings that once hung on the walls of their homes are now on display for the community to enjoy.
“For Edward’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren and even a great-great-grandchild to be able to come to this event and for everybody to just kind of be together for this, that’s definitely one of the highlights of this whole event," Jared says.
“It’s very emotional," says Susan Housen, Basker's granddaughter. "He passed away when I was thirteen and of course, he had paintings when we stayed at his house; he was in the process of drawing, which I wonder if one of these might have been laying out one of the nights I spent the night.”
Now, the number of artists that Basker has inspired in his lifetime can continue with those that come visit his artwork.
“I can only imagine how many artists have taken on their own awesome little tools and styles because of what they learned from my grandfather," Hatfield says.
The exhibit will be open to the public on the second floor of the library form now until June 24th. For more information on the exhibit, check out the library's article on it.