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Bradbury Gallery presents selections from the Claude M. Erwin Jr. collection

Feb. 27, 2008 -
- “Selections: From the Claude M. Erwin Jr. Collection” will open to the public with a reception at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 6 at Arkansas State University’sThis image, from the Poesies Antillaises series by Henri Matisse, is one of the selections from the Claude M. Erwin Jr. collection which will be exhibited publicly for the first time Thursday, March 6, at Arkansas State University’s Bradbury Gallery. Bradbury Gallery, located in Fowler Center, 201 Olympic Drive, Jonesboro. The exhibition includes several works of art originally in the collection of Claude M. Erwin Jr. Thirty-one of these featured works by several internationally known artists were generously donated to the ASU Permanent Collection of Art and will be exhibited publicly for the first time.

Erwin has also been a longtime patron of ASU’s Delta National Small Prints Exhibition.  The seven prints he helped to fund as part of that collection and 22 additional pieces, which were selected from his private collection, will also be included in this exhibition.

“Selections” consists exclusively of works on paper by several of the best-known artists of the twentieth century. Artists included in “Selections” are Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse, Georges Rouault, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cezanne, Edouard Manet, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Marc Chagall, and Raoul Dufy.

Erwin, originally from Newport, graduated from ASU with a degree in economics. He retired at an early age as director of telecommunications for the state of Arkansas in Little Rock and then moved to Dallas, Texas, where he lives today.

Erwin began his habit of collecting humbly. He started at a very early age with postcards, by asking anyone traveling to send him one. Later, his father encouraged him to collect stamps and coins, which evolved into collecting match covers, ultimately leading to his passion for acquiring works of fine art.

His serious interest in collecting art began in 1963 while visiting an antique shop in Batesville.  While “just looking around for something unique,” Erwin came upon a set of original prints from the 1790s by Italian engraver Francesco Bartolozzi. Up to that time, he had been buying reproductions of famous works of art and having them framed. These original prints marked a turning point; he decided it was more logical to concentrate on buying original works of art rather than reproductions. His passion for collecting art had had begun.

Salvador Dali's "Mercury" is a color etching, depicting the winged messenger and psychopomp of the Olympian gods.rwin bases his decision to purchase a work on his aesthetic sensibility. If he likes it, he buys it, regardless of whether it is by a well-known artist or not. His collection consists of antique and modern works and includes numerous types of prints, paintings, and drawings.

His willingness to part with these works of art, which were literally taken from the walls of his home, makes evident his desire to share his love of the visual arts with others. He gave this collection, in part, to help inspire or expand a new generation’s appreciation for the arts.

“Selections: From the Claude M. Erwin Jr. Collection” runs from Thursday, March 6-Friday, April 18. The Bradbury Gallery recognizes spring break at ASU and will be closed from Saturday, March 15-Sunday, March 23. Bradbury Gallery hours are 12 noon-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 2-5 p.m. Sunday. The gallery is closed on Monday. The exhibition and the reception are free and open to the public.
For additional information, please contact Les Christensen, director of the Bradbury Gallery, at, or call the Bradbury Gallery at (870) 972-2567.



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