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Retrospective exhibition of works by Rose O'Neill opens at Springfield Art Museum
The Bachelor, c. 1896-1901, Ink, watercolor, and gouache on paper. Collection of the Springfield Art Museum. © Rose O’Neill Foundation.


SPRINGFIELD, MO.- Frolic of the Mind: The Illustrious Life of Rose O’Neill, organized by the Springfield Art Museum and curated by Sarah Buhr, Curator of Art opened Friday, April 13 and will run through August 5.

This exhibit takes as its underlying theme the unification of all O'Neill's creative pursuits and examines how they were related, from her hundreds of illustrations for the major periodicals of the day, to her many illustrated advertisements, from her creation of the Kewpie doll, to her more secretive "Sweet Monster" drawings. Buhr notes, “Each of these pursuits are rooted in the singular mind of Rose O'Neill - a woman who created a life on her own terms with sheer will, determination, and creative talent. The ability to pursue all of her interests, in spite of the strict social rules placed upon women at the turn of the century, is perhaps the most fascinating story of them all.”

This exhibition traces O'Neill's work in all media and features 150 works from a number of public and private collections including the Springfield Art Museum, the Huntington Library and Art Museum, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Bonniebrook Home and Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, among others. The exhibit includes illustrations, rarely seen paintings, drawings, archival documents, personal effects, and smaller sculpture.

An illustrated catalogue brings new research to the topic, featuring several guest essays. In conjunction with the exhibition the Museum is hosting a revival of Marcia Haseltine’s one-woman show, Saving Rose O’Neill. This two-act play written by and starring Haseltine, under the direction of Robert Bradley, is produced by the Springfield Contemporary Theatre. A performance will be held April 15 at 2 PM in the Museum’s auditorium. Performances are free and open to the public, no tickets are required.





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