Poindexter Collection to travel nationwide
February 01, 2010
The Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings has assembled a touring exhibit of American abstract art from the Poindexter Collection, a series of paintings left to the state of Montana by collectors George and Elinor Poindexter. The title of the exhibit, “The Most Difficult Journey,” is derived from an essay Montana native George Poindexter wrote in the late 1950s, describing his transformation from skeptic to passionate collector of abstract painting.
Born near Dillon on one of the oldest cattle ranches in Montana, Poindexter went to work as a commodity broker in New York in the 1920s. Though initially baffled by the turns American art was taking after World War II, with its “weird shapes and messy colors,” he ultimately developed an appreciation for the ability of such painters as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. In 1960, the Poindexters began donating pieces from their growing collection to Montana; many of the paintings went to the Montana Historical Society Museum in Helena, while others are housed at the Yellowstone Art Museum.
“This is a region where we are continually surprised to see these works,” notes Yellowstone Art Museum curator Ben Mitchell, who showed the exhibit in Billings through the end of June and orchestrated its touring schedule through 2007. The exhibit, which includes works by de Kooning, Robert De Niro Sr. (father of the actor), and Richard Diebenkorn, will visit museums in places as diverse as Corpus Christi, Texas, and Malibu, California.