Wilbur Niewald · In the Landscape


"In 1970, I stood at my studio window and thought 'why am I not looking out and painting what I see?' It was one of the most liberating experiences I’ve ever had.”
- Wilbur Niewald

At 93 years of age, Wilbur Niewald is one of the most beloved and legendary artists working in Kansas City. His professional and artistic careers have spanned more than seven decades and garnered him innumerable accolades, exhibitions and awards. Yet on any given day he may be found painting at one of his favorite sites about town. Braving the elements, Niewald continues to enthusiastically paint the city he loves.

For the exhibition In the Landscape, the Nerman Museum invited Niewald to create new works over the course of a year (2017/2018). The resulting 12 watercolors were painted en plain air and encapsulate many of his favorite motifs and views. They exemplify his passionate belief in responding directly to the world around him.

This is the second exhibition (following previous Wendell Castle exhibits) celebrating an iconic Kansas artist which the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art has organized collaboratively with The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. For In the Landscape, the Nerman MoCA focuses upon Niewald’s most current work, while the Nelson-Atkins exhibit featured earlier paintings.

Born in 1925 in Kansas City, Missouri, Niewald graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1949 with a BFA and in 1953 with an MFA. He is professor emeritus of painting at KCAI, where he studied, taught, and for twenty-eight years, served as chair of the painting and printmaking department. He is currently living in Mission, Kansas.

Represented by Haw Contemporary Gallery in Kansas City, Niewald has work in the collection of numerous museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art.

 - The exhibition essay was written by Jan Schall, art historian. 

December 6, 2018 
Details for Master Class with Wilbur Niewald