Louise Wilkinson Collection

Wilkson Art Sale – October 24 to 27

For many longtime Danville residents, the name Louise Wilkinson immediately conjures images of gorgeous country landscapes and scenes of farm life. Born in 1898 in Harrodsburg, Ms. Wilkinson was a lifelong resident of the area, spending the majority of her life in Danville. She was a prolific and respected painter, working from a cozy home studio on 3rd Street.

In 2010, the Community Arts Center received a large collection of Ms. Wilkinson’s paintings via an estate gift made by her daughter, Marian Settlemayer. “We were honored that the family entrusted her artwork to us,” says Arts Center Creative Director Brandon Long. “Her work plays an important role in Danville’s arts history.” Unfortunately, the artwork was too badly deteriorated to be displayed publicly and the collection was placed in storage.

Now, the Board of Directors of the Arts Center has made the decision to sell a portion of the Wilkinson collection. “We don’t have space to display a large permanent collection,” says Executive Director Niki Kinkade. “We want to make Ms. Wilkinson’s artwork available to the public so it can be enjoyed and appreciated, rather than keeping it in storage forever.”

The Arts Center will restore and retain several pieces from the collection and sell others via a silent auction from October 24 to 27. “I’m glad to think that the paintings might find a good home,” says Wilkinson’s grandson, Dennis Carpenter, of Lexington. “[The sale] is good for the pieces and good for the Arts Center.” Additional pieces may be made available at a future time, pending conservation decisions.

Art conservator and Danville historian Mary Girard has assessed the entire collection.  She says, “Many of these works have ‘the patina of age.’ Some have had harder lives than others but with conservation treatment can be returned to their original beauty.” Because the estimated cost to restore the entire collection was over $10,000, the Arts Center will sell the artwork in its current condition, accompanied by information about what treatment is needed to restore the pieces.

Ms. Wilkinson graduated from Centre College and studied at the Chicago Art Academy. She worked for many years at an antique store, performing restoration work and other design projects, before leaving to become a full-time artist in the early 1950s. Wilkinson was accepted as a member of the exclusive Brown County art colony in Indiana and directed much of her creative energy toward producing paintings for sale through their galleries. She was also an active participant in Danville’s Wilderness Trace Art League.

Dubbed “Danville’s first lady of painting” by former Centre College art professor Jack Kellam, Wilkinson’s favorite subjects were country scenes, horses, and chickens. Her paintings of animals are noted for their exactness and anatomical precision. She invested careful attention in capturing the details of her subjects and landscapes with careful use of light and shading. Ms. Wilkinson passed away on September 15, 1984, leaving behind a rich legacy of art.

The sale of Ms. Wilkinson’s artwork will take place via silent auction from October 24 to 27. Bids will be accepted both online (via Facebook – click here!) and in person. Online bidding will close at noon on October 27th, with a closing reception and final in-person bidding from 6:00pm to 7:00pm that evening.