In Tracing A Legacy, the Russo Lee Gallery reexamines the work of Louis Bunce, who was a pillar of the art community in Portland through much of the mid 20th century. Starting as a printmaker and painter in the 1930’s, exploring Surrealism and Cubist conventions, Bunce became a Northwest legend, influencing generations of artists through his teaching at the Museum Art School (now known at the Pacific Northwest College of Art). With drawings and paintings spanning decades, this exhibition is a compliment to the concurrent retrospective of Louis Bunce at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.
One of the Northwest's most well-known artists, Louis Bunce studied at the Arts Student League in New York during the 1920's where he was influenced by the major pictorial styles of the 20th century. He began exhibiting in 1937 on both the east and west coasts and was honored in 1979 with a retrospective at the Portland Art Museum. In the 1950’s, he completed a major mural for the Portland International Airport, which is still installed today. As a teacher at the Pacific Northwest College of Art from 1946-1972 Bunce had a strong effect on the region’s painting and many of the young artists who came out of the school. His work is in numerous collections including the National Gallery in Washington D.C., the Whitney Museum and the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Philadelphia Museum, the Newark Museum in New Jersey, the Victoria Museum in B.C., the Seattle Art Museum, and the Portland Art Museum in Oregon.