Visual Arts » 2D

My Art Collection: Stan Hurt

by

comment

About the series: 'My Art Collection' is an occasional Sky Blue Window feature that explores works on the walls and shelves of art enthusiasts across the metropolitan area.

His work: Stan Hurt is the retired chairman and owner of Indiana Supply Corporation. An arts advocate, he is on the Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Capital Campaign Committee and Collections Committee at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. His wife, Sandy, is chairman of the Collections Committee at the Eiteljorg.

His play: Hurt also is a Civil War historian, collector and re-enactor. He and his wife enjoy spending time at dude ranches. "We actually spent our honeymoon at a dude ranch," he says.

Collection Cliffs Notes: The Hurts' Western and American Indian art collection includes original works of art, authentic artifacts and a mix of traditional and contemporary styles.  

Decade he began collecting: 1970s.

Something he'll never have in his collection: "We have pretty much collected all of the aspects of Western and Native American art, so there's probably nothing that we would not collect if it is done well," says Hurt.

Stan Hurt and his wife, Sandy, remain longtime collectors of American Indian art, though now they try to limit their acquisitions. - PERRY REICHANADTER
  • Perry Reichanadter
  • Stan Hurt and his wife, Sandy, remain longtime collectors of American Indian art, though now they try to limit their acquisitions.

From the moment you walk into Stan and Sandy Hurt's prairie-style home, you're immediately enveloped in the depth of the couple's love for Western and American Indian art.

But it isn't until you cross the threshold and walk through the foyer into the expansive living room that you realize just how serious they are about their collection.

Large-scale paintings of the Grand Canyon, other Western landscapes and portraits of American Indians add pops of color to almost every inch of the home's neutral walls. There are images of pottery so rich in detail they give the illusion that you can actually feel the grooves of the designs or dip your fingers into water painted into the foreground. Bronze and marble sculptures, traditional artifacts and authentic clay pots seem to greet you at every turn.

And that's just upstairs. The basement displays a vast mix of whimsical and traditional Western works of art -- from a ceremonial Indian wedding veil to native wooden toys, a display of Indian bags and purses, and even a tomahawk and peace pipe.

"It's an addiction," says Stan Hurt, about the collection.

"Tombstone Reckoning" by Bill Nebeker is one of the bronze sculptures amid the Hurts' extensive collection of Western art. - PERRY REICHANADTER
  • Perry Reichanadter
  • "Tombstone Reckoning" by Bill Nebeker is one of the bronze sculptures amid the Hurts' extensive collection of Western art.

For more than 30 years, the Hurts have purchased works from some of the top Western artists in the country, including Robert Griffing and Kenneth Riley. The museum-quality pieces have provided the couple much joy over the years. But both say that it might be time to curb their appetite for collecting.

"We're buying smaller things now and slowing down. We're reversing actually, and trying to give some away. But this guy ...," says Sandy Hurt, pausing just long enough to point her finger at her husband for effect, before heading out for an appointment.

"... We both have no will power," he acquiesces, while finishing his wife's sentence.

"So, we don't put ourselves in harms way, if you will, except for the Quest for the West," adds Sandy Hurt, referring to the annual art show and sale that features 50 of the most celebrated Western artists in the country.

Quest has raised millions of dollars for the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, where the Hurts have served on various boards and committees since the early 1990s.

"Harms way" for the Hurts, Sandy jokes, are yearly art-buying trips they used to take to New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming and other places out West hosted by the Eiteljorg. On these trips, art lovers get the opportunity to go inside museums, studios and galleries, and meet the artists behind the works of art.

"While in their studios, artists talk about their work and point out things that they use in their techniques, things that you didn't know," says Stan Hurt. "They may also point out things in the art that you didn't see."

Another of the works by Bill Nebeker is this sculpture titled "Dance of Valor."  - PERRY REICHANADTER
  • Perry Reichanadter
  • Another of the works by Bill Nebeker is this sculpture titled "Dance of Valor."

The Hurts have been on 15-20 of these trips. "They really stimulate your interest in Western art, and slowly help you learn what good art is," says Stan Hurt, adding that they do most of their collecting now at Quest for the West.

However, it's the knowledge obtained on those trips out West that he could have used when purchasing his first piece of Western art in 1975.

"I looked at lots of things, because I was being very particular for my first art purchase," says Hurt, retired chairman and owner of Indiana Supply Corporation.

What he bought was a print of a Grand Canyon landscape by painter Merrill Mahaffey. "It was a $100 print (not an original), and that was a big deal," he says.

Today, the Hurts own about five original works by Mahaffey, including an original, large pastel-colored painting of the Grand Canyon near the living room's entrance.

As Stan walks through his home, he periodically stops to talk about some of the works, recalling bits of information about the artists, the techniques and the subjects. He passes the original Mahaffey and five bronze sculptures displayed on a console table, and pauses at a weaving by Michelle Laughing.

"She is tremendous, so we have a number of her pieces," he says. "They're just beautiful."

"Trophies of Honor" is one of two bronze busts by Dave McGary in the Hurts' collection. - PERRY REICHANADTER
  • Perry Reichanadter
  • "Trophies of Honor" is one of two bronze busts by Dave McGary in the Hurts' collection.

At a shelf with clay pottery in various styles, shapes and colors, he marvels at the coil technique artists use today to make the pottery and questions how they can be produced in so many different colors. When he reaches the end of the shelf, Hurt comes to complete stop.

Enclosed in a case is an authentic beaded child's vest, circa 1800s, adored with leather trim, a fringed bottom and glass beads covering the front.

"The Indians spoiled their children. They really did a lot of very nice things," says Hurt, pointing out the two American flags near the vest's shoulders. "Would we do something like that for a kid? I mean that's a lot of hours. On the other hand, what were they doing sitting in a teepee all winter?"

Hurt's humor lingered while passing a four-headed marble sculpture by Larry Yazzie. Originally Hurt thought it represented the four seasons and their importance to the American Indians. That theory was quickly debunked.

"The artist said, 'No, this is not the four seasons. This is my grandfather and his three wives,'" says Hurt, who credits his love of Western art to his mom Sarah Hurt, a well-known Indiana artist who painted Arizona landscapes and had a fascination with Georgia O'Keeffe.

The clay Koshare figurines in their collection depict clowns. - PERRY REICHANADTER
  • Perry Reichanadter
  • The clay Koshare figurines in their collection depict clowns.

After a quick stop in the master bedroom -- where a series of floral paintings by Ed Mell decorate the walls ("I think they're beautiful," says Hurt, "and shows that there's more to Western art than cowboys and Indians") -- Hurt heads down a flight of stairs to the basement.

On full display on a back wall are two larger-than-life contemporary Western paintings by David DeVary. The scale of the paintings, along with their bright metallic color scheme immediately draws you in. But it's the image on the right of a woman dressed in a long black trench coat, black cowboy hat and partially unbuttoned shirt that usually attracts the most attention -- especially from male visitors during parties at the Hurt's home.

Near the paintings on a glass table are various styles of wooden Kachina (Katsina) dolls, used "sort of like fairytales to teach children morals and ethics," says Hurt. One of his favorites is a clown doll known as a koshari. Adorned in stripes, the koshari is known for providing amusement at ceremonies by humorously mimicking improper behavior, often to impart a lesson. "These guys are the policemen and the jokesters."

Across the room from the display of dolls are a couple of prized stagecoaches by California artist Dale Ford. "I've got about five of these different stagecoaches," says Hurt. "The detail is fantastic. It's amazing what he does."

With art in what seems like every room in the house, a tour of the collection could go on for hours.

Hurt says he isn't sure how many works he and his wife have collected over the years, but what he is sure of is how they make him feel.

"Instead of having bare walls, you want to look at something (beautiful). I mean, look at these," he says as he sweeps his hands around the room. "You just enjoy them constantly. It's a reminder of history, and we love to show and talk about the collection."

Hauntingly realistic and brilliantly hued, "He Speaks of the Old West" by Robert Giffing is one of many such works in the Hurts' collection of American Indian and Western art. - PERRY REICHANADTER
  • Perry Reichanadter
  • Hauntingly realistic and brilliantly hued, "He Speaks of the Old West" by Robert Giffing is one of many such works in the Hurts' collection of American Indian and Western art.

Add a comment