Bernard Arnest was a pupil of Boardman Robinson and Henry Varnum Poor, received the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1940, and had his first solo show at the San Francisco Museum of Art. During WWII, he served as Chief War Artist for the U.S. Army Historical section in the European theater. Following the war, he worked in New York City exhibiting at the Whitney Annual of American Painting, the Pittsburgh International, Corcoran Biennial then and subsequently, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. In 1947, he became chief instructor at the Minneapolis School of Art and prior to coming to Colorado Springs in 1957, he was Associate Professor of Art at the University of Minnesota. After his arrival in Colorado, Arnest served as both the head of the FAC Art School (which became the Colorado College Art Department) and Professor of Art at Colorado College. The most ambitious project of his career, Scenes from Life, is a series of 51 large drawings that encapsulated his reactions to a world that he has decided was essentially tragic. The subject matter can be challenging, depicting human strife and conflict, but the images are beautifully rendered. Scenes from Life is Bernard Arnest’s “Goldberg Variations,” distilling a lifetime of experience into a few harrowing images that are regrettably as relevant today as they were in 1975. This series, presented in its entirety, is a 2017 gift from the widow and children of the artist. *Scenes from Life is artist Bernard Arnest’s critical response to a world in conflict. Still relevant and timely, this series asks us to open our eyes to challenging topics such as violence, injustice, and suffering.
Image above: Bernard Arnest, Untitled, 2017 (detail)
Presented as part of Pollinate: Biennial Arts Collaboration, exploring the theme of TIME across southern Colorado, April 1-8, 2019. More