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  • Frank Govan
  • Untitled Landscape
  • 1945-50
  • Oil on canvas
  • 24 x 32 inches
  • Private Collection

Frank Govan – a native of Marianna, Arkansas – earned a B.A. in Humanities from Hendrix College. After completing graduate work at the University of Wisconsin and the Layton School of Art, Govan earned an M.A. in Fine and Industrial Art from Columbia University in 1951. He also studied in Mexico and received two Carnegie Foundation research grants.

Govan returned to Hendrix College as an Art professor in 1946. He encouraged students to experience art with their souls and their eyes, suggesting that to understand a work, you must both view it and experience it emotionally. By the time he left Hendrix in 1952, he had introduced students of all disciplines to a new mode of examining and creating art.

In his own artistic career, Govan worked as a painter, museum curator, arts educator, and textile designer. His paintings, including Arkansas Landscape, began as a realistic drawing and were then transformed into a series of studies, which gradually became more abstract. Govan could never anticipate how the final painting would appear once he omitted non-essential lines, shapes, and textures.

Expressionistic brushstrokes and a sense of visual rhythm characterize Govan’s work. He imbued landscapes with energy and motion, allowing them to pulsate with life, even in two-dimensional space. By the time Govan passed away in 2000, he had established an impressive collection of work and exhibited work across the state of Arkansas.