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War Requiem

  • Greg Thompson '90
  • War Requiem
  • 1990
  • Acrylic on canvas
  • 48 x 96 inches
  • Courtesy of the artist

Greg Thompson knew from a young age that he wanted to study art. He grew up taking kids courses at the Arkansas Arts Center (AAC) and was on first name basis with the AAC’s Executive Director by the time he left elementary school.

As a Hendrix student, Thompson continued to practice art, working closely with Professor Don Marr. He fondly remembers Marr’s Arts survey and Italian Renaissance courses, during which students gathered in Staples to view slides on the large screen.

Thompson loved how the college’s small campus size facilitated close, familial relationships between students and faculty within the Art Department. Thompson also claims that his Hendrix courses, both within and outside the visual arts, taught him how to critically examine the world.

Thompson created War Requiem during his senior year, in one of Marr’s Studio Art courses. He began by constructing a model of the composition from cut steel, so he could focus a central light source on it. He then created a drawing from the model, carefully rendering any highlights and shadows provided by the lighting. He then executed the final painting, using the drawing as a guide. This multi-step technique was widely practiced by artist Thomas Hart Benton, who learned the approach from Italian Renaissance artists like Tintoretto.

War Requiem reflects on the aftermath of war, the peacefulness after conflict ceases. Thompson drew inspiration from Benjamin Britten’s symphony of the same name, which Thompson first heard in a Master Works course at Hendrix. The piece was first performed for the consecration of England’s new Coventry Cathedral, constructed after a World War II bombing raid destroyed the original fourteenth-century structure.

After earning his Studio Art degree in 1991, Thompson travelled through Europe to observe the art, churches, and cultures he studied in Marr’s Art History courses. His favorite destinations were Paris and Turkey.

Once Thompson returned from his European tour, he began designing graphics for a metal building company. Though this position taught him valuable marketing and sales skills, he knew that it could not satisfy his personal or artistic career goals. In 1995, he left this job and founded Greg Thompson Fine Art and Fine Art Investments, LLC in Little Rock, Arkansas. Thompson continues to serve as Executive Director of the company, which specializes in high-end art dealing and consulting for private collectors, museums and Fortune 500 Companies.

© Windgate Museum of Art at Hendrix College