“Camelback Mountain with Saguaro and Wash” 1920, oil on board by Jessie Benton Evans

Jessie Benton Evans (1866-1954); “Camelback Mountain with Saguaro and Wash” 1920, oil on board

Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West (SMoW) it is the recipient of a gift of a collection featuring over 300 works from 25 gifted women artists. The Fran and Ed Elliott Southwest Women Art Collection was recently given to SMoW and is one of the largest donations of artworks by women ever gifted to an American institution.

Through the efforts of trustee Dr. Betsy Fahlman of Arizona State University and SMoW assistant director for Collections, Exhibitions and Research, Dr. Tricia Loscher, the acquisition of the Elliott Collection, in the fulfillment of the wishes of Fran and Ed Elliott, will claim a place of pride in the museum for women artists who have been traditionally underrepresented in the art history of the American West.

Marjorie Reed, 1915-1996, The White Winter of ‘49 at Sedona, or Sedona’s Deepest Snow, oil on canvas;.png

Marjorie Reed (1915-1996) “The White Winter of ‘49 at Sedona, or Sedona’s Deepest Snow” oil on canvas

“Remarkably, all of the 25 artists whose works grace the collection have a connection to the state of Arizona, having either resided, studied, or worked in our state,” said Mike Fox, director and CEO of SMoW. “Our institution is immensely grateful and appreciative of our responsibility to extend the legacy, not only of our friends Fran and Ed Elliott, but the legacy of all the women artists represented in this unparalleled historical collection.”

The Elliott Collection will be enhanced by a significant collection of artworks by Scottsdale’s first professional resident artist, Marjorie Thomas. The exhibition features more than 150 drawings, paintings, sketches and photos.

“Thomas was a true Arizona art pioneer, having arrived before Arizona’s statehood,” Fahlman shared. “We are thrilled about the donation of this recent gift to Western Spirt.”

Many of these highly skilled women made a living through their art. The products of their entrepreneurial acumen form an important part of the Elliott Collection. Their works illustrated books and calendars, decorated china and glassware, and even became the imagery for jigsaw puzzles.

“The exhibition of the Elliott Collection will strengthen SMoW’s reputation as a cutting-edge center of Western history and culture while recognizing the often ‘invisible’ contributions of women to the arts and to the story of the West,” added Loscher. “We are honored to have such an exceptional and distinctive collection to share with visitors.”

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