Community Arts Center Welcomes Speed Museum Curator for “Lunch with the Arts”

Published 8:50 am Tuesday, January 16, 2018

By Paul Stansbury

Contributing writer 

Photo contributed
Erika Holmquist-Wall will be this week’s featured speaker during Community Arts Center’s Lunch with the Arts on Wednesday.

To kick off 2018, the Community Arts Center will feature Erika Holmquist-Wall for its first Lunch with the Arts program of the year on Wednesday. Holmquist-Wall is the Chief Curator and Mary and Barry Bingham, Sr. Curator of European and American Paintings and Sculpture for the Speed Art Museum in Louisville.

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Holmquist-Wall is a specialist in 19th and 20th-century Nordic art and design. In addition, she has established an international reputation as one of a handful of advanced specialists in the field of provenance research, with an emphasis on World War II-era spoliation issues.

On Feb. 17,  The Speed Art Museum will open a groundbreaking exhibition, “Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism.” For her Lunch With The Arts program, Holmquist-Wall will provide an introduction and overview of the exhibition.

The exhibition broadly surveys a key chapter in art history in which an international group of female artists overcame gender-based restrictions to make remarkable creative strides. During the mid-19th century, Paris was the epicenter of the art world, luring artists from around the globe to its academies, museums, salons, and galleries. Scores of women artists traveled to the French capital to develop their art and further their careers, yet despite the city’s cosmopolitan character, gender norms remained strikingly conservative. Only later in the century did French women gain such fundamental rights as receiving a secondary education (1879), opening a bank account (1881), and obtaining legal guardianship of their children (1907). Furthermore, women were not allowed to attend the École des Beaux-Arts – the country’s most important art academy – until 1897. Barred from this prestigious institution, and largely unable to participate in the Salon system, women pursued alternative venues by attending private academies, exhibiting independently, or forming their own organizations.

Moral and social stigmas also hindered women’s full participation in the period’s artistic circles. Taboos against females being seen in public without a chaperone limited their access to spaces and narrowed the range of subjects they could represent. Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism expands our understanding of this rich historical art period and demonstrates the formative role women artists played in the major currents of European modernism, including Realism, Impressionism, Symbolism, and Expressionism. The 37 forward-thinking women represented in this exhibition of more than 85 works not only created powerful paintings but also generated a momentum that has led to a more egalitarian art world.

A native of Iowa, Holmquist-Wall received her bachelor’s in the History of Art and Classics from the College of Saint Catherine and her Master’s in Art History from the University of St. Thomas.

She joined the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 2000 as a Curatorial Assistant in the Department of Paintings and Modern Sculpture. In 2007, she was promoted to assistant curator of paintings. In addition, she served as the museum’s provenance specialist, where she oversaw all research related to the ownership and acquisition of the museum’s collections. During her tenure, Holmquist-Wall curated a number of exhibitions for the MIA, including “The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy” in 2011, “Alexander Roslin and the Comtesse Pignatell”i in 2008, “A Mirror of Nature: Nordic Landscape Painting,” 1840-1910, and recently, a suite of four dossier exhibitions on Henri Matisse that supplemented her most recent curatorial venture, “Matisse: Masterworks from the Baltimore Museum of Art.” She is a strong advocate for collections preservation, creating two popular exhibitions centered around the public restoration of major paintings by Guercino in 2004 and Max Beckmann in 2013.



Lunch with the Arts

Featuring Erika Holmquist-Wall

Noon – 1 p.m. Wednesday, January 17, at CAC

$5 per person at the door


On Jan. 31, the Arts Center will present a second Lunch with the Arts program of the month, a musical performance by the world renowned Ariel Winds Quintet. Mark your calendar and check The Advocate-Messenger or the Community Arts Center’s website for more information as the date approaches.