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This set of two paintings portrays the Greek myth of Artemis and Actaeon. Actaeon, a young prince out on a hunt, stumbles upon Artemis, virgin goddess of the wild and protector of girls and women) as she bathes naked in a stream with her young female companions. He stares upon her beauty in fascination, which causes her to fear that he will boast of what he has seen. Artemis splashes water in the face of the huntsman, casting a spell that turns him into a stag that is, shortly thereafter, attacked by his own hounds. This is one of the many Greek myths, portrayed by artists throughout time, which convey the fearful notion that female beauty has the power to trap and destroy.

The Story of Actaeon I and The Story of Actaeon II (1977) render the mythological story in a bold and abstracted manner. Staley’s crude drawing and application of paint, and use of a bold and unusual palette exemplifies the painterly expressionism of the 1980s. The stories he tells are taken from classical mythology, the Bible, and Native American lore. But the very personal manner in which they are visually interpreted, engages us in a direct and emotional manner.

These two paintings by Earl Staley were donated to the Flint Institute of Arts by JPMorgan Chase. The JPMorgan Chase Art Collection began in 1959 when David Rockefeller, then president of The Chase Manhattan Bank, established the firm’s art program and took the lead in the field of corporate art collecting, becoming a model for other companies worldwide.

(Above images are details of the paintings)

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Recent Acquisitions

Earl Staley
American, b. 1938
The Story of Actaeon I
acrylic on canvas, 1977
60 x 120 inches
Gift of JPMorgan Chase, 2006.47

Earl Staley
American, b. 1938
The Story of Actaeon II
acrylic on canvas, 1977
60 x 120 inches
Gift of JPMorgan Chase, 2006.48

James Perry Walker
American, b. 1945
Taylor Barn, Hwy. 72, Fayette County, TN
gelatin silver print, 2006
44 x 66 inches
Gift of James Perry Walker, 2006.49

James Perry Walker
American, b. 1945
Gatewood Baptizing #1, Gatewood Church, Slayden, MS
gelatin silver print, 2006
44 x 66 inches
Gift of James Perry Walker, 2006.50

James Perry Walker
American, b. 1945
Funeral, Mt. Vernon, Rossville, TN
gelatin silver print, 2006
44 x 66 inches
Gift of James Perry Walker, 2006.51

Harley Dennee
American, 20th century
Untitled
gelatin silver print, ca. 1942–43
18 x 18 inches
Gift of Phil Braun, 2006.52

Louis Bouché
American, 1896–1969
Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company
oil on canvas, 1956
20 x 28 inches
Gift of Katherine Degn and Carole Pesner, 2006.53

 

Unknown
German, 19th century
Jar with Lid
porcelain, n.d.
12 x 7 1/2 diameter inches
Gift of Ann McDonald Gibson in memory of Ellen Mead MacDowell, 2006.54

Roland Flexner
American, b. France, 1944
Untitled
ink on paper, 2003
6 3/4 x 5 1/2 inches
Gift of Deborah Grayson and Jonathan Russo, 2006.55

Edmund Lewandowski
American, 1914–1998
Production Line Buick-Corp (Study of Spirit of Cultural Development mural)
pastel, gouache, pencil and charcoal on paper, 1956
5 1/2 x 8 inches
Museum purchase, 2006.56

Jack Steele
American, 1919–2003
Study for Recess at St. Boniface
gouache on paper, ca. 1946
10 x 13 inches
Museum purchase, 2006.57

Jack Steele
American, 1919–2003
Strike
pencil on paper, ca. 1940
15 1/2 x 21 inches
Museum purchase, 2006.58

Charles Culver
American, 1908–1967
Landscape, Bellaire, Michigan
oil on canvas, 1936
24 x 30 inches
Museum purchase, 2006.59


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