A tale of artistic adventure

A tale of artistic adventure

Main Page Content

O'Harrow speaks on 'Iowa's Most Famous Painting' July 22 in Des Moines
curator inspects Pollock's MuralA curator inspects Pollock's "Mural," considered by many to be the most significant and influential painting in American art since World War II. Photo by Bill Adams

One of the most influential American art works of the latter half of the 20th Century has been doing a painting’s version of “couch surfing” since it lost its home to massive flooding in 2008. After finding temporary homes in Davenport and Des Moines, Jackson Pollock’s Mural, headed west in 2012, where it underwent technical study and conservation treatment by research scientists at the Getty Conservation Institute and conservators at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Sean O'Harrow, director of University of Iowa Museum of Art
Sean O'Harrow

Now it is returning home to Iowa, and its primary caretaker, Sean O’Harrow, director of the University of Iowa Museum of Art, is sharing the tale of artistic adventure Tuesday, July 22 in Des Moines. O’Harrow will speak on, “Two Years in the Life of Iowa’s Most Famous Painting,” from noon to 1 p.m. at the UI John and Mary Pappajohn Education Center, 1200 Grand Ave. in Des Moines.

The event continues the UI’s popular Hawkeye Lunch and Learn series, which has been drawing capacity crowds since its January debut. Guests are invited to bring their lunches—desserts and drinks will be provided. The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited. RSVP online

Mural is considered by many to be the most significant and influential painting in American art since World War II. The painting has been in the UI’s art collection since it was donated by Peggy Guggenheim in 1951.

“The University of Iowa received this important art donation from Guggenheim just after the war, when she identified Iowa as having one of the most forward-thinking and advanced art programs in the country,” O’Harrow says. “This painting has since become an integral part of the Iowa's artistic legacy and heritage, not only enriching our educational programs, but also bringing national and international attention to our state's cultural offerings.”

The conservation initiative has been followed avidly by the international press and has brought hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world to view Iowa's most important cultural legacy. It will be displayed at the Sioux City Arts Center through April 10, 2015.

The Hawkeye Lunch and Learn series offers monthly events in Des Moines and Iowa City designed to connect Iowa communities, university faculty, and government and industry leaders. The Provost’s Office of Outreach and Engagement sponsors the series. Upcoming events in Des Moines include:

  • Aug. 12: "Magical Mythical Tour: In Search of the Beatles," Donna Parsons, UI Honors Program
  • Sept. 23: "The Internet: Past, Present and Future," Dan Reed, UI vice president for Research and Economic Development
  • Oct. 28: John Culshaw, University librarian

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, contact the Office of the Provost in advance at 319-335-3565.


Linda Snetselaar, Provost's Office of Outreach & Engagement, 319-384-1553
Erika Christiansen, Provost's Office of Outreach & Engagement, 319-335-0219


Email Button