Gallery pays tribute to former Augustana art professor Carl Grupp

Thoughtful, organized chaos stretches across canvases in the Eide/Dalrymple Gallery. The late Carl Grupp was not only an art professor at Augustana University (1969-2019) but also a beacon in the Sioux Falls art community that earned many awards throughout his career. 

Former colleague of Grupp and assistant curator of the exhibit professor John Peters said “[Grupp’s] passion for everything was so infectious. He was the artist that taught me how to look at things and how to really try to capture what you see.”

The name of the gallery is “Darkness and Light: The Artistic Journey of Carl Grupp,” which captures part of Grupp’s lessons on chiaroscuro. Chiaroscuro is an art technique of shading to create harsh contrast of light and dark.

Many of Grupp’s pieces show immense skill with shading. The gallery captures Grupp’s journey through life by showing some of his early work alongside his more recent pieces. The descriptions give the viewer insight into what was happening historically at the time of the artwork and during Grupp’s life, enhancing the impact on the viewer for each piece.

A series of skeleton subjects that Grupp procured during his time studying abroad during the Vietnam War not only exemplifies chiaroscuro but also shows how Grupp empathized with the soldiers who were fighting. Grupp used charcoal, ink and coffee wash to create these pieces.

Alexa Shroeder, a biochemistry major at Augustana and art scholarship recipient, works in the gallery for one hour each week. Though she never had the opportunity to be one of Grupp’s students, Shroeder enjoys many of his art pieces. She said she finds it fascinating that so many of his pieces in the gallery are unfinished.

 “This is useful to me because it shows that not all space in a piece of artwork has to be occupied or busy,” Schroeder said. 

The pieces in the collection depict self-portraits, mountain scenes, allegorical parables and other works. Grupp switches between many different mediums: lithography stones and prints, watercolor, monotype, charcoal, ink and coffee wash.

By pairing a few of Grupp’s pieces with poetry, as well as quotes from Grupp himself, the gallery not only shows Grupp’s extensive understanding of art, but also displays his vibrant and unique personality.

The collection of pieces on display in the Eide/Dalrymple Gallery was donated to Augustana University in 2018. The exhibit curator is professor Lindsey Twa and the assistant curator is professor John Peters. 

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