ESU Announces Event Featuring Significant Works of Sterling Strauser

Posted by: Valentina Caval on May 17, 2013, No Comments

East Stroudsburg University invites the general public to attend “The Significance of Strauser,” to view significant works of the late acclaimed, self-taught artist of national note, Sterling Strauser, that are on loan from local community members for a limited show.  The event will take place on Friday, June 7 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the temporary location of The Sterling Strauser Gallery in the ESU Innovation Center, located at 562 Independence Road, East Stroudsburg, Pa. Cost per person is $50 and per-registration is recommended.

The Gallery, which officially opened in May of 2012, features the works of Strauser, who lived and painted in East Stroudsburg from 1928 to 1995.  The Gallery’s initial collection was made possible thanks to a generous donation of 114 of Strauser’s paintings by philanthropists and ardent art dealers, Grey and Linda Carter and family of McLean, Va., last year. Carter is a private art dealer and artist’s representative. In 1964, after meeting Sterling Strauser, Grey began buying and selling works of art to meet his desire to acquire an art collection. His gift to ESU was intended to honor his longtime friend.

This year’s show will include some of those donated works, but will highlight significant pieces of work from members of the community accompanied by personal stories about the paintings.  Many of the loaned paintings reflect Strauser’s personal connection to people and places, and also speak to his passion for life’s simplest pleasures – florals, trains, horses, nudes, circus entertainers, landscapes, seascapes, friends and family, and still lifes of fruits and breads.

Thanks to the generosity of the East Stroudsburg Savings Association’s Bank and Trust Foundation and Mr. James Sittig, local art collector and enthusiast, The Strauser Gallery at ESU was able to acquire “The Grandparents (circa 1940), which is believed by many to be one of Strauser’s most important paintings. The Gallery has also acquired some works by artists in the “Strauser Circle,” specifically his wife, Dorothy Strauser, Justin McCarthy, Jack Savitsky, Victor Joseph Gatto, Joseph Polinski, Charlie Dieter, Tom Fish and Lamont “Old Ironsides” Pry.  These new acquisitions will also be part of the June event.

When asked to describe Strauser, Dr. Peter Hawkes, former neighbor, friend and now dean of ESU’s College of Arts and Sciences said, “What made Strauser the most beloved artist in the Pocono Mountains?  Was it his huge productivity that allowed so many to own his works? His unstinting promotion of other artists?  His magnetic personality? Probably it was all these things. He was a kind, big-hearted man who seemed to inspire anyone he met.”  Hawkes added that even though Strauser died in 1995, those who still remember him couldn’t be happier that ESU will build a Gallery that will exhibit his works two blocks from where they were produced.  Now housed in a temporary location, The Sterling Strauser Gallery will have a permanent home in ESU’s Keystone Center, when construction of Phase I is completed in 2015.

Immediately following the reception and brief program on June 7, there will be an auction of Strauser and Strauser Circle works including art by Dorothy Strauser. Items being auctioned are paintings owned by local community members.  Proceeds from the sale will be used by The Sterling Strauser Gallery to fund future acquisitions.

About the Artist

Sterling Boyd Strauser (1907 – 1995), whose German name means “one who binds the flowers,” was born in Bloomsburg, Pa., in 1907, and later moved to East Stroudsburg, Pa., with his wife, Dorothy. Sterling and Dorothy were quick to influence the arts throughout the Pocono Region, both as well-known collectors and promoters of folk and outsider art.

Strauser’s art is included in the permanent collections of the American Museum in Bath, England; the Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, Pa.; Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa.; Everhart Museum, Scranton, Pa.; Cheekwood Museum and Vanderbilt University, both in Nashville, Tenn.; Maier Museum of Art, Lynchburg, Va.; and numerous private and corporate collections.

In addition to his painting, Strauser served as a teacher and principal of the grade school in Mount Pocono from 1928 to 1929.  He also worked at the International Boiler Works in East Stroudsburg where he began as a shipping clerk in 1930 and retired as company secretary in 1962.

For more information about The Sterling Strauser Gallery or to register for“The Significance of Strauser” event, please contact ESU’s Division of Research and Economic Development at 570-422-7920.