Monday, November 27, 2006

Paul Henri Bourgignon Anniversary Exhibit at The Ohio State University Faculty Club

Sometime in the mid 80's, I spent a memorable afternoon with Paul and Erika Bourgignon, when I was writing art stories for Columbus Alive! (or maybe even it's predecessor Downtown Alive!) We looked at paintings, then sat down for wonderful conversation. Both had international reputations, he as a well-known artist; she made major contributions as an archeologist and was later a professor in that field at The Ohio State University for 40 years. Paul had experienced the turmoil of war in Belgium and both had traveled extensively all over the world. He talked about his passion for art and told of many adventures and situations he'd experienced. He painted every day of his adult life. It was the only time I ever saw him and he died shortly thereafter.


January 5 through February 23, 2007

The late artist Paul-Henri Bourguignon (1906-1988) has gained a great following. His paintings and drawings have been widely exhibited and praised. Now as the centennial of his birth approaches, Dr. Erika Bourguignon, wife of the artist, will present the works of her late husband at the Ohio State University Faculty Club in an exhibit entitled “Paul-Henri Bourguignon: A Centennial Visit.” Dr. Erika Bourguignon has personally selected the artwork for this exhibition, creating a rare opportunity to view work never before exhibited or not shown in 20 years. An Opening Reception in honor of this important exhibition will be held at The Ohio State University Faculty Club, 181 South Oval Drive, in Columbus, on Friday, January 12, 2007 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. Interested persons are asked to call the club at 614-292-2262.

Paul-Henri Bourguignon was an artist, a novelist, a journalist, an art collector and an avid observer of the human condition. Born in Belgium in 1906, Paul Bourguignon traveled widely in the countries of the Mediterranean and lived in both Haiti and Peru. The strong impact of his restless drive to search the world for experiences and human understanding can be found in his work as an artist and in his novel, The Greener Grass. His painting styles during his lifetime included impressionist, modernist and abstract. Viewers have described his work as “timeless, passionate and visionary.” Jacqueline Hall, Art Critic for The Columbus Dispatch, reviewed his paintings in 1989 stating: “When Bourguignon concentrates on faces, the pathos of the human condition stands out.” In 2001 she further wrote: “His paintings keep charming the viewer, even after they have been seen several times.” Gallery V represented Paul Bourguignon’s work for more than ten years. For more information about the artist, visit

Professor Emerita Erika Bourguignon was a member of the faculty at The Ohio State University for more than forty years. An internationally recognized scholar in the field of anthropology, she is known for her fieldwork with the Chippewa Indians and in Haiti. Prof. Bourguignon served as Chair of the Department of Anthropology at The Ohio State University from 1971 to 1976. Among her publications are Psychological Anthropology: An Introduction to Human Nature, Cross-Cultural Study of Dissociational States (funded by The National Institute of Mental Health 1963-68) and Possession. Professor Bourguignon’s many honors include The Ohio State University Distinguished Research Scholar of 1986 and an honorary doctorate from Queens College, New York in 2000. Erika Bourguignon retired from the university in 1990.

Erika Bourguignon created and sponsored the “The Erika and Paul Bourguignon Lectures in Art and Anthropology” at the university, a series of lectures presenting speakers selected for their knowledge of the relationship between art and anthropology. “Cave Art: Consciousness and the Origins of Art” was the most recent . In the 1950s the Bourguignons also created a series on WOSU radio called “Man and His Music.” The format was developed to examine ancient and primitive music, looking for its influences as Western music developed. In further support of the university, Prof. Bourguignon has made extensive donations to the library of The Ohio State University from the couples’ collection of photographs and books.

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