'On The Prairie' Features Works by Eugene Christopherson

Detail from "The Sweetheart Tree" (1982) by Eugene Christopherson.

Detail from "The Sweetheart Tree" (1982) by Eugene Christopherson.

Event Details

Date: May 7 - October 12, 2018

Times: M - F 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.; First Saturday of the month 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Location: Madsen/Nelson/Elmen Galleries, Center for Western Studies

Ticket Info: Free

About the Exhibit:

When Laura Ingalls Wilder recorded her experiences living in "The Little House on the Prairie," she could not have known the exceptionally broad reach her tales would achieve. A superb snapshot of life on the prairie in the 1800s, her work not only documents a single family's struggles to thrive on the plains but offers also a heartwarming explanation for why thousands of our ancestors chose to brave the formidable land we now call home.

Adapted from Wilder’s book series in 1974, the acclaimed NBC television show "Little House on the Prairie" brought this enduring story into homes nationwide. In 1982, to honor the beloved television series, the East Palestine China Company of Ohio, coordinating with NBC and Ed Friendly Productions, commissioned South Dakota artist Eugene Christopherson to create 12 paintings for a collectors plate series. Christopherson was a natural fit to immortalize scenes from the television series, having grown up on the prairies of South Dakota himself.

In March of 2017, the 12 original oil paintings Christopherson created for this series became part of the Center's Fine Art Collection. Together with several other prairie-inspired Christopherson paintings, they are on display in the gallery exhibition, “On the Prairie: The Art of Eugene Christopherson,” which runs from May 7 through October 12, 2018. 

The exhibition is free and open to the public.


About the Artist:

Acclaimed South Dakota artist Eugene Christopherson graduated from Baltic High School, where the seeds of his remarkable talent had begun to flourish, in 1958. Fifty-two years later, he became one of the most prestigious Baltic High Hall of Fame inductees in the school’s history.

Eugene attended Augustana College from 1958-1960 where he studied art under the renowned Palmer Eide and Ogden Dalrymple. Guided by a passion to share his love of the land, as well as his love of the people of South Dakota, he began his career as a commercial artist, portrait artist, illustrator, and sculptor with a mission to immortalize our remarkable land of infinite variety.

Throughout his career, Eugene described the development of his talent as a way to improve upon his God-given talent. With each new achievement in his artistic mastery, he gave thanks to the ultimate creator of his talent, recognizing he was blessed with a gift that few are.

Eugene had a myriad of artistic accomplishments, spanning a lifetime marked by physical challenges which left him with the innate ability to find the beauty in innocence, pain, joy, sorrow, and struggle.

He left his indelible mark on so many aspects of the great state of South Dakota. It’s not an easy task to capture the true spirit of this wondrous land. One needs more than paint and canvas, clay and bronze, ink and paper. Eugene used a far more elusive tool ... his heart and soul.