Waiting for the Muse: A Carl Grupp Retrospective

Waiting for the Muse: A Carl Grupp Retrospective
Artwork by Carl Grupp

November 1, 2022 - May 1, 2023

Visual Arts Center | Bates Trimble Gallery 

Carl Grupp found a muse in the stories of his everyday life. He once said, “Much of my work has to do with telling stories, whether it be through my artwork or my teaching. I enjoy attempting to imply a story or to make people wonder and think.” Through traditional genres of self-portraiture, landscape and still life, Grupp found his own surrealist and personal style of image making over the course of his professional art career. In his paintings, prints and sculptures, you see elements from the artist’s personal life. Grupp said that you see “things of life and death” – a skull, flowers, animals, Mount Fuji, a crumpled cigarette packet, insects, etc.

A truly unique and prolific artist, this exhibition presents a small selection of Grupp’s larger body of work. As a painter, printmaker and educator in Sioux Falls, Grupp inspired many future generations of artists, and his life’s work has a lasting impact on the arts in this region to this day.

Carl Grupp

Carl Grupp earned a bachelor’s degree in painting with a minor in printmaking from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1964. In 1965, he traveled through Europe and studied at the Art Student Brije Academie in The Hague, Netherlands. He went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree with honors in printmaking and a minor in drawing from Indiana University in 1969. Grupp participated in more than 100 regional, national and international art exhibitions since 1961, with dozens of solo shows. His art can be found today in many public and corporate collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; California College of the Arts, Oakland; the South Dakota Art Museum, Brookings; and the Washington Pavilion Visual Arts Center, Sioux Falls.

In addition to being an active professional artist, Grupp was also a dedicated arts educator. From 1969 until 2004, Grupp was a professor at Augustana College, where he helped to inspire, develop and guide the careers of several generations of artists who have gone on to become major forces in South Dakota, the region and beyond. He also founded the Eide/Dalrymple Gallery, with its ambitious exhibitions program and permanent art collection, and served as chair of the Art Department from 1986 to 2002.

After his death in 2019, Grupp’s family created the Carl A. Grupp Charitable Fund, held at the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, to foster creativity and inspiration in the Sioux Falls area. Distributions from the fund will support various initiatives and movements throughout the region that will inspire and celebrate art, as well as efforts that support the teaching of art. Distributions are reviewed and awarded by Grupp’s children.

 SD Arts Council

South Dakota Arts Council support is provided with funds from the State of South Dakota, through the Department of Tourism, and the National Endowment for the Arts.