Koen Exhibit Opens at the Figge

Oct 5, 2017

Figge assistant curator, Vanessa Cage, with her favorite Koen painting.
Credit WVIK News

Paintings by a nearly-forgotten artist from the Quad Cities are featured now at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport. Irma Rene Koen was born in Rock Island in 1883, lived and painted here for many years, and then moved to Mexico where she died in 1975.

Assistant curator Vanessa Sage says the 40 paintings show how Koen's style changed over the course of 70 years. 

"The earliest ones are very finely done watercolors and very detailed. And then she gets looser and more freely expressive with the way that she paints to the end of her career."

Koen was well-known during her life, and sold many paintings. In the exhibit there are  17 privately owned works, with 10 of them loaned to the Figge by local residents.

"They all have roots here in the Quad Cities - the ones we have borrowed. People's parents or grandparents owned them and they they were passed down."

Other paintings by Koen are owned by the Rock Island Library, Illinois State Museum, and Des Moines Art Center.

The exhibit continues through the end of the year.