When a gallery in New York City has been in business for 15 years they say, “Wow, what a great run.” A 40-year gallery run in New York is almost unheard of. Now, when a Wichita man opens up a gallery and it lasts for 40 years he must be referred to as “Senex Artis” - the Latin for “The Old Man of Art.”
Reuben Saunders opened his Wichita gallery in 1978. While great art was being made here at the time, selling it was no easy day at the office. To capture a new viewer, and convince them that living with a work of art was worth the money, had to be the hardest task, yet Saunders successfully hurtled those odds. And I know how he has done it: incredible work ethic; educating potential buyers with stories of the artists, their work, and processes; and his ability to remove any feeling of intimidation his potential customer may feel with the purchase of a new work. The hardest thing anyone can do is make people understand art and the value of living with art. Saunders is golden in that quest.
To celebrate his anniversary, Mr. Saunders has invited back the heavy hitters of those formative years and is putting on a marvelous group exhibition. You will find masterworks by Keith Jacobshagen, Tom Gormally, Marlana Stoddard Hayes, Raymond Olivero, Kathleen Shanahan, Betty Dickerson, and many others. It’s a who’s who of the artists who brought us to where we are today.
The exhibition is on view through June 29th.