Theme/Style – Modernism, still lifes, landscapes, townscapes
Media – Oils, watercolors, printmaking
Artistic Focus – In his time considered by many to be a “self-taught genius” and “the best of the modernistic painters of Chicago,” Harvey Gregory Prusheck created still lifes and landscapes that have both a quiet power and a startling elegance. In describing his process, Prusheck said, “Art is my religion. And I believe that there should be no quibbling over something which I consider that lofty. What I demand of myself, and what I believe should be demanded generally of the artist, is pure art — song of soul expressed in color, form and line, unpremeditated.”
Career Highlights –
- Harvey Gregory Prusheck was born Gregory Perušek in the village of Jelovec in Slovenia (later known as Yugoslavia) in 1887. He came to the U.S. in 1906, spending time with family members in Illinois and Indiana.
- After attending art exhibitions in New York, Prusheck took up painting; and by 1916 he was living in the Chicago area as a member of the Jackson Park Art Colony.
- Prusheck was included in the Chicago Society of Artists’ second annual exhibition at the Field Galleries in 1925; and in 1926 Prusheck’s self-portrait was included in the Chicago Society of Artists exhibition.
- In 1928 the Madison Art Association in Wisconsin presented a show of Prusheck’s paintings at the State Historical Museum; and again in 1929 at Madison’s Historical Library Art Gallery.
- Prusheck exhibited with the Chicago Society of Artists in 1929, and was included in the Art Institute of Chicago’s annual exhibition by artists of Chicago and vicinity in 1930, where one of his still life paintings received special critical attention and won the William Rice Jenkins prize.
- Prusheck moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1931, where he taught art classes and was to be a regular exhibitor in The Cleveland Museum of Art’s prestigious May Show throughout the rest of his life, often garnering special critical attention for his arresting still lifes.
- During the 1930s Prusheck continued to exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Madison Art Association, and the Milwaukee Art Institute.
- In 1933 Prusheck’s work was included in the 40th annual exhibition of American art at the Cincinnati Art Museum, and he was one of nine Cleveland artists represented at the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s Biennial in Washington, DC.
- By 1935 Prusheck was director of Cleveland’s Yugoslav School of Modern Art, which received national recognition by the Federation of American Artists; and in 1939 Prusheck became the director of Cleveland’s first art center.
- Prusheck passed away in Cleveland in 1940. His work is in the collection of The Cleveland Museum of Art and the City of Cleveland.
- Prusheck’s prominence among Chicago Modernists of the 1920s and 1930s is evidenced by his inclusion in several historical exhibitions: “Thinking Modern: Painting in Chicago,1910-1940” at the Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (1992); “Chicago Modern, 1893-1945: Pursuit of the New” at the Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago (2004); and “Chicago Moderns: Raymond Jonson and Friends, 1910-1923,” at the Jonson Gallery at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque (2008).