January 25, 2010

Display highlights Gassan Plochmann’s life, work

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A new display at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Morris Library highlights the work and life of acclaimed prolific local artist Carolyn Gassan Plochmann.

Visitors can view the display in the cases outside the Hall of Presidents on the first floor of the library.  Library officials said they were fortunate to acquire part of the noted Carbondale artisan’s collection since the majority of her papers are in the Smithsonian Institute archives.  Thanks to the efforts of Kristine McGuire, library development officer, and Robert and Jean Pulliam, the library obtained this supplemental collection last year.  Robert Pulliam is the son of Mabel and Roscoe Pulliam, sixth president of SIU, who served from 1935 to 1944.  Robert and Jean Pulliam are members of the Friends of Morris Library.

Along with Gassan Plochmann’s papers, you can also enjoy seeing some of her artwork in the Special Collections Research Center reading room and other locations within the library.  Megan Lotts, fine arts librarian, along with University archivist Leah Broaddus and graphics designer Sharon Granderson, selected and arranged the display materials.

Gassan Plochman came to SIUC in 1949 to lead the art program at the Allyn Training School.  A native of Toledo, Ohio, she resigned from her teaching post after marrying George Kimball Plochmann, a former philosophy department professor and author of “The Ordeal of Southern Illinois University.” 

Carolyn Gassan Plochmann then embarked upon a prolific career in art.  Her credits include more than 40 one-person art shows and numerous multiple-artist shows in New York and all over the Midwest.

The display at Morris Library includes prints, negatives, correspondence and other printed materials covering the period from 1942-2007, with a primary focus on 1942 to 1965.  The prints include black and white as well as color negatives featuring Gassan Plochmann’s artwork along with other materials highlighting her career and accomplishments.  It will all be on display until the end of March.

For more information about the Carolyn Gassan Plochmann collection, the Special Collections Research Center or Morris Library, call 618/453-2516 or look online at http://archives.lib.siu.edu/index.php?p=collections/controlcard&id=2459.