Skip to main content

Saint Louis University Museums Header Logo Center

Menu Search & Directory

SLUMA Exhibitions


M.C. Escher: Infinite Variations

 May 2, 2019- September 22, 2019

M.C. Escher: Infinite Variations examines the mind-bending, mathematical, and metamorphic works of world-famous Dutch graphic artist Maurits Cornelis Escher. This exhibit features an extensive collection of drawings, mezzotints, lithographs, and woodcuts, which blend and blur constructs inspired by impossible worlds, the intricacies of nature, and the infinity of chess.

Over 100 pieces, on loan from the Herakleidon Museum in Athens, Greece, showcase Escher’s varied and groundbreaking techniques and subjects from his early Italian landscape sketches, self-portraits, and book illustrations to his iconic images of impossible spaces, tessellations, infinity, and his metamorphosis series. Despite his massive fame in popular culture, Escher never fit into one style of art nor was he recognized as an important artist by the art community during most of his lifetime.

However, he was venerated by the mathematics community and the American counterculture of the 1960s, who viewed him as a pioneer of psychedelic art. In an almost six-decade career, Escher created over 450 prints and over 2000 drawings and sketches. To this day, he remains one of the most popular and most reproduced graphic artists of the 20th century. His captivating illusionistic spaces, staircases that lead to nowhere, and his endless reflections are so recognizable though most viewing them do not realize the decades of studies he labored over to create these seemingly playful scenes. It is an honor to present M.C. Escher’s work in this satellite exhibition of the World Chess Hall of Fame’s show M.C. Escher: Infinite Variations. We hope that viewers will get lost in the endless spaces that he has created.

M.C. Escher: Infinite Variations is curated by Shannon Bailey, Chief Curator, World Chess Hall of Fame, with Emily Allred, Associate Curator, World Chess Hall of Fame.


Modes of Expression: Representational, Abstract and Non-Objective Art Selections from the Permanent Collection

 March 1, 2019- July 28, 2019
Modes of Expression opens with an opening reception at SLUMA on Friday, March 1, 2019 from 5-8 p.m.

Modes of Expression presents a select group of artworks from the permanent collection of the Saint Louis University Museum of Art. The chronological display of selected artworks focuses on representational, abstract, and non-objective art as modes of expression, from the late nineteenth century to today.

The exhibition begins with two representational artworks, the portraits of Martha Ann Payne Turner and Lewis Turner painted by George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879) in the late nineteenth century. They are followed by a landscape by Camille Corot, the most influential of all French landscape painters of the nineteenth century, and a print by Mary Cassatt, one of the foremost nineteenth-century American artists.

Modernism, which arrived with the first of the major avant-garde movements in European twentieth-century art, lasted until the 1970s. This period, marked by two of the most destructive wars in history, witnessed a development of art movements and art styles at an unprecedented rate. Artists experimented with subject matter and modes of expression which reflected their inner visions as alternatives to external realities, and set out in many divergent directions. This explains why some movements were unfolding concurrently, and in a nonlinear fashion. The diversity of perspectives is illustrated with artworks by Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, Alexej Jawlensky, Vassily Kandinsky, Fernand Léger, Sonia Delaunay, Natalia Goncharova, Jean Arp, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, André Masson, Max Ernst, Henry Moore, Giorgio de Chirico, René Magritte, Paul Delvaux, Alberto Giacometti, and others.

The 1970s marked the beginning of Postmodernism, a reaction against the structures of modernism. Characterized by concurrent developments of styles that expanded the traditional boundaries of art, it opened up opportunities of exploration for future artists. One of the main characteristics of Postmodernism was the dissolving of boundaries between high and popular culture. Twenty-first century art echoes the postmodern tradition but characteristics of globalization have started to emerge.

The permanent collection is the result of a sustained commitment of University donors, who, throughout the years, have supported the Saint Louis University Museum of Art in enhancing its collection of artworks and artifacts. This collection, at times individually and certainly collectively, has educated Saint Louis University and enriched the larger St. Louis community.

The Civil War Imagined and Real

September 28, 2018 – extended to May 31, 2020


Pius XII Memorial Library, Second Floor
Saint Louis University
3650 Lindell Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63108
The exhibition is free and open to the public. Please sign in at the circulation desk on the first floor of the library.
Pius XII Memorial Library hours are available at

Timothy and Jeanne Drone’s recent gift of prints and artifacts serves as the inspiration for The Civil War Imagined and Real. Their continued support inspires the imagination and enhances the learning of SLU students in a variety of disciplines. The exhibition The Civil War Imagined and Real, which will open on September 28, 2018 (6p.m. – 8p.m), will offer a great opportunity for multidisciplinary engagement. Activities such as lectures, tours, community partnerships, and interactive media projects related to the exhibition create opportunities for students of all ages to expand their knowledge.

The exhibition includes prints by Kurz & Allison, Currier & Ives, and others, which offer a wide range of images that captured the public’s imagination. In addition, images from the Library of Congress and artifacts from SLU Medical Library illustrate the forgotten legacy the war had on medical advancements and public health. The images from the Library of Congress also illustrate technological advancements, such as aerial reconnaissance, the telegraph, long range weapons, the Minie bullet, the Gatling Gun, ironclad warships, submarines, and torpedoes.

 In addition to the prints in the The Civil War Imagined and Real exhibition, Timothy and Jeanne Drone gifted artworks by notable regional artists, such as George Caleb Bingham, Thomas Hart Benton, Joe Jones, Karl Bodmer, George Catlin, and many Mississippian and Native American artifacts. 



Longterm Exhibitions

Einar Hákonarson: The Auschwitz Etchings

Over the course of a 40-year career, Einar Hákonarson (b. 1945) has become one of Iceland’s most distinguished artists, with 30 exhibitions in multiple countries. He was educated at the Iceland Academy of the Arts (Iceland’s national art school) and the Valand School of Fine Arts of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Primarily a painter, he has also won numerous awards for his work in printmaking, and he reignited interest in the medium of printmaking in Iceland. In 1965, as a student at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, he made a life- changing trip to Auschwitz. Reflecting on that experience, the artist stated that, “this visit [to Auschwitz] influenced me tremendously. I simply was not the same as before.”

While a large portion of his work since the Auschwitz visit has dealt with human suffering, Hákonarson made a series of six etchings between 1965 and 1967 that specifically referenced his reflections on Auschwitz. He dedicated the six etchings to the victims of the Holocaust as well as to all victims of hatred, bigotry, and injustice. Although intimate in scale, the etchings explore the spirit of the human person to persevere and triumph even in the midst of atrocities on such an epic scale. The etchings remain witnesses to humanity’s dark side, but they are also expressions of hope, that in the face of such evil, the vigilant human spirit can still triumph and prevail.

We invite you to spend time with these works, to read the artist’s own reflections on the themes in each of the prints, and to see that, in light of the many contemporary global trouble spots, the message of the Auschwitz Etchings is timelier than ever.