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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the George Shane Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1949-1969
Creator: Shane, George (1906-1969)
Extent: 1.50 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0277
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Painter and art critic. Articles about Shane and artwork by Shane. Including pencil sketches and paintings as they appeared in the Des Moines Register.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs: Box 1

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: These papers were given to the University of Iowa Libraries by Florence Shane in 1973 and by Katherine Shane Long in 2001, 2003, and 2004. Addenda Incorporated into the collection in October and November 2004.

Preferred Citation: George Shane Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

George Shane worked as as artist for the Register for many years, painting popular pictures of town squares, courthouses, local landmarks, and century farms for the supplement to the Sunday Register. Often, he wrote brief histories to accompany the painting. This collection contains a series of some 85 of these color reproductions from the Sunday Register. The original paintings were so popular that every painting but one was sold to private collectors, including one to Norman Lear, who bought the one of downtown Greenfield, where he was filming the movie Cold Turkey (1971) . Shane also did paintings for himself and for sale, and had work in many art shows, including a one-man show in the Des Moines Art Center in 1951. Catalogs for many of these shows are part of this collection, as are records of sales. Shane was active in the Des Moines art community, including the Des Moines Art Center and several of exhibit catalogs and bulletins from the Des Moines Art Center are preserved here as well. He also created artwork for commercial entities. Shane apparently had many friends in the artistic community, and there are works by other artists included in this collection, including a small series of hand painted greeting cards sent to Shane by fellow artists. All these artworks are collected in the first series in the collection, Artwork.

Shane also worked as a reporter and columnist for the Des Moines Register for many years. His reporting for the Register was mostly human interest stories, but the majority of his stories were about art. For a time, he wrote a column called "The Visual Arts" and twice he took trips and sent articles back to the Register about the art he encountered -- from Venice and the continent in 1958 and from Mexico in 1966. We have very few manuscripts of Shane's work, but many clippings by and about Shane, and a file of clippings on art. There are gathered into Series II of the collection, Clippings.

Series III is Correspondence, made up of a small collection of his correspondence. His paintings for the Des Moines Sunday Register, and the century farm series in particular, generated correspondence from the public, and this correspondence is included in this series.

Shane's military records, biographical sketches, and other miscellany make up Series IV, Personal.

Shane probably worked from photographs, and there are many photographs of scenes and buildings in the collection. The photographer is unknown -- it may have been Shane. There are photographs of some paintings, some by Shane, some not. We can only assume that these were paintings which Shane admired and which he tried to imitate or at least to learn from. Photographs of Shane himself are included in the photograph series, as well as other artists, including Andy Worhol, Calder, and Dali. Also included are contact prints and negatives. These are gathered into Series V, Photographs.

Apparently, Shane did extensive research for his projects, and some of his research is included here in Series VI, Research. Examples are a file on New Orleans, which includes photographs, brochures, and one series dealing with how steeples look in paintings and photographs.

Kern, Jean B. "The Des Moines Art Center." Palimpsest, Vol.XXX:No.1 (January 1949), pp. 23-32

Falk, Peter Hastings, ed. Who Was Who in American Art. Folio N6536 W48 1999

Browse by Series:
Series 1: ARTWORK
Series 4: PERSONAL
Series 6: RESEARCH

  • Series 1: ARTWORK
  • Sub-Series: By Shane
  • Box 1:
  • Catalogs for exhibits
    2 folders
  • Des Moines Art Center Bulletins concerning Shane
  • Drawings
  • Ford Times with paintings by Shane
  • Pages from the Sunday Register
    In oversized folder
  • Printing plates for catalog for one man show - 1951
  • Records of sales of paintings
  • Reproductions of art works
  • Sub-Series: By others
  • Box 1:
  • Artwork by various artists
    Some are in the the oversized folder
  • Exhibit catalogs for the Des Moines Art Center
  • Greeting cards from fellow artists
  • Series 2: CLIPPINGS
  • Box 1:
  • By Shane: Articles
  • By Shane: "The Visual Arts" column
  • About Shane
  • About art
  • Box 1:
  • General correspondence
  • Correspondence about farms
  • Series 4: PERSONAL
  • Box 1:
  • Biographical sketches
  • Military records
  • Miscellaneous
  • Supplemental agreement to a contract for purchase of the Allerton News. September 25 - 1930?
  • Series 5: PHOTOGRAPHS
  • Box 1:
  • Andy Warhol with George Shane
    Contact prints mounted on cardboard
  • Biplane
  • Contact prints
  • Miscellaneous
  • Negatives
  • Paintings
  • People
  • Scenes
    7 folders
  • Shane
    Large format portrait. In oversized folder
  • Still lifes
  • Series 6: RESEARCH
  • Box 1:
  • General research
  • New Orleans
  • Manuscripts

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Art critics

Geographic Names:
United States -- Iowa

Des Moines register