The Eleanor D. Wilson Museum | Hollins University


Current Exhibitions

Lenny Lyons Bruno: Coal Camp Series
November 10, 2016 – February 26, 2017

Lenny Lyons Bruno was born in a West Virginia coal camp in 1947. The Coal Camp Series is a visual narrative of her early years. Bruno shares her memories in large paintings that incorporate a wide variety of materials including quilts, photographs, ledgers, and found objects, many of which date back to the 1940s. Her sculptures are comprised of everyday objects reconfigured into forms that create a sense of reflection and wonder.

Lenny Lyons Bruno

Lenny Lyons Bruno, Fold Inward, 2006. Mixed media. Courtesy of the artist.


Views of Tinker Mountain by Ron Boehmer
January 12 – April 30, 2017

In conjunction with the 175th anniversary celebration of the founding of Hollins University, this exhibition presents eleven studies for the oil painting by Ron Boehmer, Tinker Creek. Commissioned in 1990, the painting has been on view in Main Building on Hollins' campus since 1991. The studies donated by the artist to the University, and now part of the permanent collection of the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum, are being displayed for the first time. Each a beautiful work of art, these studies show the artist's working method and include graphite and ink sketches, ink wash, and oil pastel studies. They will be exhibited alongside the finished painting. Lynchburg-based artist Ron Boehmer is co-founder of Beverly Street Studio School in Staunton, Virginia, where he teaches drawing and painting classes and workshops, specializing in plein air painting.

Ron Boehmer

Ron Boehmer, Tinker Creek, 1990. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of Hollins University.


Hélion Highlights: Selections from the Blair Family Gift
February 2 – March 26, 2017

In May 2016, the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University was the recipient of a a gift from the Blair family: a collection of over 385 preliminary paintings, drawings, and prints by Jean Hélion (French, 1904-1987). This gift (the largest in the history of the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum) is an important collection of studies by one of France’s noted modernists. French by birth, Hélion married an American from Virginia and spent time living and working in the United States. He lived with his wife in Virginia from 1936-1940 and returned during WW II to work in New York City. This exhibition will present selections from this generous gift, most of which has never been exhibited to the public. This collection makes Hollins University a major repository for Hélion studies.

Inspired by the organization, rhythm, and patterns that would come to characterize his abstract paintings, Hélion’s early interests included poetry, chemistry, and architecture. In the mid-1920s, he abandoned his studies in favor of drawing classes at the Académie Adler in Paris. Over the next several years, he met and drew inspiration from abstract and cubist artists including Otto Freundlich, Joaquin Torres-Garcia, and Piet Mondrian. In 1936, Hélion moved from France to the United States. Living in New York and Virginia for four years before returning to France, Hélion deliberately changed his style to be more representative.

After World War II, Hélion’s career grew to include radio and lecture appearances as well as a best-selling book about his months as a prisoner of war. Even as his later painterly interests became figurative and naturalistic, his work relied on shape and repetition in the same manner as his abstractions.
Jean Helion

Jean Hélion,Study of a Standing Nude Female before Cheval Mirror, 1973. Pastel on grey paper. Courtesy of the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University.


Hollins University
Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University
Box 9679 : 8009 Fishburn Drive : Roanoke, VA 24020
(540) 362-6532 •
Tues-Sun: 12-5 pm
Thurs: 12-8 pm
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