Nina Winkel Thumbnail Image Clay Drawings
State University College of New York at Plattsburgh > Museum > Nina Winkel, Clay Drawings
Image: Dancer, 1957, mixed media (1987.7.137)
Dancer, 1957, mixed media (1987.7.137)
Burke Gallery
December 1, 2007 through January 20, 2008

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Winkel Sculpture Court

     In 1990, when the contents of Nina Winkel’s studio were being moved to the College Museum as part of her estate settlement, it became obvious that there was little, if any, two-dimensional visual work.
      In the traditional sense, there were no drawings (marks on a flat surface). At first, this was a puzzle and then a perceived problem and then an insight. After looking carefully at all of the gifted material and becoming more observant of Nina’s process, it was clear that her drawings were the clay studies – the quick three-dimensional jottings which formed a library of her ideas – formal and narrative. Over 250 of these concepts were kept on shallow shelves in the garage – noticed, observed, but not included by the artist in the dialogue surrounding her work — a private reference file.
      We were given a sketch book of beliefs, concerns and values of the artist, the sources of her inspiration and the shared styles of her heritage. After a full immersion in this work, one begins to sense its deep humanism. The narrative is the common experience of human life. As we look, this feeling becomes more specifically Mediterranean – clear and particularly comparable to the styles and forms of Tanagra figurines. The German definitive observation of Greek sculpture and connections to three-dimensional Helenistic expression becomes apparent. Some moments we are in Crete, others Pompeii or Pergamum, but always in the mainstream of our classical heritage.
      In addition to this ancient story, the structural aspect of the artist’s sensitivity displays a thorough understanding of the formal, textural and objective qualities of modernistic sculpture – Rodin, Renoir, Maillol, Picasso. Nina Winkel continues to enrich our artistic experience here at Plattsburgh. With these clay drawings, the sticato experience she establishes with the history of the past and the challenges of the present – personal and aesthetic, provides a new avenue for our exploration and knowledge.
      The Winkel Bequest and Trust Fund of the Plattsburgh College Foundation was established by George and Nina Winkel in 1994. It’s revenue allowed for the creation of the Winkel Sculpture Court, and the Nina Winkel Sculpture Collection and Archives. The Winkel Endowment generates funds for the Plattsburgh State Art Museum and special funds in the Visual Arts and Humanities, fostering student scholarships and faculty development.
      -Edward R. Brohel, Curator/Director

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Chronology (abbreviated)
Nina née Koch Winkel
1905 - born in Borken, Westfalen, Germany, daughter of Ernst and Augustine Bauer née Koch, May 21
1929-34 - studied at the Arts and Crafts School in Essen and the Dusseldorf Kunst Academy and was a student for two years at Staedel School in Frankfurt, Germany.
1934 - married George Winkel on December 15
1942 - fled Europe and settled with George in New York City
1945 - became a naturalized citizen of the United States
1951 - American Sculpture Exhibition, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Hodegetria (p.40 of catalogue)
1954 - moved from New York City to Keene Valley, NY
1964 - recipient of the Samuel F.B. Morse Gold Medal
1964 - National Academy of Design, E. Watrous Gold Medal
1967 - National Sculpture Society, bronze medal
1978 - Who’s Who of American Women, 11th Edition
1981 - returned to West Germany for a visit where they were welcomed back with a photo documentation of 100 of Nina’s works
1983 - selected the Plattsburgh State University as a repository for her work
1984 - Who’s Whom in the World, 7th Edition
1984 - finished School of Athens for her native country
1985 - received an honorary degree, Doctorate of Fine Arts, from the State of New York
1987 - dedication of the Nina Winkel Sculpture Court at Plattsburgh State
1990 - passed away at the Elizabethtown Community Hospital at the age of 85

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      The WINKEL SCULPTURE COURT is located on the second floor of the Myers Fine Arts Building. The enclosed atrium houses over 40 works by Nina Winkel. It is one of the largest spaces in the country devoted to art created by a woman. In 1984 the idea of creating a court for Nina Winkel’s art was conceived by former President Dr. Joseph C. Burke, and along with the College Council, he designated its use. It was designed by Pat Crosby, working with J. Derek Allan, Director of Facilities, and Edward R. Brohel, Director of the Plattsburgh State Art Museum.
      Financed by private donations to the Plattsburgh College Foundation, the courtyard is administered by the Plattsburgh State Art Museum and joins the Rockwell Kent Gallery and the Burke Gallery as part of the college’s Museum Without Walls.
      Nina Winkel’s sculpture was first shown at this College in an exhibition with the work of Dr. Edgar Barton. A definitive collection of her art was given to the college in 1984 which numbers over 300 sculptures, and clay studies. It is a comprehensive view of fifty years of her creative accomplishments. A philosophy of life animates the sculpture, while its formal and historical references include 20th century German expressionist art and late medieval religious and folk art of southern Germany. Opposing this expressionist direction, a strong current of classical interest is present, both in the iconography and the full balanced contours of the forms.
      This collection provides a wonderful resource for teaching lasting humanistic and social values.
Winkel Sculpture Court
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Burke Gallery
Gallery Hours: Daily, 12pm-4pm, closed legal holidays

This Exhibition is sponsored, in part, by the Plattsburgh State Student Association,
the Winkel Endowment, and the Friends of Art.

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Last Updated: December 5, 2007

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