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The University of Tennessee Health Science Center Gives
Painting By the Late Paul Penczner to 36-Year College of Dentistry
Employee Depicted as 'Little Girl in a Dirndl'
Pat Kerr Tigrett, Jolanda Penczner to Co-Host Reception to Celebrate Artist's Legacy
Memphis, Tenn. (July 31, 2012) – Chancellor Steve J. Schwab, MD, and Ken Brown, JD, MPH, PhD, FACHE, executive vice chancellor and chief operations officer, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), have donated a painting by the late artist Paul Penczner to College of Dentistry employee Beatrice Pegram Davis. Davis, who has been employed with UTHSC for 36 years, had her image captured as a five year old in the painting titled, "Little Girl in a Dirndl." The richly colored work depicts the tow-haired child wearing a red and black dirndl -- a traditional German dress.
In spring 2011, more than 400 works were donated to UTHSC by the artist's widow Jolanda Penczner, along with her husband's fine art studio in Midtown Memphis. The works are available for online viewing and purchase in cohorts of 20 or so at http://uthsc.edu/penczner/. On November 8, Memphis philanthropist and designer Pat Kerr Tigrett, who is also a former art student of Paul Penczner's, and Jolanda Penczner will co-host a reception for 200 guests at the Botanic Garden to celebrate the artistŐs legacy.
All proceeds from the sale of the Penczner collection will support an endowment in his name in the UTHSC Department of Physiology, which is ranked second in funding among all such departments in the nation. For more information, contact Kathleen Stern, who is administering sale of the works on behalf of UTHSC, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Penczner became acquaintances with the Pegram family through the Germania Club of Memphis. In 1956, he painted the portrait of Davis from a photo her father -- the now 85-year-old Robert Pegram of Somerville, Tenn. -- had given him. According to Davis, the photo had to be given to the artist because "she refused to sit still" for the session.
Using personal funds, Chancellor Schwab and Dr. Brown purchased the portrait from the university to ensure that UTHSC received the full, appropriate value for the painting and to ensure that Davis can preserve the image as a family heirloom. On July 23, UTHSC Chancellor Steve J. Schwab, MD, Dr. Brown and Dean Timothy Hottel, who leads the UTHSC College of Dentistry, presented Davis and her father with the painting.
"To be able to bring this portrait home after 55 years is truly a miracle," said Davis. "It will be a proud reminder of my German heritage and the love my parents had for me to preserve that childhood image. I am deeply grateful to the Penczner family, Dr. Brown, and my University of Tennessee family of the last 36 years for this honor."
Recognized as a remarkable painter and extraordinary personality, Penczner is known for evocative portraiture and a dizzying array of artistic styles, working in mediums that include oils, watercolors, pen and ink, and large installations. The Hungarian-born artist came to Memphis in 1951 with his German-born wife Jolanda, quickly earning a reputation as one of the city's finest painters and most generous instructors. His portraits hang throughout the city of Memphis and in many private collections elsewhere.
Throughout his career, Penczner's commissioned portraits proved quite popular, providing his family with a steady income. In fact, many years ago it was through commissioned portraits of UTHSC department chairs that he first became aware of the university community. But it was the noncommissioned work he undertook -- the painting he did to satisfy himself – that won him critical acclaim and a lasting place in the history of modern art.
From the 1950s on, Penczner showed his diverse body of work at more than 70 major art exhibitions throughout the United States, including the Smithsonian, the New York National Academy of Design, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Locally it was shown in the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, and Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. He also has works in The White House collection in Washington, D.C., and in the Vatican collection in Italy.
As the flagship statewide academic health system, the mission of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) is to bring the benefits of the health sciences to the achievement and maintenance of human health, with a focus on the citizens of Tennessee and the region, by pursuing an integrated program of education, research, clinical care, and public service. In 2011, UT Health Science Center celebrated its centennial: 100 years advancing the future of health care. Offering a broad range of postgraduate training opportunities, the main UTHSC campus is located in Memphis and includes six colleges: Allied Health Sciences, Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. The UTHSC campus in Knoxville includes a College of Medicine, College of Pharmacy, and an Allied Health Sciences unit. In addition, the UTHSC Chattanooga campus includes a College of Medicine and an Allied Health Sciences unit. Since its founding in 1911, UTHSC has educated and trained more than 53,000 health care professionals on campuses and in health care facilities across the state. For more information, visit www.uthsc.edu.
This study quantifies the economic impact of the UTHSC on the economy of the state of Tennessee for FY2010.
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