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Monday, September 27, 2010

Artist and USI friend Stephen S. Pace: 1918-2010

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Stephen Pace and Michael Aakhus discuss art with a USI student.
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Artist Stephen S. Pace, a long-time friend of the University of Southern Indiana and prominent member of the New York Abstract Expressionists, died September 23, 2010, in Evansville, at the age of 91.

"Dr. Stephen Pace was a remarkable artist who I very much admire," said Michael Aakhus, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts. "He was at the center of the Abstract Expressionist movement in the 1950's and produced some of the most significant artistic statements of that time. He will be much missed by his friends and family but he will live on in our memories and through his art."

Pace and his wife Palmina F. Pace, who survives him, returned to Indiana from homes in New York and Maine in 2007. Generous donors to the USI Foundation, the couple's $1.5 million gift helped establish the Palmina F. and Stephen S. Pace Galleries in the Kenneth P. McCutchan Art Center, which opened in 2008. Two hundred and twenty five paintings, watercolors, drawings, and sketch books were part of the gift.

Five Pace paintings previously given to the USI Foundation that now hang in University buildings and 25 paintings and other works from the gift comprise USI's permanent Stephen S. Pace Collection.

Pace's ties to Indiana were forged when he was a young man. He moved with his family to New Harmony, Indiana, when he was 17. He studied under Evansville artist Robert Lahr in the late 1930s. His work has been exhibited in the nation's most important galleries and museums. A New York Times review hailed his work for its "highly sophisticated use of color and bold, joyous composition."

Pace was the recipient of many honors and recognitions. He received an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from USI in 2002 and was given the Jimmy Ernst Award in Art by the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2004.

Upon his return to Indiana, Pace worked with USI art students in the classroom and the studio. The Paces also endowed an art scholarship for USI students.

"Stephen and Pam Pace have been an important part of the University of Southern Indiana community," said President Linda L. M. Bennett. "We are deeply saddened by Stephen's passing. His legacy to USI is leaving a collection of work that will enrich the learning environment for many students and artists now and in future generations."

Family, friends, and colleagues are sending memories, photos, and comments to a web page In Memoriam for Stephen S. Pace at www.usi.edu/pace/. Memories, both serious and/or funny, photos, and comments can be submitted throughout this year.

Maine artist Stephen Pace dies at Indiana home - The Portland Press Herald

Stephen pace, internationally-known artist, dies at 91 - Evansville Courier & Press



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