Kurt Ullrich | Personal Collection of Iowa State Fair Photographs plus His Collection of Regional Artists Lithography & Originals

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Kurt Ullrich | Personal Collection of Iowa State Fair Photographs plus His Collection of Regional Artists Lithography & Originals

February 1 - March 31

Local Artist and Author, Kurt Ullrich, will have his Iowa State Fair photography collection on display during February and March, 2024.

The North Gallery will include his photography, most notably from the Iowa State Fair.

The South Gallery will host his collection of regional artists, signed lithographs and some original works of art.

An artist’s reception with Kurt will be held from 2 pm to 4 pm on Saturday, February 17th at Maquoketa Art Experience. Kurt will host a book signing so bring your copy, or you can purchase his book of photographs from the Iowa State Fair at the reception. 

Kurt has purchased 50 copies of his that have been donated to the Maquoketa Art Experience!

100% of the proceeds of the sales of those books benefit the Maquoketa Art Experience!


Iowa State Fair Photography Display

North Gallery: Kurt’s original snapshots of images from the Iowa State Fair will be on display, as will his book of State Fair images.


Signed Lithographs & Original Regional Artists

South Gallery: Signed lithographs and original regional artists from Kurt’s personal collection will be on display in the South Gallery. Items on display will include:

  • Grant Wood – Honorary Degree 1938 (first image in below grouping)
  • December Afternoon – 1941 (one of the three great American Regionalist painters)
  • Thomas Hart Benton – The Woodpile 1939 (second image in below grouping)
  • John Steuart Curry – Prize Stallions 1938 (one of the three great American Regionalist painters) (third image in below grouping)
  • Rockwell Kent – Boatman 1929 (studied with William Merritt chase)
  • John Bloom – Summer Eve 1985 (studied at Stone City with Grant Wood)
  • John Bloom – Pencil Drawing of Mother Reading Newspaper 1928
  • John Bloom – Pencil Drawing of Stone City 1932
  • Lee Allen – Rural Iowa 1930s (studied at Stone City with Grant Wood)
  • Edward Ferguson – Harvest 1939
  • Abe Blashko – Les Miserables 1939
  • Jackson Lee Nesbitt – September Storm 1989 (student of Thomas Hart Benton)
  • Roger Medearis – Family Reunion 1990 (student of Thomas Hart Benton) (fourth image in below grouping)
  • Don Emil Glasell – Sledding (ink drawing) 1930s
  • William Kautzman – Evening Chore 1991 (student of Thomas Hart Benton)


Artist’s Statement:

All of this began rather unceremoniously in the early 1970s when a fellow student (John Meyer) at Wartburg College asked me if I’d be interested in becoming a photographer for Wartburg’s Office of Public Information, as well as for the college newspaper, yearbook, and any department on campus in need of a photographer. John taught me camera basics, as well as how to develop and print photos. In those days we only shot in black and white, something I continue to this day. In addition to working for Wartburg I began to shoot more artsy, less-journalistic photos and was fortunate to have work published in publications like the Des Moines Register Sunday Magazine. I suppose it was during that time that I realized photography was an excellent medium for telling stories, both as stand-alone photos and as photos accompanying written work. I am best known for my written work.

My first paid column was in 1970 when I was in high school, a column that appeared in the Chicago Tribune. For more than 30 years my columns, often accompanied by my photos, have appeared regularly in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Baltimore Sun, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Houston Chronicle, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Iowan Magazine, Des Moines Register, Cedar Rapids Gazette, Quad-City Times, and Dubuque Telegraph Herald, and others. In 2023 the Telegraph Herald will be publishing a 60-page ‘magazine’ of my columns and photos. All proceeds will benefit the Fund for Local Journalism. My photos alone have also been published in the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and many other publications.

What I do is classic “street photography,” a form of art practiced for a long time by such luminaries as Robert Frank, Vivian Maier, Bruce Davison, and many others, all of whom have influenced my work. As a fan of the Iowa State Fair I proposed an idea for a photo book to the good folks at the University of Iowa Press and, very quickly, they responded favorably. They incorporated all of my suggestions. i.e. black & white photos, format, size, number of essays. The only thing I was not allowed to choose? The cover photo! They loved the goat. The CEO/Manager of the fair, Jeremy Parsons recently told me that “The Iowa State Fair” is a “wonderful book – incredible writing and stunning photos.” 

That sort of sentiment is why I’d like to make the photos available to as many in Iowa as possible. The fair is an important part of the history of the state and I believe I did a relatively decent job of bringing some of that history to life, on a very personal level, not just for me but for anyone who loves the fair. It’s a collection of snapshots that reveal oft-lost cultural and spiritual truths here in the heartland. In the end, a state fair is about people, people who participate and people who visit, and I hope my photos appeal to both groups. It’s a ‘come with me, take my hand, let’s walk around and see what we can see’ approach to the art of photography.


February 1
March 31
Event Category:


Maquoketa Art Experience
124 S Main St
Maquoketa, IA 52060
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Maquoketa Art Experience & Layers of Maquoketa
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