The Graystone Society's National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum, located in the Lukens National Historic District in Coatesville, proudly announces the acquisition and debut of The Grutzka Art Collection. The collection is the life work of Germanborn artist, Klaus Guido Grutzka. Part of the immense collection will be on display at The Coatesville Country Club on March 21, one week shy of the second anniversary of the artist's passing. Visitors will be able to view first-hand the spellbinding works of this master of machine imagery.
James D. Ziegler, The Graystone Society's National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum's Executive Director, lauds the acquisition, "We were contacted by the family of Klaus Grutzka, who was familiar with the fact that he had painted mills and furnaces of Lukens Steel. They wondered if we were interested in acquiring all or some of his collection? Scott G. Huston, Graystone's President, Eugene Di Orio, Graystone's past Vice President, and I visited Mr. Grutzka's Lancaster County studio. We immediately saw the collection's significance to the iron and steel story that we exhibit here at The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum (NISHM) and wish to preserve it."
Of note, Martha Mc Geary Snider is advising on the collection for The Graystone Society. Ms. Sniderserved as Governor Edward G. Rendell's Policy Advisor on Arts and Culture for The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania during his administration.
Klaus Grutzka, always fascinated with heavy machinery, shipbuilding and Diesel engines, came to love images of coal mining and steel mill industry. In his life, he would work for many giants of the industry, and even created the famous logo for Union Brewery. The label with the unmistakable "U" on every bottle is a steady reminder of his work. He also created hundreds of magazine covers for "33", a magazine that touted the steel industry. For his largest client, Bethlehem Steel, he was commissioned to create paintings of their steel mills. With Bethlehem's subsequent closing of their plant, these images would become the last remaining vestiges of the plant. His career took an interesting twist when he became Assistant Professor in the Arts Department at the world famous Hill School in Pottstown, Pa. He remained there for eight years. He spent his last 20 years working in his Lancaster County Studio.
"That studio," says Jim Ziegler, "was painstakingly dismantled and we are in the process of recreating it in The Lukens National Historic District. If you have ever been to the Smithsonian Institution and seen Julia Child's kitchen, it's the same principal exhibited here. We have all of his studio furniture, as well as his art supplies." NISHM plans to exhibit the studio, and also add the paintings into the collections that are relevant to NISHM. They will then release and sell paintings which are not germane to the museum's purposes of education.
NISHM will also be honoring Regina Horton Lewis with the seventh annual Rebecca Lukens Award that evening. Ms. Lewis is a Coatesville Community Leader of note. Her tireless acts have helped to bring about the revitalization of Coatesville. James Ziegler applauds this years' choice for the Seventh Annual Rebecca Lukens Award. "Regina Horton Lewis is a stellar choice for this award. Her effervescence, her passion, and her love for the city of Coatesville mirror Rebecca's own ambitions for Coatesville. Like Rebecca before her, her community and the people within it are all important to her. Both women exemplified how strong convictions and deep roots are the building blocks for change."