Montana museum to host major railroad art exhibit

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This Northern Pacific painting by Gil Bennett is among those on display.
KALISPELL, Mont. – The work of more than 30 prominent railroad artists will be on display this fall at the Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell. “Hear the Whistle Blow: Art of the Railway” runs Sept. 27 through Dec. 7 and is being heralded as a “one-of-a-kind exhibit.”

The exhibit will feature nearly 50 different pieces of art, including the works of such legendary railroad painters as Howard Fogg and Ted Rose. Some of the pieces are evening being painted just for the show, says co-curator Rob Akey of Whitefish. Akey specializes in landscapes but grew up in a railroad town and says he’s always appreciated trains. He is preparing an oil painting of a Great Northern Railway steam locomotive at the Whitefish roundhouse in the 1940s.

Akey has been working on the exhibit with Jack Dykstra for almost two years and have searched high and low for some of the best railroad art available. “One of my criteria was that if you put your thumb over the train, is it still a good painting?” Dykstra says.

Dykstra says the exhibit will explore how artists have been captivated by railroads for more than a century. Besides original art, the exhibit will feature artifacts borrowed from the Stumptown Historical Society Museum in the old Great Northern depot in Whitefish.

The Hockaday was founded with the mission to preserve the artistic legacy of Glacier National Park and the surrounding region. Among its holdings include art that was originally commissioned by the Great Northern in the early 20th century to promote Glacier Park.

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Complex railroad locations.

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