UM Art Museum to Celebrate 125 Years with Monte Dolack Exhibit

January 06, 2020

Monte Dolack, “Suspension of Belief,” 2013, acrylic on copper, collection of Drs. Reed Humphrey and Kim Mize-Humphrey. MISSOULA – The University of Montana Museum of Art and Culture will present the work of beloved Montana artist Monte Dolack as the inaugural exhibition of its 125th season.

An opening reception for “Monte Dolack: The Artist’s Nature” will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17, in the UM Performing Arts and Radio/TV Center lobby.

An alum of UM’s School of Visual and Media Arts, Dolack has helped define the nature and character of his home state of Montana for the past half-century. Along with Edgar Paxson, Charles M. Russell and Rudy Autio, he stands among those artists who have spread Montana’s fame worldwide.

The exhibit “Monte Dolack: The Artist’s Nature” will run from Jan. 17 to June 20 in the PAR/TV Center’s Meloy and Paxson galleries.

A lifelong resident of the Treasure State, Dolack grew up in Great Falls, where he fell in love with the diverse natural landscapes of the region. After studying at Montana State University, he studied at UM with several well-known artists, including Autio. He has lived in Missoula ever since.

On campus, Dolack drew cartoons for the Montana Kaimin, sold pottery at the first campus art fair and designed posters for the Aber Day kegger.

He began his career in a studio above the Top Hat restaurant, making a name for himself as both painter and graphic artist and designing everything from album covers to rubber stamps. He also created logos for many familiar Missoula businesses, such as Butterfly Herbs and the Trailhead.

From 1992 until 2015, he owned and managed a flourishing studio and gallery. His commercial success allowed him to pursue the artistic genre he loves best – paintings of the great outdoors that display both empathy and concern for the natural environment. 

Those interests brought him commissions from respected environmental organizations such as the Defenders of Wildlife, the Nature Conservancy and Trout Unlimited. He designed the official national commemorative poster for the 50th anniversary of the American Wilderness Act. 

He received the Montana Governor’s Award for the Arts in 2018 and the UM College of the Arts and Media’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2009. In 2000, the Missoulian selected him as one of the 100 most influential Montanans of the 20th century.

Dolack has traveled the world, painting and drawing in Antarctica, Europe, Egypt, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and South America and creating works that display his sense of humor, interests in mythology and storytelling, and, above all, profound love of nature and commitment to its preservation. He is known well beyond the state, and his works are part of private and museum collections across the country and the globe, from Japan to Ireland.

The MMAC exhibition brings together many of his original oil paintings, sketches, lithographs and posters.

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Contact: Rafael Chacón, UM Montana Museum of Art and Culture director, 406-243-2019, hrafael.chacon@umontana.edu.