Magazine Feature / People

Nagel Hall interior to become a work of art

Works by nearly two dozen acclaimed painters from Colorado and France will be permanently exhibited in the public spaces of DU’s new residence, Nagel Hall.

The Nagel Hall Art Collection will be installed in July in anticipation of the Aug. 21 scheduled dedication and fall opening of the $39.8 million, 364-bed residence hall.

“We purchased the work on behalf of the University so these are now part of the University’s art holdings,” says Dan Jacobs, art curator and Myhren Gallery director. “They’re designed specifically for Nagel Hall and we’ll be hanging them in the public spaces — corridors, lobbies etc.”

The project was inspired by DU Trustee Ralph Nagel, who contributed $4 million to the residence hall construction project and who is an accomplished landscape artist in his own right (

Jacobs says it was important to Nagel that the art collection be displayed in a place important to undergraduates and not sequestered in one of the University’s “higher-end public spaces.”

The sizes of the paintings vary. Most are oils or acrylics on canvas or board, though the collection will also include several watercolors. Themes will mostly be landscapes with a few still lifes, Jacobs says. No “avante garde, conceptual work or abstract work” will be included.

Among works reflecting Colorado are an oil-on-linen painting by prominent landscape artist Joellyn Duesberry titled Arkansas River, Salida, CO; and an oil-on-linen panel by Karen Vance titled North Platte River Valley.

Information about each art work and the painter who created it will be available via a new cell phone-based audio tour.

“For every object, there’ll be a phone number,” Jacobs says. “You just dial in.”

Jacobs notes that the cell-phone audio system is intended to replace the hardware that art patrons often use for guided tours when they visit museum collections.

Eventually, he says, the Nagel cell phone system will be extended to provide information about outdoor art pieces scattered across campus and works inside the Myhren Gallery.

One of the works in the Nagel collection will be an oil on canvas by Nagel himself, titled Fall Landscape III: Glendale Farm. The collection also will include a portrait of Nagel and his wife, Trish, by Wendy Wray.

Artists participating in the project so far are: Judith Babcock; Katy Charles; Jeff Desautels; Martine Dohy; Joellyn Duesberry; Beth Eller; Daniel Fisher; Vivian George; Carol Goldberg-Goldberg; Nancy Porteous Johnson; Linda Van Gilder Kelley; Pierre LeCacheux; Linda Lowry; Cindy McCoy; Ralph Nagel; Boris Shoshensky; Karen Vance; Peggy Venable; Kevin Weckbach; Denise Bellon West; Marsha Wooley; and Wendy Wray.

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