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From Their Closet to Your Wall

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Among the 80 works on display in "Engaging With the Present: The Contribution of the American Jewish Artists Club to Modern Art in Chicago, 1928-2004," which just came down at the Spertus Museum, were two by Louise Dunn Yochim: a stained-glass window design she did in 1980 and a 1948 oil, Mother and Child. In the earlier work, a fatigued (and perhaps despondent) young mother in braids and bandanna leans her head on one arm and cradles an equally exhausted tot in the other. The painting is about them, but also about the rich visual possibilities of fabric and skin, color and pattern. Yochim, like many of the club's early members, was an immigrant. She came to the United States from Ukraine in 1924, when she was 14, and met her husband, artist Maurice Yochim, at the School of the Art Institute, where she began to study in 1929. A graduate of the University of Chicago, she taught in many of the city's schools and colleges, wrote about art education and local art history, and served as president of the American Jewish Artists Club while continuing to make and exhibit her own work. She died in 2003, and the catalog for the Spertus show was dedicated to her memory. Now her family has donated some of her work to the Suburban Fine Arts Center's 16th Annual Recycled Art Sale, including an arch 1987 ink-on-paper drawing, Spectators ($35), and a couple of studies in oil--nudes with arresting faces--that look like they date back to her student days ($25 each). Prices, always a bargain at this event, are negotiable as it winds down; this year it ends August 20. It's open from 9 to 5 Monday through Saturday at the center, 1957 Sheridan in Highland Park; call 847-432-1888.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/courtesy Jerome and Shirley Yochim.

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