Sheldon to name gallery in honor of Rohman family

Released on 07/29/2005, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Lincoln, Neb., July 29th, 2005 —

The Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will name its first permanent collection gallery space on July 30 in honor of alumnus Carl "Ky" H. Rohman and his family. The Rohmans are among the museum's most supportive benefactors.

Members of the Rohman family have supported the Sheldon for many years and have donated more than 60 pieces of art through the University of Nebraska Foundation and the Nebraska Art Association.

To coincide with naming of the Rohman Gallery, the Sheldon installed a new exhibition featuring work collected by the Rohman family. These works, which include 19th-century still lifes, portraits and landscapes as well as examples of American modernism and folk, opens to the public on July 31. "For more than 40 years, the Rohman family has been a leader in the arts in Nebraska," said Harvey Perlman, chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. "It is hard to find an art initiative in Nebraska that doesn't involve Ky and Jane Rohman. Ky's gentle and often humorous prodding and counsel have been of enormous help to me in trying to advance the Sheldon and the other art activities of the university.

"Nebraskans in the future who are elevated by a trip to Sheldon, who are energized by the Meadowlark Music Festival, who are expanded by the Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney or who in other ways feed their spirit with art will have, as I do, much for which to thank the Rohmans."

Janice Driesbach, director of the Sheldon, said support from the Rohman family has enabled the gallery to assemble a premier collection of American art.

"Because of the Rohman family's keen interest in early American art and 19th-century paintings, including major works by American realist and Impressionist painters, the gallery's collection today better represents all areas of American art," Driesbach said. "The interest the Rohmans have demonstrated in the arts -- their intelligent appreciation and passion to share with the community -- is remarkable. They have not only directly shaped the Sheldon's collections, but also set an example that inspires others."

Carl Rohman has been a member of Sheldon's board since 1990 and served as the chairman from 1996 to 2002. He and his wife, Jane Rohman, a member of the Nebraska Art Association's board, continue to contribute to the growth of Sheldon's collections.

Carl Rohman graduated with a business degree from the University of Nebraska in 1942 and completed a law degree there in 1947. A retired business entrepreneur, he owned and operated Uniservice Inc., a textile rental service company.

Rohman's first wife, Lorraine LeMar Rohman, who died in 1988, was a two-term president (1975-77) and life trustee of the Nebraska Art Association. Among the many donations they made together are paintings by noted 19th-century American painters Ralph Albert Blakelock and Emil Carlsen.

Gifts of art made in Lorraine Rohman's memory include a still life by Martin Johnson Heade, one of America's great 19th-century painters. Others include Augustus Vincent Tack's "Abstraction," Boris Lovet-Lorski's bronze sculpture "On Parade (Stallions)," and a rare portfolio of William Sharp's signature chromolithographs titled "American Water Lily."

Carl and Jane Rohman's gifts include sculptures by Scott Burton and Robert Rauschenberg and a painting by Hugo Robus. They have also provided gifts in recognition of other Sheldon patrons. These include the aluminum sculpture "Transverse Polar" by Theodore Roszak in honor of George W. Neubert, a sculpture by Alice Morgan Wright in memory of Jane Pope Geske, and a notable seascape painting by Francis A. Silva in memory of Thomas C. Woods III.

The Rohman family also supported the acquisition of several major sculptures to the Nebraska Art Association and university collections, including an Alexander Calder sculpture and the "Torn Notebook" by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.

Gifts from Carl Rohman's mother, Beatrice Rohman, to the Nebraska Art Association include art by noted Boston painter William McGregor Paxton and American Impressionist artist Theodore Wendel. Thomas Crawford's marble sculpture "Truants (The Bird's Nest)" of 1856 and Guy Pene du Bois' oil painting "Timid Model" were also among her gifts. In addition, Lilian Wescott Hale's "The Convalescent (Zeffy in Bed)," a favorite painting among Sheldon visitors, was acquired though the Beatrice D. Rohman Fund.

Driesbach said art donated by Carl Rohman and his family has been especially important in developing the museum's historical collections, an area often challenging to develop. "Artists such as Martin Johnson Heade were often not appreciated when their work was available and relatively affordable to museums; many acquisitions by the Rohmans were made with foresight and an awareness of the needs of Sheldon," she said.

In addition to supporting the Sheldon, Carl and Jane Rohman are recognized for supporting many other art organizations and events in Nebraska. Their enjoyment of opera has led to support for Opera Omaha and the UNL opera program. They are supporters of the Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney, and Jane Rohman has enjoyed supporting the Meadowlark Music Festival.

The Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden houses both the Nebraska Art Association collection founded in 1888 and the University of Nebraska collection initiated in 1929. Together they comprise more than 12,000 works of art in all media. This comprehensive collection of American art includes prominent holdings of 19th-century landscape and still life, American Impressionism, early Modernism, geometric abstraction, Abstract Expressionism, pop art, minimalism and contemporary art.

The University of Nebraska Foundation is a nonprofit charitable organization supplementing support for students, faculty, facilities and programs at the University of Nebraska's four campuses through gifts from alumni, friends, corporations and other foundations since 1936.

CONTACTS: Janice Driesbach, Director, Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, (402) 472-2461; and
Robb Crouch, Director of Public Relations, NU Foundation, (402) 472-0151