Genoa artist subject of retrospective
February 13, 2018
When Hans Meyer-Kassel was painting a portrait of the Mason's Hall in Genoa he had company in the form of his young nephew, Bill Brooks.
Brooks donated the copyright for the painting to use for Genoa's next Candy Dance poster.
Brooks's aunt was Maria Meyer-Kassel's sister.
He said the entire family came to the United States from Germany after World War I.
Meyer-Kassel was a famous painter before he came to the United States, and was dubbed professor by Kaiser Wilhelm after painting a portrait of the ruler's niece, according to his obituary published in The Record-Courier.
Brooks was only 6 or 7 years old when Meyer-Kassel died Aug. 29, 1952, in Nevada's oldest town after moving there in 1945.
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Last week, Genoa Town Board members heard a presentation about a retrospective opening at the Nevada Museum of Art of Meyer-Kassel's work.
Museum Director of Communications Amanda Horn said Meyer-Kassel was a prolific artist, who worked up until the time of his death.
He would donate paintings to serve as a door prize at Candy Dance, long before the craft fair became the main source of funding for the town.
Museum of Art Communications Director Amanda Horn said the retrospective begins on Feb. 24.
"Bill Brooks and Jack Bacon have worked really closely together to bring this retrospective to the Nevada Museum of Art along with our curator, Ann Wolfe," Horn said. "This has been a labor of love for several years."
Many of Meyer-Kassel's paintings are in private hands, which made the retrospective that much more of a challenge.
"Many of these works have been living in private collections for several years, behind closed doors," she said. "Jack went on a search to find all these paintings so it is a true retrospective."
Bacon published the 204-page book, which contains 100 full-color plates. Copies became available for $40 last week.
"His efforts resulted in the exhibition, and the incredible book," Horn said. "This is an exciting time to bring all this history together in one place."
She said Meyer-Kassel was revered in his native Germany, but found it difficult to make a living after the end of the war.
He fell in love with the West when he went to exhibit in Pasadena.
"When he came out West for the first time, he totally fell in love," she said. "Reno was a hip hop happening place at that time, right. It still is, but in terms of cities in the West, it was a good place to come."
Meyer-Kassel's work appeared in national publications, and one of his paintings was made into a postage stamp to celebrate Genoa's centennial.
As part of the celebration, a monument to Meyer-Kassel will be dedicated on May 19 in front of the Genoa Courthouse Museum, where Brooks went to elementary school before it was closed and turned over to the Douglas County Historical Society.
As part of the retrospective, Historical Society President Dennis Little said one of the museum lectures will discuss Meyer-Kassel's legacy.
On March 1, the Reno art museum will feature a members night where Bacon, Wolfe and Clifton will be signing copies of the book.
The museum is located at 160 W. Liberty St., Reno. For more information, visit http://www.nevadaart.org.