Photo: Brandson Stevenson (1901–1989), detail of untitled, ink on paper, 1969, copyright the artist.

Branson Stevenson: A Short Gleam

October 20 2010 - February 27 2011

Branson Stevenson was born in Franklin County, Georgia, in 1901, and passed away in Great Falls, Montana in 1989. He was a painter, printmaker, sculptor, craftsman, and teacher. He was raised in Panama, where his father was a canal engineer then worked in Colombia prior to coming to Montana, where he and his brothers bought into one of the first Montana oil wells. In 1931, he joined the Mobil Oil Company and retired in 1960 as Mobil's Montana manager.

Stevenson exhibited paintings and prints in Montana as early as 1936 and was legendary for sharing not only his own work but other artists' work as he traveled the state on a lecture circuit. Frances Senska reminisced about him borrowing ceramics and prints from her-including Autio and Voulkos pots-to present at Chamber of Commerce meetings in remote parts of Montana. He played a leading role in many arts organizations, including the Montana Institute of the Arts, Montana Historical Society, CM Russell Museum, and the Archie Bray Foundation.

MAM's Collection grows primarily through gifts from artists and patrons. In this case, the ceramic vessel came from Maxine Blackmer and the prints and letters from Terry Melton. MAM would like to acknowledge their generosity.