CMNW Council

Final call for a Newport original

Art by the late Juergen Eckstein is included in an online sale and show at the Newport Visual Arts Center.

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A three-month online art exhibit at the Newport Visual Arts Center will showcase Oregon artists and raise money for the artists and the center. It also is likely to be one of the last opportunities to buy a piece of art by the late Juergen Eckstein, who died Oct. 31 at age 77, following a stroke.

“Juergen’s art is just stacked downstairs,” said his wife, Dianne Eckstein. “He has so much work. It seems to me it should be in a good place.”

Juergen Eckstein invited all of Newport to join “The Yellow Umbrella Project” in 2004. “First individuals, forming trickles as others join creating streams of yellow umbrellas as they move closer towards the center of Nye Beach where they gather as a sea of yellow,” he wrote on his website. Photo courtesy: Gary Lahman
Juergen Eckstein invited all of Newport to join “The Yellow Umbrella Project” in 2004. “First individuals, forming trickles as others join creating streams of yellow umbrellas as they move closer towards the center of Nye Beach where they gather as a sea of yellow,” he wrote on his website. Photo courtesy: Gary Lahman

Eckstein, who is considering a move, gave two paintings and one sculpture to the city to be displayed in Newport City Hall.

Juergen Eckstein was a German native who traveled the world before settling with Dianne in Newport in 2000. A familiar presence around Newport, he co-founded the For ArtSake artist co-op and created the driftwood sculptures that stand outside the Newport Performing Arts Center and the Visual Arts Center. He was self-taught and worked in almost all mediums, including oil wash, wood, and pottery, his wife said.

“If he found a stone or piece of wood, he’d see something in it and go from there. He’d find something on the beach and make something of it,” she said. “He was always seeing something in an object that I wouldn’t. I think he just had a very wonderful imagination.”

The Oregon Coast Online Art Show, open to artists who have shown previously at the center, who live on the coast, or who are members of the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts (OCCA), received more than 120 submissions. All of the work has been organized and presented remotely. The show goes live Friday, May 29, and continues through Sept. 7.

The art will be for sale with 50 percent (45 percent for OCCA members) of the proceeds benefiting the arts council. The minimum sale price is $50. Artists are limited to one piece of art per person, but once it sells, they can replace it with another piece. All sold artwork will be shipped or delivered to purchasers following distancing protocols, said Tom Webb, executive director of the center.

Sponsor

Seattle Repertory Theatre Fat Ham

The first Eckstein piece that will be available is an untitled oil on canvas, framed in black wood, brushed with gold. Dianne Eckstein may also make pieces of his sculpture available. 

This untitled oil on canvas (24 by 30 inches, $225) is the first piece by the late Juergen Eckstein scheduled be sold in the Oregon Coast Online Art Show at the Newport Visual Arts Center.
This untitled oil on canvas (24 by 30 inches, $225) is the first piece by the late Juergen Eckstein scheduled be sold in the Oregon Coast Online Art Show at the Newport Visual Arts Center.

“If there is an interest in the sculpture, they are sitting on a shelf in my garage, and they are really fantastic,” she said. “I would think people would want one of his clay works.”

The artwork isn’t necessarily discounted, she said, but the pieces are more affordable than they might have been previously. 

“I am not selling at the prices Juergen wanted originally, because they didn’t sell and I can’t take them with me. I would rather they were in a home where people knew and loved Juergen and wanted part of his creativity in their home.”

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This story is supported in part by a grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust, investing in Oregon’s arts, humanities and heritage, and the Lincoln County Cultural Coalition.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

Lori Tobias is a journalist of many years, and was a staff writer for The Oregonian for more than a decade, and a columnist and features writer for the Rocky Mountain News. Her memoir “Storm Beat – A Journalist Reports from the Oregon Coast” was published in 2020 by Oregon State University press. She is also the author of the novel Wander, winner of the 2017 Nancy Pearl Book Award for literary fiction and a finalist for the 2017 International Book Awards for new fiction. She lives on the Oregon Coast with her husband Chan and rescue pup Gus.

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