‘The Last Hurrah’ is a triumphant final show from Dan Howard

“The Last Hurrah: New Paintings & Drawings” is the final show from Dan Howard, a titan of Nebraska art.

Now 86, Howard, who has more than 600 works in corporate, private and public art collections, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Nashville’s The Parthenon, is closing down his six-decade career by showing 27 new works at Kiechel Fine Art in downtown Lincoln.

“This will be my last major exhibition of new art work (I promise); my body and the calendar are indicators pointing to this conclusion,” Howard writes in his artist’s statement for the show. “This artistic career has been a wonderful ride with some pitfalls along the way, but no profession is without misgivings and mistakes.”

In creating the paintings and drawings from late 2015 through six weeks ago, Howard intentionally linked the new pieces to what he has done throughout his career. That makes “The Last Hurrah” a different kind of retrospective — a glimpse at the themes and techniques that have carried the artist for 60 years.

Throughout his career, Howard has innovatively melded representation and abstract, a technique that is easily seen in “St. Pats Ldscp” and “Layered Landscape,” each clearly identifiable as a landscape but painted with active brushwork and looseness that pushes them to abstraction.

That technique even works with pen-and-ink drawing, as “Layered Landscape Two” demonstrates with its depiction of glacier movement in Patagonia adorned with a ragged passage of light blue oil stick.

A collector of vintage comic book and comic strip art, Howard has done entire shows inspired by the comics. Here, he provides three pieces with that theme.

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