Preserving Local Art: New Donation to the Regional Art Collection - CSPM
View from Templeton Gap, ca. 1882 by Charles Craig, Courtesy of Pikes Peak Community Foundation on behalf of the Estate of Nelson Rieger

Preserving Local Art: New Donation to the Regional Art Collection

Caitlin Sharpe, CSPM Registrar

View from Templeton Gap, ca. 1882 by Charles Craig, Courtesy of Pikes Peak Community Foundation on behalf of the Estate of Nelson Rieger

The Pikes Peak region has a rich artistic legacy. Inspired by Pikes Peak, the Rocky Mountains, and the scenic beauty of the area, many artists traveled through the area while others lived and worked in the region full time. Since its founding in 1896, the museum has collected art and archival materials documenting the history of local artists and continues to do so today. In fact, some of the first pieces donated to the CSPM collection were paintings by William H. Bancroft, Walter Paris, and Charles Craig. 

In honor of Arts Month we are pleased to share a significant new addition to our collection of regionalist art. The generous donation of five paintings was made possible by the Pikes Peak Community Foundation (PPCF) on behalf of the Estate of Nelson “Buz” Rieger. An avid collector of art and artifacts, Buz Rieger wrote books on two important regional artists, Charles Craig and John Harrison Mills. The five donated paintings came from his private collection at the recommendation of Mr. Rieger’s daughter, Ann Rieger Matthews. The staff and Board of the CSPM are extremely grateful to the Pikes Peak Community Foundation and the Rieger Family for ensuring that these beautiful and irreplaceable pieces of Pikes Peak regional history are preserved in perpetuity.

Pikes Peak Above Ruxton Creek, 1882, by Charles Craig, Courtesy of Pikes Peak Community Foundation on behalf of the Estate of Nelson
Pikes Peak Above Ruxton Creek, 1882, by Charles Craig, Courtesy of Pikes Peak Community Foundation on behalf of the Estate of Nelson
Wagon on the Road to Pikes Peak, ca. 1890, by Charles Craig, Courtesy of Pikes Peak Community Foundation
Wagon on the Road to Pikes Peak, ca. 1890, by Charles Craig, Courtesy of Pikes Peak Community Foundation

The donation includes four paintings by Charles Craig: Cheyenne Mountain Sunrise Above Fountain Creek, ca. 1902, Pikes Peak Above Ruxton Creek, 1882, Wagon on the Road to Pikes Peak, ca. 1890, and View from Templeton Gap, ca. 1882. These paintings depict recognizable features of our local landscape and are fantastic additions to the museum’s collection of over 45 works of art by Charles Craig (1846-1931.) Craig arrived in Colorado Springs in 1881 from Zanesville, Ohio. His work was displayed widely in Colorado Springs, most notably in the Antlers Hotel lobby, Colorado College, and above the stairways of the 1903 El Paso County Courthouse, now the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. 

Also included in the donation is the painting, Cripple Creek Mines, ca. 1940, by Ernestine Parsons (1884-1967.) Born in Boonville, Missouri, Parsons graduated from Colorado College and Columbia University. She studied at the Broadmoor Art Academy as well as the Art Students League of New York. As an artist, Parsons was known for her distinct “flowing style” and abstract realism which she used to paint Colorado mountain landscapes, mining towns, and local scenes. Parsons served on the Board of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and was a charter member of the Colorado Springs Art Guild. She also taught art in local schools and advocated for women’s rights as a member of the National Woman’s Party. She exhibited both locally and nationally at venues such as the Carnegie International, the longest-running North American exhibition of international art. Prior to the Rieger Collection donation, the CSPM had only two paintings by Earnestine Parsons.  This beautiful painting is a significant addition to the CSPM collection and we are excited to share it with you in an upcoming exhibition (date tbd) featuring women artists of the Pikes Peak region.

Cheyenne Mountain Sunrise Above Fountain Creek, ca. 1902, by Charles Craig, Courtesy of Pikes Peak
Cheyenne Mountain Sunrise Above Fountain Creek, ca. 1902, by Charles Craig, Courtesy of Pikes Peak
Cripple Creek Mines, ca. 1940, by Ernestine Parsons, Courtesy of Pikes Peak Community Foundation on behalf of the Estate of Nelson Rieger
Cripple Creek Mines, ca. 1940, by Ernestine Parsons, Courtesy of Pikes Peak Community Foundation on behalf of the Estate of Nelson Rieger

Caitlin Sharpe, CSPM Registrar, manages the CSPM’s object collection which comprises over 70,000 artifacts ranging from artwork to paleontological specimens. The collection is at the core of the institution’s mission. Interested in learning more? Visit www.cspm.org/collections.

719.385.5654 | caitlin.sharpe@coloradosprings.gov