Baskets by Leon Niehues, the Northwest Arkansas craftsman named as an Arkansas Living Treasure in 2005, go on exhibit today at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville. An artist's reception is from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., before the Martha Graham Dance Co. performance.
Niehues' baskets, made of split white oak, are both functional and objects of art and have earned him national acclaim. In the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, former Decorative Arts Museum director Alan DuBois described the baskets this way:
Niehues’s work is clean, strong, sinuous, tactile, visually appealing, and exhibits strong natural color. Many have bold design elements at the rims or front. Niehues’s work, rooted in traditional basket-making techniques of the nineteenth century, is well-crafted, but some collectors and enthusiasts consider it to be pushing the form into more of a contemporary idiom as an object to be contemplated for its beauty alone.