The mysterious Kansas Room painting
Turn left at the Goodland Public Library‘s check-in desk at 812 Broadway. Go all the way to the back to find the Kansas Room, then look to the left to see the oil painting, “The Gleaners”. It covers nearly the entire west wall. The painting is a copy of Jean-François Millet’s painting, “Gleaners”, which now hangs in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris.
The painting’s origin has a mystery surrounding it. Apparently First National Bank commissioned the painting as a decoration for its newly-remodeled facility at 1102 Main. The Western Kansas News reported in its that it had been painted by “a former Polish count now living in Kansas City.” In the Nov. 3, 1921, issue, the newspaper said (PDF) that the painting was hanging on the west wall above the vault “and was the subject of much wonderment and praise.”
So who was this Polish count? No one knows. The records are silent.
The second mystery surrounding the painting
But another mystery surrounds the Goodland painting. When did it leave the bank and when did it arrive the library? No one knows. Records do not tell when the painting came to the library. The bank moved to 202 E. 11th in 1965. Did it move with the bank or did it stay in the building for the next tenant? Records are silent. The library building was built in 1975, but no records mention the painting’s installation then or later.
The mysteries remain unsolved.
More to enjoy
Also enjoy Kansas painter and printmaker Birger Sandzen’s works in the Kansas Room and the adjacent librarian’s office. Library posts rotating displays in the area outside the Kansas Room. Go to the library’s meeting room to see the rescued stained glass window.
The library offers free wireless Internet access and computers to use. Besides books, periodicals, audio and video, cake pans and other items to check out, the library offers programming for adults and children. See the library’s website or call 1-785-899-5461.
Open September-May, Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; June-August, Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mountain Time.