Exotic Travels, Eclectic Art
Ponca City is home to an unusual treasure trove.
Oklahoma is vast with secrets, and one of those secrets rests in the Ponca City Library. Home to a wide variety of novels, references books and more, it is also home to the Matzene Art Collection, a compilation of artwork acquired by the well-known photographer and art dealer Richard Gordon Matzene.
Matzene was born on London soil in 1880, but he spent many years of his life traveling the world. From eight trips exploring different countries and cultures, his collection is a combination of findings, mostly from visiting Asia during the 1930s. The collection holds beautiful oil, charcoal and watercolor paintings as well as pottery and bronze sculptures.
God of Longevity & Child is an ink-and-color painting on silk from the Qing Dynasty. The artist is unknown, but the Asian deity depicted is the god of longevity and knowledge. He is accompanied by symbols of immortality and happiness. There are also many Western pieces collected from Matzene’s travels as well as a few works from the Taos Society of Artists.
The collection landed in the hands of the library by a personal donation from Matzene, who lived in Ponca City later in his life. The collection is free for all to enjoy and can be found throughout the upper floor of the library. – Jessica Turner