The sketches left behind
The Sketches Left Behind: Honoring the Legacy of an Artist by Alma Gaul
Walk into Suite 205 of Davenport's Bucktown Center for the Arts, and you'll see affixed to the four walls, all around you, dozens of charcoal sketches of the naked female form, known as life drawings.
Some of the figures are standing, some are lounging, some are faces only. All were created by Davenport artist Dean Timmermann, described by fellow artist and friend Paul Lange as "a slow-moving, deep-thinking and extremely talented, yet humble artist."
The sketches, numbering in the hundreds, are among possessions Timmermann left behind when he died in January of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, at the age of 61.
Because of the expense of his extended illness, the state claimed all of his possessions, but Lange and other artist friends got permission to take his drawings.
To honor their friend, they are selling the works for a $20 donation each, with proceeds going to an entity such as Quad-City Arts or the HAVlife foundation for art scholarships for needy students.
"Our purpose is two-fold," Lange said. "First, we want people to have his art! That's his legacy. Second, we know that the money raised to encourage young artists would be something that Dean would have loved."
The sale ends July 15.
Dean's brother Don, of Blue Grass, said "art was just about his whole life."
"That and his religion."
Timmermann was born and raised in Davenport, graduated from West High School where he was on the wrestling team, and earned his bachelor's degree in graphic design from Iowa State University, Ames.
Don Timmermann said he isn't sure how his brother got interested in art because when he went to Ames he originally majored in chemical engineering "because that's what I did."
But Dean Timmermann soon changed his focus, and after that his life was all about art, reading and spirituality. "He was one of the most educated persons I knew," Don Timmermann said. "He read all the time about all different things. He knew about all the major religions of the world."
Lange met Dean Timmermann when they sketched together at the former Davenport Museum of Art and other places. "We'd get kind of immersed in what we were doing. We did not think about an idea, we just drew. There was no pressure. It was in the moment.
"Dean would usually wander in late to class, greet everybody politely and absorb the atmosphere. He would find a seat and slowly take out his supplies. Then he would sit. He would look at the model, study the pose and ponder. Then he would pick up a piece of charcoal or graphite and draw an effortless line with an outstretched arm.
"We all were in awe of his sensitive line and affinity for the figure."
To support himself, Timmermann painted decorative finishes and murals for businesses and wealthy homeowners in the Chicago area. He used spray paint for years without wearing a mask, and that is how his friends and family believe he developed COPE, a term used to describe progressive lung diseases that are characterized by increasing breathlessness.
Timmermann had been on disability for 1½ years, "but it should have been a lot longer," his brother said. "He was in very bad shape for a significant amount of time."
Bucktown, 222 E. 2nd St., is donating space for the display and artist Tony Seabolt, working in the suite next door, is handling sales.
"There is one more "Final Friday" — June 30 — before the close of the show and we'd like to get as many people to that night as possible," Lange said. Final Friday is an event held the last Friday of every month at Bucktown with extended hours until 9 p.m. and special activities.
In addition to Don, Dean is survived by another brother, Dennis, also of Blue Grass.