Ferris State University Big Rapids MI College

Rankin Art Gallery
The Curtis Collection

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The Curtis Collection consists of over 40 oil paintings by 19th century artists from America, England, France and other European countries. Curtis spent a lifetime collecting art for personal enjoyment and enrichment. This collection includes significant genre paintings, still lifes, landscapes and portraits that represent the realistic style that appealed to Curtis.

Frank Edward Curtis was born and raised in Big Rapids, one of seven children of local business man Martin Curtis and his wife Ardella. Each of the Curtis children attended Ferris.

Curtis graduated from what was then Ferris Institute in 1911 and went on to a career as one of America’s leading orthopedic surgeons. He served at various times as a professor of medicine at the University of Michigan and Wayne State University and Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at Grace Hospital in Detroit.

His great love of art and interest in collecting paintings evolved during extensive travels throughout Europe which included trips to the world’s most famous museums.

Curtis maintained his relationship with Ferris throughout his life. He was a member of the Presidents Club and the Society of Golden Eagles (alumni of 50 years or more), and in 1974 he was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

The gift of the collection was received in 1980 by the University through a generous donation made by Robert Bullard, a close friend of Curtis, who inherited the collection upon Curtis’ death in 1978

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