We frequently get asked about the art in the house, and the most popular ask is about this piece you see hanging above.
The piece was purchased from Trilogy Antiques in Three Oaks, MI about 7-8 years ago. It is titled Birds and was painted by Albert K. Pounian, a local Chicago artist and art professor who served for a decade as the corporate curator for Continental Bank’s art collection in its branches throughout the world. He died Oct. 25, 2000 at the age of 76 after battling with Parkinson’s disease. Here is a little more detail found in his obituary that appeared in the Chicago Tribune.
Mr. Pounian began to excel in art at a young age, said his brother, Arch. While a teenager studying at the Art Institute of Chicago, he was recruited by the Army to draw maps for military operations during World War II. He served in the Army from 1942 to 1946, attaining the rank of second lieutenant and receiving a Bronze Star Medal and four battle stars.
After the war, Mr. Pounian received bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Art Institute, specializing in drawing, painting and illustration. He began teaching at the institute and other local art leagues and schools, including Barat College in Lake Forest.
Franklin McMahon, a friend of Mr. Pounian’s and a fellow artist, said his friend painted in the social realist style and later moved into abstraction–although his works continued to feature recognizable objects.
Mr. Pounian’s brother said he had a strong social conscience that led him to create paintings with social themes, such as his opposition to Vietnam War, and also to participate in marches in Selma, Ala., during the height of the civil rights movement.
Mr. Pounian was also known for his pen and ink drawings of landscapes and street scenes, and he traveled to England, Ireland and Wyoming to paint and teach. His work was exhibited at local galleries, schools and other public buildings from the 1950s through the 1980s.
He held leadership positions for local art programs, exhibitions and galleries, and was well-known among artists in the Chicago area.
From 1979 to 1989, Mr. Pounian was the corporate art curator for Continental Bank, managing the artwork the bank exhibited at its headquarters in Chicago and at branches worldwide. He also helped organize an association of local corporate art curators, serving as its chairman from 1981 to 1982.