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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

In Memoriam: Lynette Lombard

Beloved and inspirational Chancie Ferris Booth Distinguished Professor Emerita of Art at Knox College Lynette Lombard passed away on November 8, 2023. Lombard’s dedication and passion leave an enduring impression on the lives of her students, colleagues, and Knox College.

A member of the Knox faculty since 1990, Lombard made a significant artistic impact through her courses in painting, interpreting landscapes, and drawing. Her intense focus on and respect for student work influenced her colleagues and inspired countless students to take themselves seriously as artists. Dozens of Lombard’s students have been accepted to prestigious graduate programs in art, and many others have discovered fulfilling life-long passions for art. 

Lombard received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Goldsmiths’ College of Art University of London in 1976 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale University in 1989, and attended the New York Studio School for two years. 

Lombard’s paintings have been shown widely in both group and solo exhibits across the United States and Europe, including numerous exhibits at the Bowery Gallery in New York; the Museum of Modern Art in Mojacar, Spain; the Lohin Geduld Gallery in New York; the Newtownbarry House of Ireland; the Westbeth Gallery in New York; and the Artemisia Gallery in Chicago, among others.

Lombard’s list of professional honors is among the most acclaimed at Knox. She received the Philip Green Wright Lombard Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1999, multiple Knox Faculty Research/Creative Work grants, and the Presidential Award for Faculty Excellence in 2022. She also founded the Knox in New York art program in 1994 with her husband, Associate Professor Emeritus of Art Tony Gant, with whom Lombard also co-chaired the Department of Art from 2002 to 2011.

“For over 30 years we were privileged to have Lynette share her talent and friendship with the Knox community. The impact she had as an artist, teacher, scholar, mentor, and colleague is far-reaching and immeasurable. As we remember all that Lynette was to each of us, we hold Tony and her entire family in our thoughts,” Knox College President C. Andrew McGadney said.

"Lynette was such a vibrant and unrelenting optimist for the power of student engagement and creativity. I could always count on her to reflect deeply and find possibilities in any situation. Her memory serves as an enduring reminder to not permit ourselves to fail in imagining what could be,” Provost and Dean of the College Michael Schneider said. 

The College will offer opportunities in the future to further celebrate Lombard’s life and her lasting impact on the Knox community. Her legacy at the College is rich and deep and she will be greatly missed. 

Summer on the Prairie (Green Oaks), Lynette Lombard, 2021

Swallow in Flight (Spain), Lynette Lombard, 2010

Lynette Lombard’s colleagues remember her by the following:

“Lynette has taught generously from her lived experience as an artist, the passion and struggle. She has infected students with the same creative energy that fueled her own work. This has been the magic of her success. Anyone who has been the focus of Lynette’s intelligence, passion, curiosity, and wit knows what her students have experienced. It’s what they describe as the first time they felt someone take them seriously as artists—and grant permission to take themselves seriously. Students take delight in witnessing the delight she projected in discussing their work, taking it apart piece by piece, pointing to strengths, and exposing shortcomings. Even when the work in question is rendered lacking, students leave encouraged, inspired.” - Professor of Art Mark Holmes

“I have long admired Lynette as a faculty colleague, and have seen her vibrant joy for life, her deep appreciation for, and dedication to, the power of art. She was a tremendously talented artist, with painting and drawing being her primary mediums of choice. She was also an exceptionally gifted teacher, always seeking the best ways to motivate each individual student, encouraging them such that they would want to push themselves to refine their artistic skills and creative vision. Her critique comments were always thoughtful, deeply insightful, and couched in language meant to motivate and inspire students to strive to reach their full potential as an artist. Her loss leaves future Knox students all the poorer, for never having the opportunity to have their lives touched by Lynette's caring, loving spirit, and her passion for the power of art.” - Emeritus Professor of Art Michael Godsil

Lynette was an incredible role model of excellence as a teacher, an artist, mentor, and friend. Experiencing her passionate conviction about art over the years has been inspirational and transformative. She consistently brought sincere interest, enthusiasm, and curiosity to her discussions of art, albeit student work and colleagues’ or famous artists. Everyone was granted the same care and attention. Her feedback was feisty, generous, prodding, challenging, and supportive. Lynette’s unique perspective has forever changed my thinking about painting and drawing, and her voice will continue to live with me in my studio and the classroom. Lynette was committed to an embodied practice painting that was visceral, felt, emotional, muscular, expressive, intuitive, and instinctual. I have long admired, even if I was a bit intimidated, by the lack of inhibition and boldness she brought to her work and through her person in everyday life. Lynette’s paintings and drawings echo qualities of our shared humanity with fierceness and sensitivity. The work feels fully present. It is structured but messy at times, holding unfiltered, direct evidence of a spirit willing to fight through chaos in search of truth. Her paintings continue to open up surprising new spaces and dynamic relationships. Describing Lynette’s paintings is like describing Lynette herself. She gave us all an example of a tenacious way of being in the world and with others, where art and life were thoroughly intertwined. I am devastated by the loss of my friend and colleague, yet grateful and humbled to have known and worked alongside her over my years at Knox. As I mourn the loss of this vibrant light in our lives, I take comfort in knowing her spirit will live on in our memories and through her work, continuing to guide, challenge, and inspire us to keep fearlessly striving ahead. Thank you, Lynette.” Chair and Associate Professor of Art Andrea Ferrigno

As the sole Art History professor in our art department, I found Lynette to be the ideal Studio Art colleague. In her art classes, she was equally committed to the cultural and theoretical dimensions of artistic practice and supported the art history program by teaching a course for many years on Renaissance art. I enjoyed lively intellectual debates with Lynette on all kinds of art matters and was always deeply impressed by her extensive knowledge of art criticism and the philosophy of art. I have very fond memories of accompanying Lynette and Tony on their off-campus teaching program "Knox in New York." This was an innovative immersive program that involved taking students over winter break to New York City to take intensive art classes and to be exposed to the dynamic New York art scene, which included visiting artist studios, museums, and galleries. It was fascinating seeing Lynette in her true urban professional element helping students navigate and become familiar with the thrilling complexities of the contemporary art scene. It was extremely gratifying for me to be able to have my art museum studies class curate the exhibit "Knox in New York: Three Decades of Alumni Art" in the spring of 2022. The show documented the history of the program and included works by art alumni who had participated in the course since its creation in 1995. The exhibit also served to honor the incomparable teaching legacy of Lynette and Tony at Knox.” Professor of Art and Director of the Art History Program and Art Museum Studies Gregory Gilbert

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Printed on Sunday, June 23, 2024