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Willa Cather Foundation - Red Cloud Nebraska (NE)

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Couple Donates Beloved Allan Tubach Painting

Couple Donates Beloved Allan Tubach Painting

Getting the painting ready for shipment
Enjoying a visit to Red Cloud in April, 2014
Wednesday, December 16, 2020

A recent gift of the painting Willa’s Windows, by noted Nebraska artist Allan Tubach, joins our beautiful permanent art collection, thanks to Tubach’s longtime friends, Larry and Sandee Collier, of Anaheim Hills, California.

Collier met Tubach more than sixty years ago at Midland College (now Midland University) in Fremont, Nebraska. Throughout their adult lives, Collier and Tubach have had an extended circle of intermingled friends and relations.

Collier purchased Willa’s Windows in 2005. “I was at Allan’s house, and he knew I liked Willa Cather, and I said, 'Gee, I just have to have that painting.'" Collier has fourteen other Tubach paintings in his collection.

Tubach is originally from Falls City, Nebraska, and studied commercial art at the Omaha Art School before continuing his art training at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. For two decades, he worked at the Omaha World-Herald, where he eventually became art director and color coordinator in charge of the Art and Photography Department.

His intensive study of color enlivens his paintings. Represented in over five hundred private, corporate, and public collections, Tubach has been described as a Midwest painter “who explores the essence of life on the great American prairie” in a profile in National Geographic.

“I love architecture and the preservation of the old and antique,” Collier said. A passionate collector, he describes Tubach’s style as a mix of symbol with architectural motif. “Tubach carves into the painting in many places and his style is kind of layered. His ability to put colors together is remarkable.” Collier remarked that his first wife Linda Tubach Balsamo, also a talented artist, once said “Allan puts colors together that shouldn’t be there, but they work for him!”

Sandee Collier appreciates the overlapping imagery in Tubach’s paintings, and her particular favorite in their collection is of a New Mexican village, Rain Over Truchas (1988). “All of our friends just love his paintings when they visit our home,” Larry added. “How Allan puts his paintings together is absolutely fantastic to behold!”

The Colliers last visited Red Cloud in 2014. “When I think of Red Cloud, I think of it as quaint, small, with pastoral plains and friendly people,” Sandee said. Larry recalled an earlier visit in 1960 when he stayed at the Stokes family farm. “I enjoyed being where Willa Cather grew up and being in the setting for several of her classic novels about prairie life. My favorites are My Ántonia and The Song of the Lark.”

A few years ago, Ruth Keene, a member of our Board of Governors, and Tubach himself helped to facilitate the eventual Collier donation to the Willa Cather Foundation. When first approached, Collier wasn't yet ready to part with his treasured painting.

After consulting with his wife Sandee, Collier knew he had to start thinking about what he was going to do with his paintings at the age of eighty. “These things that we acquire in our lives are our friends,” he said. “But you have to also consider what you are going to eventually do with them.”

Because of a lifelong friendship between artist and patron, and a mutual love of Nebraska and Willa Cather’s writing, Willa’s Windows has found its way to Red Cloud. We're grateful for the Collier's generosity and look forward to sharing this piece with our visitors.

If you have an item of interest that relates to Willa Cather or her life and work, please contact Executive Director, Ashley Olson at (402) 746-2653 or by email at