Keith Jacobshagen

Cooper Power Plant, Missouri Valley by Keith Jacobshagen

Keith Jacobshagen (American, b. 1941)

Cooper Power Plant, Missouri Valley, 2014

Oil on canvas

13 1/2 x 26 in

Personal history and sublime experience permeate Keith Jacobshagen’s Midwestern landscapes. Born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, the artist began exploring the sky as a child while flying with his pilot father. His experiences in flight influenced his paintings, which he often begins outdoors and finishes in his studio. Suspending viewers in midair above low horizons, the artist hopes to elicit emotional responses. In Cooper Power Plant, Missouri Valley, an overwhelming blue, pink, and white sky looms over a dark sliver of Nebraskan nature. At the lower left, miniscule gray buildings are barely distinguishable from the black background. In the opposite corner, the Cooper Nuclear Station in Brownville rises above the Missouri River Valley with a dark trail of smoke billowing out of a smokestack. Although it is the tallest ground structure, the immense sky nearly swallows it, perhaps demonstrating the power of nature over human industry.


Wichita native Keith Jacobshagen graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1965 with his BFA in graphic design. After working briefly as a designer for Hallmark Cards, he enrolled at the University of Kansas, studying under the veteran landscape painter Robert Sudlow. He earned his MFA in 1968 and immediately began his career as an art professor at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where he taught until retiring in 2008. Jacobshagen’s artworks are in several prominent collections including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Sheldon Museum of Art, and Spencer Museum of Art.

— Maggie Vaughn, doctoral student in art history at the University of Kansas, April 2019

KU School of Business Art Collection