Christa Story, curator at the Wright Museum of Art, stands in front of her favorite painting by James Lamb. The painting is a parody of famous art pieces.
Brice Henthorn Museum Assistant assisted with putting up the of the several walls of paintings by James Lamb.
Christa Story, curator at the Wright Museum of Art showcases Jame Lamb’s ledger that contains documentation for all of his paintings. Story used this to help track down the 50 paintings that are on display.

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Christa Story, curator at the Wright Museum of Art, stands in front of her favorite painting by James Lamb. The painting is a parody of famous art pieces.
Brice Henthorn Museum Assistant assisted with putting up the of the several walls of paintings by James Lamb.
Christa Story, curator at the Wright Museum of Art showcases Jame Lamb’s ledger that contains documentation for all of his paintings. Story used this to help track down the 50 paintings that are on display.
BELOIT—The community has a chance to look into the art and mind of the late James Lamb as the Wright Museum of Art at Beloit College is featuring a display of 50 of Lamb’s paintings through July 29.
Museum hours are from 11 a.m.—4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Lamb moved his family to Beloit in 1966 and became a well known person in the community. After a life altering heart attack and retiring, Lamb took up the hobby of painting.
Lamb started out by re-creating pieces by the artist Grandma Moses for five years. David Lundahl, who was teaching at Beloit College, was the first one to critique Lamb’s works. Lundahl told him something that at first shocked and hurt Lamb, but paved the way for his future work.
The critique was to paint from within—feelings and experiences.
These few words inspired Lamb to come up with the humorous and thought-provoking art that is on display today.
Christa Story, curator at the Wright Museum of Art, first saw Lamb’s work when she took the job in 2016. The Wright Museum had four of his paintings in storage. One particular painting that Lamb created was a parody on art history, depicting humorous interpretations of famous paintings, in one larger piece.
“I instantly fell in love with the humor—the restocking of Warhol’s Coke-a-Cola, a fly swatted from a Miró, and a museum guard shooting back at a bow and arrow wielding putti,” Story noted. “The signature was unfamiliar, but I already felt like I understood this.”
This inspiration started Story on her journey.
She was able to contact David Wachtendonk, the artist’s grandson. Wachtendonk was excited to share his grandfather’s work with the library. He had digitized dozens of slides of paintings and had a ledger that belonged to Lamb himself. Trusting Story with his grandfather’s work, he shared them with the museum.
With the help of Wachtendonk’s family and the ledger, they were able to track down 97 total paintings. Lamb himself gave many of his paintings to friends and other organizations.
“Lamb’s wife was very supportive of James’ work,” Story noted. 
“The owners of the paintings wanted to share the documentation of the painting but held onto the physical piece themselves,” Story said. “UW-Whiewater has one of the 97 hanging up on campus.”
The paintings were documented in a 108 page book the museum made that included all the documented paintings Story found through reaching out to the community and other organizations.
They will be making a second addition for July that includes the most recent art they found since beginning the exhibit in June.
Story was aided by two college students with physically setting up the exhibit.
Curatorial Intern Brooke McCammond and Brice Henthorn Museum Assistant helped set up the exhibit.
“People have been reaching out and telling stories of how they knew Lamb,” Story noted. “People golfed with him, talked to him, and knew him well.”
Story and the community of Beloit has slowly been able to learn more about this person who made his own mark on the art world.

Tickets now are on sale for the DEVIATE event in Beloit, which will be held on Oct. 15 in the Spine at the Beloit Ironworks Campus. The event will feature art, music and more.
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