One Captive Bird
Don Walp was many things during his lifetime—soldier, artist, author, and landscape architect. His connection to the museum came through his friendship with Mary Eddy Jones, the mother of the namesake of the museum. They shared a love of art. During his life, he donated nearly 300 works to the OU art museum. His collection filled three separate exhibitions, including one featuring his own sketches, World War II: A Different View.
Walp earned a degree in landscape architecture from the University of Michigan and was beginning his career in Texas when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. While serving in World War II, he sought out the famous and not-so-famous artists of the day. In England he met Lucien Pissarro, son of post-Impressionist Camille Pissarro. Lucien was so moved by Walp’s wartime visit, he later sent him a color lithograph by his father. The lithograph, along with paintings by Lucien and his brothers, are now part of the OU art museum collection.
Walp’s taste was eclectic and his collection includes Inuit art painting and sculpture, Native American, pre-Columbian, and Chinese ceramics. Also works by artists including Robert Motherwell, Fritz Scholder, David Bates, Rufino Tamayo, and Miguel Zapata.