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Famous artist from Lafayette to unveil Beering portrait at dedication

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – An internationally renowned artist who began his career with caricatures of his Lafayette high school teachers, moved on to Catholic cardinals and executives, and now has captured Purdue University's ninth president on canvas.

The portrait of Purdue President Emeritus Steven C. Beering will be unveiled during the Steven C. Beering Hall of Liberal Arts and Education dedication at 2 p.m. Friday (4/12) in Founders Park on the university's West Lafayette campus.

The artist, Richard Halstead, tells how as a young boy he had a hard time paying attention in class. Instead, he preferred to draw caricatures of his teachers. One teacher caught him in the act, confiscated his drawing, then took it home and hung it on his own wall.

Marjorie Halstead, just happened to have a portrait that her son had painted hanging on her apartment wall. Henry Rosenthal, longtime broadcaster and former owner of WASK Radio and WFAM-TV (now WLFI-TV), was struck by the painting – mistaking its lifelike qualities for a photograph.

Impressed by Halstead's work, Rosenthal contacted Beering and his wife, Jane, to suggest they view the artist's work and consider Halstead to render the portrait of Beering that will be displayed in the newly renamed building on the West Lafayette campus.

Halstead graduated from Lafayette Jefferson High school and attended summer courses at Purdue. He describes his greatest artistic influences as the works of Rembrandt and Holbein, but credits his study of art history at Purdue for spurring his early ambitions as an artist.

"The best art history course I had as a student was during the summer at Purdue," Halstead said. "I have fond memories of the university, since both of my parents were active alumni. It is an honor and a thrill to have my work displayed at such a highly respected institution."

Halstead's work can be viewed at his art studio in the Noyes Cultural Art Center in Evanston, Ill. Among his accomplishments, Halstead is recognized for his portraits of notable people such as Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, the archbishop of Chicago; Marshall Field V, president of FieldEnterprises; and Dr. Harrie Vanderstappen, chairman of the art history department at the University of Chicago. Halstead's collections also appear internationally, including at Yale University; University of Melbourne, Australia; Dartmouth College, New Hampshire; and the University of Toronto, among others.

Halstead is currently featured in the April issue of Southwest Art magazine featuring the oil painters of America. When he's not painting, Halstead gives oil and pastel painting classes in his Evanston, Ill., studio, near Northwestern University.

Writer: Jesica E. Webb, (765) 494-2029

Sources: Henry Rosenthal, (239) 263-1936,

Richard Halstead (847) 869-6560

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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