Art Scene – Rachael Blackburn Cozad
Classifying Rachael Blackburn Cozad proves to be more challenging the more one dives into her many diverse artistic pursuits. What strikes us initially is the breadth and depth of her knowledge; there is no one area of expertise, but rather a multitude of them. The second impression is of Rachael’s incredible and innate taste; she clearly has an eye for color, composition, and combinations of art that create unforgettable and liveable vignettes. Yet, the third impression of this arts connoisseur is just exactly how down to earth she is. The home that she and husband, Kanon Cozad, share in Midtown is at once charming, sophisticated, disarming, inviting, and absolutely stunning – we immediately felt at home.
In an attempt to summarize the work of Rachael Cozad, we present this nutshell: She has started two businesses, Rachael Cozad Fine Art and Madison Group Fine Art Appraisals, and she has spent an amazing amount of her own time helping to catalog the works of renowned Missouri Artist George Caleb Bingham. Let’s dive in!
Rachael Cozad Fine Art represents her work as a private art dealer and consultant. “I spend as much time as I can on sales, which is my true passion – helping connect collectors with the works of art that they are seeking is truly a privilege. I am very proud that over the years I have been able to place many important American paintings by Thomas Hart Benton, George Caleb Bingham, William Trost Richards, Birger Sandzen, and others. We have also sold noted contemporary artists such as Helen Frankenthaler, Damien Hirst, David Hockney, Luis Jimenez, Robert Motherwell, Frank Stella, Wayne Thiebaud, Andy Warhol, and others.” She also recently promoted an exclusive online show by Linda Lighton, local artist, Thoughts & Prayers: Contemporary Sculpture by Linda Lighton, in early 2021.
Madison Group Fine Art Appraisals is an appraisal business in the form of a partnership that, “ has been very steady over the years, and we work with individual clients but also insurance agents, estate planners, wealth managers, attorneys, banks, trusts, and also institutions like museums, universities, municipalities,” stated Rachael.
Rachael’s “third job” as she jokes, consumes a large amount of time, and serves a large amount of her artistic passion, simultaneously. “The George Caleb Bingham Catalogue Raisonne project is my third job, but in some ways the time spent on this is the most cherished.” She added, “Bingham, as many may know, is the most celebrated 19th century artist from Missouri and the Catalogue Raisonne is an online, public-access, and definitive reference of his complete paintings. We are pleased to provide this free reference service for scholars, students, collectors, appraisers, auction houses, historians, art historians, and the general public.” Rachael reported that the group working on this project, originally led by the late scholar Fred R. Kline, has cataloged approximately 150 Bingham works – out of a possible and eventual 600 works.
How Rachael ended up with art surrounding her every waking moment is the result of her own declaration that she, personally, did not have artistic talent. The daughter of two artists and growing up in Texas, Rachael reported, “We always had a house full of creative people including musicians, poets, writers, and other artists, and my parents always had art studios that I spent time in.” With an undergraduate degree in art history, she then earned a graduate degree while working as curator and later director for the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation in Los Angeles. “The Foundation holds the world’s largest collection of bronze sculpture by the French master Auguste Rodin (1840-1917). My master’s thesis “The Hands of Rodin” was also a museum exhibition presented at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and elsewhere.”
After several years on the west coast, Rachael came to Kansas City to work for R. Crosby Kemper, Jr. and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art as director for 12 years. Of the late Mr. Kemper, Rachael said, “He taught me so much and I will be forever grateful to him both for his challenges and for his innately nurturing spirit. I would do it again in a heartbeat!” It was in 2012, when she left the museum that she started her entrepreneurial expedition. In a succinct sentiment, Rachael is an authoritative expert on works of art, she is a savvy businesswoman, she is a philanthropist, and beyond all of that, she is a charismatic and engaging hostess. Our Town is lucky to have such an approachable, delightful steward of the arts.
Read more in the December 18, 2021 issue of The Independent
By Anne Potter Russ
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