“The Call of Missouri” – WWI painting by renowned muralist vanishes from original KC home

 
 
SHARE:

The 32nd Annual Report of the National Society of the Daughters of the Amerian Revolution (printed in 1920) stated that Blashfield’s “Call of Missouri” was commissioned by the Kansas City Chapter of the DAR at a cost of $20,000.

Following its completion in 1918, the artwork was briefly displayed at an art gallery in Blashfield’s home state of New York, but later that year was presented by the DAR as a gift to the Kansas City Public Library to be hung in its facility at Ninth and Locust Streets.

For decades, the Blashfield painting adorned a wall above a grand fireplace mantel in the library building; however, David Disney, a senior vice-president of a major Kansas City area construction company who has been tracking the painting’s whereabouts, noted its initial disappearance from the Kansas City area.

“The library building was purchased by U.S. Trade School and the painting was in there when it was purchased, but it disappeared sometime in the 1980s,” Disney said. “No one really knows what happened to it and the trade school has since closed and the building is now home to Ozark National Life,” he added.

Disney explained that he has invested countless hours searching for Blashfield’s masterpiece, and his research most recently led him to an art dealer in Dallas, who was selling the painting for a customer. However, the painting again went absent when it was sold to an anonymous collector at an auction.

According to the website for the auction service of Christie’s New York, the Blashfield painting, which they referred to as “Trumpets of Missouri,” was sold at auction in 2014 to a private bidder for a substantial $149,000.

More than three decades have passed since the “Call of Missouri” first departed from its Kansas City home and although it was later discovered, it has again managed to slip from the public eye. Disney, however, remains hopeful that this World War I work of art will some day be returned to the state for which it was created to honor.

“The painting has always been important to me personally because the first time that I saw a picture of it, I realized the commitment that was made by the people of Missouri to go and fight the battles of  World War I,” Disney said. “It was one of those pieces that once you view it, you never forget it.”

Pausing, he concluded, “And, it is my personal opinion that this piece is still the property of the Daughters of the American Revolution here in Missouri and I can only hope that it will someday be returned to the people of Kansas City.”