ST. PETER — Summer camp attendees looking for respite from the hot sun on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College may encounter an extra surprise if they venture down a hallway on the lower level of the C. Charles Jackson building. They will be treated to three cool-and-shady mountain landscapes being showcased in the front windows of the Hillstrom Museum of Art.
The works on display are by prominent American artists George Bellows and Eugene Speicher and Swedish American artist Dewey Albinson.
“It’s not feasible for the museum to be open in the summer, for numerous reasons, and this is a way to highlight at least some of the fine works in the collection,” said director Donald Myers.
While Gustavus students are on break from classes, several groups are housed on campus, especially in the earlier part of the summer. The staff like to offer these visitors the opportunity to enjoy seeing some of the museum’s works.
Myers and his staff use the relatively quiet lull of June through August to complete maintenance tasks, such as painting and sprucing up the museum’s floors.
During that time, the Hillstrom’s artworks are secured safely away. Occasionally, Myers opts to hang a few of his favorites in the front window.
This summer, he chose particularly important works to highlight the window display through the middle of July. Bellows’ “Sunset, Shady Valley, 1922” is considered the most important work in the college’s permanent collection.
The Bellows landscape is displayed near his good friend Speicher’s, “Autumn, Woodstock, New York.” The two works both were painted in the Catskills and are donations from the person the museum was named for — the Rev. Richard L. Hillstrom.
David and Annette Olson recently donated the Albinson painting. The new acquisition just completed a dramatic restoration/cleaning at the Midwest Art Conservation Center in Minneapolis.
The Hillstrom re-opens Sept. 22 with an exhibit of works by 15 contemporary artists from China as the first offering of the museum’s 2014-2015 season. Scheduled to be displayed concurrently is a FOCUS IN/ON exhibit project exploring a selection from the permanent collection, “Magician with Shears” by Swedish-American artist Everett Shinn.