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About the Collection

GalleryRichard N. Tetlie '43 dreamed that one day St. Olaf College would be a center for art research. When Tetlie died in 1999, he left his collection of more than 2,000 classic paintings, sculptures, wall reliefs, textiles and furniture -- acquired throughout the world during his lifetime -- to his alma mater, to be examined and enjoyed by future generations of Oles as well as by scholars from around the world.

Tetlie's ties to St. Olaf go back to the college's earliest days, when it was still St. Olaf's School. His father, Rev. Joseph Tetlie '09, was the college's first Rhodes Scholar, and his maternal grandfather, Professor Halvor T. Ytterboe, is credited with saving St. Olaf from financial ruin during the Depression of the 1890s. Tetlie also was a great-nephew of St. Olaf's first president, Thorbjorn N. Mohn.

When Tetlie bequeathed his collection to St. Olaf, he hoped that portions of the collection always would be on display while remaining accessible for study. His first acquired painting was an 1892 landscape by American artist George Inness. In time, his collection grew to include works of Pablo Picasso, Edvard Munch, Eugene Delacroix, George Bellows, Benjamin West and Winslow Homer.

Nearly 100 pieces from the collection will be on exhibit in A Collector's Legacy: Richard N. Tetlie in Flaten Art Museum, Dittmann Center, from Sept. 14 through Oct. 22. "These works are in great condition and are part of a rare and priceless gift that students and scholars will want to take advantage of," says Jill Ewald '87, director of the Flaten Art Museum.

Richard Tetlie's sister, Brunhild "Bunny" Tetlie Sather '40, has worked since his death to make her brother's dream come true. Thanks to her, the collection is finally coming to rest at St. Olaf this fall.

Christine Kinney '08

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