St. Louis County Historical Society’s Monthly Update

The St. Louis County Historical Society offers the following events and exhibits for March 2014:

  • Antique Appraisal: The St. Louis County Historical Society is offering a free appraisal on Wednesday, March 19 from noon to 3 p.m. in the Great Hall. For details, click here.
  • Annual SLCHS Members Meeting and Dinner: March 25, in the Great Hall of the St. Louis County Heritage & Arts Center at 5 p.m. Includes a presentation on the history of Federal Indian Policy. For details, click here.
  • Generations of Service Exhibit: The Veterans’ Memorial Hall presents the history of St. Louis County’s veterans, from the Civil War to today. For details, click here.

For more information on these and other SLCHS events or exhibits, please contact Julie Bolos at 218-733-7568 orjulie@thehistorypeople.org.

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Treasures From the Collections:

Feodor von Luerzer Paintings

One of two paintings titled Sequoia, painted by Duluth’s Feodor von Luerzer, are part of the St. Louis County Historical Society’s collection. (Image: St. Louis County Historical Society)

The St. Louis County Historical Society’s unique and varied art collection includes two rather large paintings featuring, of all things, the Sequoia forests of California. While they do not depict local scenery, they were made by a man who called Duluth home around the turn of the twentieth century, Feodor von Luerzer (1851–1913). A member of the Austrian nobility, von Luerzer forsook his birthright for his passion for art. The first born son of Count Matthias von Luerzer and his wife Eleanor, Feodor grew up in castle Dorfheim, part of which still stands in Saalfelden, Austria. After serving in the Austrian Army he studied art in Vienna and Munich and then moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to make his living painting murals. Eventually, he made his way to Minneapolis and then to Duluth where he set up an art studio in the now-demolished Ingall’s Block in September of 1889.

While in Duluth, Von Luerzer became friends with fellow Austrian landscape artist John Fery. August Fitger hired the pair to paint murals inside the Fitger Brewery’s Brewery Saloon, which became Duluth’s Pickwick restaurant. Von Luerzer’s work features fanciful elves and beer-drinking monks and still graces the restaurant to this day. Von Luerzer remained in Duluth painting landscapes and logging scenes until 1909, when he and his family moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

The Society’s von Luerzer paintings, both titled Sequoia, are rather large—along with their baroque-style frames, each painting measures 3.5 feet by 5.5 feet and are nearly 11 inches deep. Both display the realistic quality of the artist’s work, which shows off his subject’s natural beauty. Von Luerzer likely made the paintings at the same time he executed Figures in the Redwoods, commissioned by Duluth’s Robert B. Whiteside. At the time, Whiteside had recently purchased California’s Calaveras Grove to exploit its timber, but then decided to save the grove.

— Milissa Brooks-Ojibway, Collections Manager

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Zenith City Online is not affiliated with the St. Louis County Historical Society and welcomes other history-related organizations in the Western Lake Superior region to submit regular monthly updates as part of our ongoing mission to celebrate historic Duluth, Western lake Superior, and Minnesota’s Arrowhead. Interested organizations should contact Zenith City at info@zwnithcity.com.

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One Response to March offerings from the St. Louis County Historical Society

  1. avatar Peter Spooner says:

    So nice to see these paintings getting some face time!

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