Because I am a lifelong-learner, it only made sense to have my first stop in Duluth be at the University. The Tweed Museum of Art on the campus of the University of Minnesota Duluth is free and open to the public to tour. The gallery is home to a collection of more than 9,000 art objects of 15-21st century American and European art. With a permanent collection of over 8,000 objects representing a wide range of cultures and periods of art history, and takes in about 33,000 visitors each year. A major resource for Duluth and the Upper Midwest, Tweed functions as an art collecting and teaching institution and even offers a Visual Culture Lecture Series and Internship Program for university students preparing for future careers in the museum field.
Named for George Tweed and his wife Alice who began collecting 19th and early 20th century European and American paintings in the 20s and 30s. When George died in 1946, Alice donated their amassed collection; The George Peter Tweed Memorial Collection. It was the museum’s founding gift, when Mrs. Alice Tweed donated over 350 European and American artworks to the University in 1950. Following its initial operation from 1950-58 (out of the Tweed home), a museum facility was constructed on the UMD campus in 1958, with funds donated primarily by Mrs. Tweed and her daughter, Bernice Brickson. The museum has been expanded and renovated four times between 1965 and 2008. The Sax Sculpture Conservatory and Sculpture Courtyard was added in 1988. Today, it operates in a 33,000 square-foot facility with 15,000 square feet of exhibit space.
The Richard E. and Dorothy Rawlings Nelson Collection of American Indian Art was acquired in 2007 and is filled with baskets, birchbark, beadwork, quillwork, tourist art, and treaty portraits, primarily by the Great Lakes Ojibwe and Eastern Woodlands people. Other artwork in the American Art Collection reflects a range of styles that include portraiture, impressionistic landscapes, wpaera prints and early abstract art.
The Glenn C. Nelson Ceramics Collection was donated in 1991 by Nelson, a professor of art at UMD from 1956-75. The Works on Paper collection includes French, British and Italian engravings, pictorialist photographs, Modernist drawings, and post-WWII abstract, conceptual, Pop and Op art prints. The Potlatch Collection of Royal Canadian Mounted Police Illustrations Northwest Paper of Cloquet, Minnesota, later known as Potlatch Paper, used the red-coated “Mountie” as an advertising symbol for its fine printing papers is also part of the Tweed collection. My favorite is Picasso’s etching suite “The Unknown Masterpiece.”