Browse Exhibits (35 total)

Architecture in Art

According to Roman architect Vitruvius a good building should satisfy the three principles of firmaitas, utilitas, and venustas. An architect should try to fulfill these principles to the best of his or her ability.  Originally translated as firmness, quality, and delight, in a more modern equivalent the three principles might be defined in a different way.

Durability: a structure is robust and in good condition.

Utility:  it is suitable for the circumstances that it will be used.

Beauty:  visually and aesthetically pleasing.

Architecture often is the backdrop within an artwork.  This exhibit focuses on bringing the architecture of artwork to the foreground and describing the styles.  

This exhibit takes a closer look at the architecture within the St. Catherine University's Fine Art Collection.  This exhibit includes images of buildings and architectural structures such as bridges from around the world.  Paintings, sketches, and sculptures all depict various architectural features.

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Humanity in the Art of Clara Mairs

Clara Mairs, a Minnesota artist born in Hastings, MN in 1878 and a resident of St. Paul, MN at the time of her death in 1963, studied art at the Saint Paul Institute. She also studied abroad in Paris and at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. While in Paris, she studied at the Academie Julian, the Academie Colarossi with E. A. Bourdelle, and at the Academie Montparnasse with Andre Lhote. Mairs, best known for her etchings, created an extensive body of work including prints, paintings, ceramics, and textiles. Her work routinely depicts women, children, animals, circus performers, and stories from the Old Testament, frequently with a hint of humor or satire. Mairs, an award winning print artist, has been exhibited in the United States and in Europe.

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Been There, Dehn That

Though not necessarily a household name, Minnesota-born artist Adolf Dehn helped to catalyze some of the most important movements in American art, from Regionalism and Social Realism, to caricature. Most known for his work in lithography and printmaking, he traveled throughout the world, spending time in places like New York City, Paris, and Vienna, places that would shape the way he viewed the people and locations he would capture in his prints and drawings. Over the span of his life, from his birth in Waterville, Minnesota, in 1895, to his death in New York City in 1961, he created nearly 650 images, some of which are exhibited here.

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Dehn It

A small slice of Adolf Dehn's works, pages enhanced for your viewing pleasure.

St. Kate's Gems: Women Artists Envisioning Katies' Qualities

At the heart of St. Kate's are active, creative, and socially engaged women. Eight strong, local artists have captured these values in their work, communicating what it means to be a Katie. This exhibit proudly offers these underrepresented artists a chance to continue shaping the campus and community of St. Kate's.

This exhibit showcases the gems of St. Kate's: influential local women artists and their work. Clara Mairs, Cecilia Lieder, Nancy Randall, Gemma Rossini Cullen, Sr. Mary Anne Catherine, Sr. Joanne Emmer CSJ, Corita Kent, and Jo Summonick are presented. The "gems" of St. Kate's are works that represent the values of faith, leadership, social teaching and inspiration, characteristic of the institution and its academic mission. Featured pieces are by artists working along these themes within specific subject matter: circus performance, flora, flight, and faith.

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Marshall Plan Poster Contest

A selection of posters from the St. Catherine University collection. This exhibit places the posters into their historical context and examines the wider use of Marshall Plan propaganda in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

These posters were originally printed in 1950 as part of a contest promoting the European Recovery Program, better known as the Marshall Plan. Over 10,000 artists from 13 European Marshall Plan countries entered the contest, and the 25 winners were announced in May 1950. 13 of the winning posters are found in the St. Catherine University collections, including the first and second place winners ("All Our Colors to the Mast" and "Cooperation Intereuropeenne, Prosperite Intereuropeenne").

The poster contest was part of a wider publicity and propaganda campaign conducted at home and in Europe by the U.S. government and its European affiliates. The campaign aimed to raise awareness and support for the Marshall Plan in the wake of World War II, to promote goodwill toward economic recovery efforts, and to combat the rise of Communism and Communist propaganda. 

To this end, the campaign used films, exhibits, traveling troubadors, pamphlets, radio, and most every form of media available to spread its message across Western Europe. It was largely successful, as was the Marshall Plan itself.

While we have no definitive information on how the posters came to the St. Kate's collection, we do know that in the summer of 1950 a group of students and faculty from St. Catherine University, including art professor Peter Lupori, traveled to Europe on an "American Youth Abroad" tour. The group visited many of the countries involved in the poster contest. The posters themselves were mass-produced and would have been in wide distribution around the continent in summer 1950. It is likely that they were purchased or otherwise obtained on this trip and brought back to the University.

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Student Intaglios

This is a collection intaglios style prints made by the students of St. Catherine University that are housed in the Ann Jennings Student Art Archives that is part of the Catherine G. Murphy Gallery at St. Catherine University.

The intaglios are by various students and of various subject matter. The hope is to highlight some of the artistic abilities of St. Catherine University students over time. This collection has prints made from 1991-2005.

Intaglio prints are made by etching a print onto a piece of metal, like a stencile, either ething onto the metal or using acid to erod it. The print is made by inking the piece of metal and transfering it to paper. They are usually produced in black and white, although some are done in color. Evey print in this collection is black and white.

All copyrights lie with either St. Catherine University or with the individual artists.

Forests and Flowers: Works of Nature by Lieder, Dehn, and Mairs

A collection of artwork by Cecilia Lieder, Adolf Dehn, and Clara Gardner Mairs. More specifically, this collection is intended to establish a common thread between the works of Lieder, Dehn, and Mairs by displaying pieces that depict an overall theme of flowers or nature. The works of Adolf Dehn and Clara Gardner Mairs have been well-covered previously, but this digital collection strives to bring attention to certain pieces from these artists that may not be featured as often as others and relate to nature.

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Minnesota Artists at St. Kate's

There are many great artists from the United States and abroad within the St. Catherine Fine Arts Collection; however it can be a great source of inspiration to see the work of local artists and the success that they've achieved. Thus, here we've collected the works of four Minnesota artists from within the collection: Gemma Rossini Cullen, Sister Joanne Emmer, Peter Lupori, and Sister Philomene McAuley. On each page you'll find greater discussion of their life and works, as well as the works themselves.

Browse the menu on the right to enter the exhibit.

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Flowers and Nature in Art

For as long as humans have existed, we have created art. And for as long as we have created art, we have been creating art depicting nature. From cave paintings of buffalo hunts to Van Gogh’s infamous depiction of the view from his asylum room at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, we have always had the desire to cherish moments of our lives by preserving them within the long-lasting medium of the creative arts.   

This exhibit intends to highlight an infinitely small number of those nature pieces created by humankind. From woodprints to ceramics to lithographs, this exhibit showcases the various mediums in which nature’s beauty can be displayed in a digital form. Each page highlights a different creator, their preferred medium, and their depictions of the nature environment in which they surrounded themselves.

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Sculptures at St. Catherine University


Maps are included for sculptures located on campus grounds.


The goal of this project is to raise awareness while educating community membes about the many freestanding sculptures dispersed around St. Catherine University's campus located in St. Paul. By creating a digital version of these sculptures, users will gain broader access to images and metadata as well as a convenient and user-friendly space to learn about permanent displays on campus.

**We would like to thank Ann Arntson, Amy Mars and Kelsey Shulson for their assistance and skill in making this exhibit possible.**

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James and Nan McKinnell Pottery 1946-1990s

James and Nan McKinnell, husband and wife team gifted in the art of ceramics, teaching, and innovation in the pottery world, spent their adult lives exploring the world and the act of creating art. The work and experiences of these highly prolific and nomadic artists offers us a snapshot into the post World War II arts movement in America. 

      • "The kind of clay, the degree of heat at which it is baked, the decoration or glaze, the shape of the vessel, the thickness of its wall, are all elements the potter's style and all contribute to the expressive form.” Barnet, S. (2008)

Enjoy exploring the McKinnells' life, art, and passion for pottery.

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Catholic Interracial Council of the Twin Cities

CICTC Gathering

The 1950s and 1960s were a turbulent time for civil rights in the United States. Organizations, both secular and religious, were working to secure equal rights for minorities. One such organization was the Catholic Interracial Council of the Twin Cities (CICTC), “an organization of Catholic men and women of St. Paul and Minneapolis who are striving to apply Catholic principles on racial matters to the very real racial problems our two communities face” (Branches, August 1959). The CICTC collection consists of newsletters and other documents dated from 1958 to 1966 that were donated to the St. Catherine University Archives & Special Collections by a founding member of the organization and alumnus of St. Catherine University. In the letter included with the documents she writes, “We thought we could change the world, and there has been quite a bit of change, but not nearly enough.”

This exhibit includes documents and newsletters selected from the CICTC collection that highlight the organization’s activities, volunteers, and reactions to local and national civil rights events of the time. The majority of the organization’s activism took place in the St. Paul and Minneapolis area. However, as recorded in the newsletters, members were also willing to travel to Chicago, Selma, Alabama, and Washington D.C. to take part in national civil rights events.

We hope this look into a time when the struggle for civil rights was front and center - both locally and nationally - will provide an opportunity for today’s human rights activists to learn from the human rights activists of the past.


Can you add to our collection?

Do you have information about the Catholic Interracial Council of the Twin Cities? A piece of literature, notes from a CICTC sponsored event, a story to share? If so, please consider contributing it to this collection by contacting the St. Catherine University Archives & Special Collections at Thank you.

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Story of a Storyteller: Celebrating 140 Years of Ruth Sawyer

A digital exhibit of a portion of the Ruth Sawyer Papers—a collection of manuscripts, letters, photographs, awards, and other kept materials gifted to Saint Catherine University after Sawyer’s death in 1970. The accolades, letters from admirers, and rare photographs featured in this exhibit illustrate Sawyer’s lasting impact as an author and proponent of children’s literature.


Making a Musical Contribution

The St. Catherine University Music Department is one of the oldest and most influential departments within the university and has had a significant impact on its history. This exhibit includes a series of performances, programs, and moments that showcase not only the excellence of this department, but also how they embody the ideals of the entire St. Kate's community.

When viewing each event page, click on an item’s image to view documents and images at full size.

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Japanese Woodblock Prints

This exhibit features 36 beautiful and iconic Japanese woodblock prints (木版画, mokuhanga) available through St. Catherine University’s Fine Art Collection, which were created by 15 Japanese woodblock print artists. Their one-of-a-kind processes and aesthetic styles represent the fascinating history, age-old techniques, recognizable style, and lasting legacy of Japanese woodblock prints.

Exhibit developed by:

Rebecca Brown, Alyssa Costopoulos, and Victoria Johnson

Created for:

St. Catherine University -- LIS 7590 -- Spring 2020

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Welcoming the Dear Neighbor?

Welcoming the Dear Neighbor? is a project running in parallel with the larger Mapping Prejudice project out of the University of Minnesota. Mapping Prejudice created an interactive map of racial covenants in Hennepin County, and the project is currently in the process of expanding this map into Ramsey County.

The goal of Welcoming the Dear Neighbor? is to provide additional context to these covenants by highlighting the stories of affected individuals and families within Ramsey County, painting a collective picture of how the use of these covenants shaped the race and ethnicity of Ramsey County neighborhoods in ways that are still visible today. As part of this project, St. Kate’s hopes to acquire primary source materials that will help illustrate the issues surrounding housing discrimination, steering, and redlining.

Race and Housing

Explore the 1960's using an interactive timeline of national events related to race and housing to put the exhibit materials into a broader context.

Race and Housing in MN

Examine the history notable events impacting state and local housing with an interactive timeline.

Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) Map

This series of maps shows how the racial patterns of the Twin Cities from the early 1900's onward persist through to the present, and how the redlining of the 1930s reflects current inequalities.

A.P. Weigel

Documents and writings from the family of a local realtor whose career suddenly went into decline after publicly advocating for open occupancy.

The Open Door

A collection of A.P. Weigel's newspaper column about local real estate issues, a few of which address race.

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Southwest Native American Pottery

Explore the pottery of Southwest Native American tribes in the St. Catherine Fine Art collection. Every piece tells a story, from finding the clay to its retrieval from the kiln.

The menu items (accessible on the right hand side of the site) are described below:

The Storytellers of the Southwest: discover information about the legends, artists, techniques, and characteristics of the pottery, and key examples from each tribe (Hopi, Navajo, and Pueblos).

Locations: view an interactive map to discover the geographic locations of each pot in the collection.

Pottery Collection: view all of the pieces together in a gallery view.

Exhibit Team:

If you have any questions about the exhibit, feel free to contact us.

Credits: St. Catherine University Catherine G. Murphy Fine Art Collection

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Corita Kent and Her Students

This exhibit features digitized serigraphs created by Corita and her students. Most of the prints fall within two artistic movements of the twentieth century: abstract expressionism and pop art. The abstract expressionist prints are religious in theme, with a particular focus on images of Jesus and the Christ figure. The pop art prints focus on text-based images, with a focus on social justice themes. The student work included in the collection is comprised of serigraphs by students of Corita Kent. Most of these items are of unknown date and creator, but many are religious in theme, similar in structure and tone to Corita’s abstract expressionist prints. Corita’s works are dated circa 1952 to 1966.

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Ade Bethune: Symbols of the Spirit

Ade Bethune's narrative is an indispensable chapter of our cultural history. As an artist, writer, and liturgical consultant, she made significant contributions to sacred art and architecture as well as social justice spanning over a half-century. This collection embodies Ade Bethune’s Symbols of the Spirit article, which was previously published in the Catholic Art Quarterly in 1954. The exhibition contains two manuscripts of the article and explores the different symbols Sister Ade uses to represent Spirit, the third aspect of the Holy Trinity.

Sister Ade's leadership and vast collections of works make her an important figure in twentieth-century American liturgical art. Starting in 1984 until the time of her death in 2002, many of her papers and artwork were donated to St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. The full collection occupies some 400 linear feet consisting of manuscript and printed materials, as well as 75 cubic feet of nontextual materials (graphic, sound, and artifacts).

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Minnesota Streetcars

Welcome. This exhibit showcases the vibrant history of streetcars in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota. Our collection hightlights 84 years of streetcar use from their local introduction in 1870 to their removal in 1954.

We would like to thank the Minnesota Streetcar Museum and Historian Aaron Issacs for their collaboration on this project and their work to preserve and digitize local streetcar history. Over 2,500 objects from the Minnesota Streetcar Museum have been digitized and are available to view in the Minnesota Digital Library.  

Created by Minnesota Streetcar Museum Historian, Aaron Isaacs, this video showcases the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line which connected St. Paul and Minneapolis.

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Japanese Woodblock Triptychs

On July 8, 1853, U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry sailed four ships into what is now Tokyo Bay, demanding Japan's ruling Tokugawa Shogunate open up the nation for trade. While the incident was dramatic and led to the desired result, it was but one of many contributing factors to what would become a half-century of rapid change in Japan. In just about fifty years, the island nation transitioned from being largely removed from world affairs to becoming a major power on the world stage.

Presiding over most of this era was the Emperor Meiji (1852-1912, reigned from 1867-1912). Meiji's accession signaled a shift in political power within Japan, away from the aforementioned Shogunate. Historians don't agree on how much authority Meiji held within this new system, though the enhanced visibility of the Imperial House is indisputable.

This exhibit features 25 Japanese woodblock prints from this era of change, most of which date from the Meiji Era and all of which can be found in the St. Catherine University Archives. Known in Japanese as mokuhanga, woodblock printing is an artistic technique achieved through applying an image onto a wooden block and using that block to create prints. The practice is believed to have begun in Japan in the Eighth Century CE. All are triptych prints, meaning that while each individual print is self-contained in its own right, it was created alongside two companion pieces to complete a larger work.

The prints exhibited here capture a mix of historical events, cultural traditions, and slices of daily life. They demonstrate a determination to hold onto elements of Japan's character and culture even as the nation hurtled towards industrialization. They are presented as complete triptychs where possible, and are arranged chronologically, so that they may serve as windows into this fascinating period in Japanese history.

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Adolf Dehn: The Works

Black and white photograph of Adolf Dehn painting, c.1950s.
Photograph from MNopedia

Adolf Dehn was born in Waterville, MN in 1895 and studied art at the Minneapolis School of Art and the Art Students League of New York (Cox, 1977, p. 167-8). During World War I, Dehn spent four months imprisoned for his pacifist views, then eight months teaching art to soldiers in a hospital before being discharged and returning to Waterville. Due to hostility from residents for his refusal to fight in the war, Dehn returned to New York before heading to Europe (Goretz, 2018).

During the 1920s, Dehn toured around Europe, honing his skills with lithography by capturing the cities and landscapes he saw (Rubinstein, 1987, p. 321). His works from this time often had a “satirical sting” to them, portraying a “decadent, oversophisticated scene highlighted by abstract, angular distortions of the human figure” (Cox, 1977, p.170). He returned to the U.S. in early 1929. He spent the Great Depression years making money with his Adolf Dehn Print Club, where he sent original lithograph prints to subscribers and with opportunities through the Associated American Artists and the American Artists Group. In the late 1930s, he took up watercolor painting, with the results well received by critics and buyers (Rubinstein, 1987, p.324).

Dehn resumed traveling after World War II and continued to create lithographs recording his travels, focusing on landscapes and the people he saw. On May 19, 1968, he died in New York City (Rubinstein, 1987, p.324).

This Exhibit:

Here, you will find a collection of Dehn’s works that display his range of subjects and styles. Use the tabs on the right to navigate four highlighted categories of his work: Portraits, Landscapes, Satire, and Storytelling. You can also view a timeline, which provides chronological context to the evolution of Dehn’s art.

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Bettye Olson: A Retrospective

Bettye Olson is an expressionist painter and teacher born and based in Minnesota. Born in 1923, she earned both a BA and MA in art education from the University of Minnesota before accepting a faculty position there. Taking her inspiration from the natural world around her she paints with bold brush strokes and dazzling colors.

In 2006 a retrospective exhibit of her work was held at St. Catherine University. This online exhibit has been created as a digital reproduction of that original retrospective as a method of sharing Olson's work and life with a wider audience. Included in the exhibit are images of a selection of Olson's paintings, sketchbooks, and text-based information on her life and career.

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On View at the St. Catherine Gallery

The Catherine G. Murphy Gallery in the Visual Arts Building at St. Catherine University has been a sought-after exhibition space in the Twin Cities arts community for decades. Originally simply called the St. Catherine Gallery, it was renamed in 1979 in honor of Catherine G. Murphy, the alumna and benefactor of St. Catherine University whose endowment provides ongoing support for the gallery.  The gallery’s current mission is to integrate the liberal arts and education by underscoring women’s contributions to art and exploring themes of social justice, activism, and aesthetics. Through its exhibitions, it maintains a women-centered presence in the local and regional arts communities, and provides a point of access where the campus community, the public, and local and regional artists can engage with these themes and with one another.

The promotional materials for the exhibitions and events at the gallery have often themselves been artistic works of graphic design, promoting the works on view while entering into dialogue with them, reproducing and repurposing their elements for informational and promotional functions.  This exhibit features some of the most notable catalogs, brochures, postcards, fliers, invitations, and posters designed to promote exhibitions and events at the gallery between the years 1968 and 1989. 

The items in this exhibit have been arranged into categories that underscore how past exhibitions have supported the gallery’s mission, and how the gallery has highlighted and centered the work of women artists, promoted local artists, and provided access for the campus and Twin Cities community to view the work of prominent artists working outside of the local region. Each page includes an exhibit representing one of these categories and includes information on the artists and their work.

Alternatively, use the Timeline page to easily browse through all the items in the exhibit to get a sense of the variety of the exhibitions.

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