More than 75 works by five important Minnesota artists: Frances Cranmer Greenman, Alice Hugy, Clara Mairs, Josephine Lutz Rollins and Ada Wolfe.
Josephine Shella Lutz was born in Sherburn, Minnesota, on July 21, 1896. She attended Cornell College and the University of Minnesota, and pursued artistic training at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C. and the Minneapolis School of Art.
Rollins credited well-known Minnesota artist and teacher Cameron Booth as an important influence. Rollins also spent a year studying with Hans Hofmann in Munich, Germany, in 1930. Rollins was an art instructor at the University of Minnesota from 1927 to 1965. In 1933, she was a founding member of the Stillwater Art Colony that operated until 1950.
Shortly before retiring in 1965, she co-founded the West Lake Gallery in Minneapolis, a women's art collective that was active for 20 years.
In 1945, she married Dick Rollins. In working to balance her life as a married person and an independent artist, Rollins professed, "Women have to fight harder for a place in the art world; households and families often fragment them."
Due to her professional determination, Rollins enjoyed a lengthy career. Her artwork has been widely exhibited in the Twin Cities and can be found in numerous collections throughout Minnesota.
The St. Croix River Valley was among Rollins's favorite subjects to paint, but she also created watercolors of northern Minnesota and several locations throughout Europe, California and Mexico.
Rollins preferred painting outdoors, rather than in the studio, and switched exclusively to watercolors in the 1960s to better accommodate this passion. Her oil paintings employ unique colors and application. Rollins often used a palette knife to apply paint directly to the surface, while her watercolors convey the immediacy of direct observation.
Rollins's most enduring legacy, however, is her teaching career of more than 40 years, as well as the establishment of the Stillwater Art Colony and the West Lake Gallery.
Through her dedication as an advocate and teacher, Rollins influenced and supported hundreds of artists in the Twin Cities, many of whom are still making art to this day.
Rollins died on March 29, 1989, at the age of 92.