Over 150 of Terry Redlin’s original oil paintings hang in the impressive building at the junction of U.S. Highway 212 and Interstate 29 in Watertown, South Dakota.
Designed by Charles Redlin, son of the popular artist, the Redlin Art Center is truly a family project. While Terry Redlin contributed the artwork, it was Charles who planted the seed for the art center 25 years ago. He wanted to preserve and display under one roof his father’s original oil paintings. The young Redlin says it was a hard sell. “I told Dad I wanted him to stop selling his originals. I wanted a place to display them after he was gone.” The elder Redlin, who was living in a home and studio on the shores of Lake Minnetonka in Mound, Minnesota, eventually warmed to the idea, and the project was accelerated so it would be completed, instead, during his lifetime
Initially, the Redlins bought land along Interstate 494 in Minnesota and toyed with the idea of building the Center there; but Charles Redlin had concerns that the urban sprawls in the Minneapolis area would swallow up the intrinsic beauty of the Center. Then they had another idea. “Since South Dakota sent Dad through art school on a scholarship for disabled students, he wanted to build it in Watertown as a gift to the state of South Dakota and the people of Watertown.”Charles handled the design plans and worked tirelessly on all of the intricate details. Rather than one large room filled with paintings, the Redlin Art Center takes a unique approach to displaying Redlin’s work. Visitors can meander down hallways lined with oak railings to view the paintings. The gallery is located on three floors.
The Gallery features Redlin’s original oil paintings – every painting he has done since 1985 is on permanent display within the gallery. In 1999, the Redlin Art Center was informed of an auction featuring 15 of Redlin’s older originals. As the President of the Redlin Art Center Foundation, Charles Redlin felt compelled to purchase these special pieces for the Redlin Art Center. Because Terry Redlin sold almost all of his paintings between the years of 1977 and 1984, the Redlin Art Center had not been able to display original work representing each year of Redlin’s career. With the arrival of the “new” paintings, the Center now has originals dating from 1978 to 1985. These paintings are part of Redlin’s history – each painting tells a story and marks a specific time in the artist’s life and career.
The structure itself is a work of art. The exterior design was inspired by the Egyptian Revival period. With immense Rockville White granite columns reaching 38 feet skyward against the 52,000 square foot brick building, the grandeur of the structure envelopes visitors as they enter the Redlin Art Center. Once inside, the finishes change to polished granite. Rockville White granite was used for more than 9,000 square feet of tile on the main floor. More than 10,000 square feet of Black Galaxy granite from India was used in the Grand Entrance and behind the railings in the Gallery. The walls throughout the Gallery are lined with over 5900 square feet of granite wainscoting - Impala granite from Africa. The granite was selected because of its color – all of the finishes within the Redlin Art Center are gray, black or white so the colors within the original oil paintings become the focal point.
Even before it opened in June 1997, the Center was named a Merit Award winner in the 1996 Build America Awards by the Associated General Contractors of America.
The Redlin Art Center, featuring over 150 of Terry Redlin’s original oil paintings, is pleased to offer gallery games to children of all ages. The “Kid Connection” Game Card features a gallery picture bingo card, a gallery crossword puzzle, and lots of other fun word games. These special games were designed exclusively for the Redlin Art Center to encourage families to carefully examine and enjoy all of the intricate details within Terry Redlin’s paintings. The games are easy enough for small children and challenging enough for adults. The “Kid Connection” Game Card is free of charge and children who complete the games are rewarded with a small complimentary souvenir.
In a separate room on the main floor of the Redlin Gallery, guests will discover treasures that capture the earliest glimpse of Terry Redlin’s artistic talent. The Early Art Room features an array of drawings, paintings, and even foil etchings. Tucked into a small, quiet corner, this special room was created to inspire artists of all ages by showcasing art from throughout Terry’s life including a free-hand drawing of Bugs Bunny dating back to 1943 when Terry was only 6 years old!
“People would accuse me of tracing the figures,” Terry says, “To prove this was not the case, I would re-draw the figure either larger or smaller than the original. At this young age I somehow had the ability to draw proportionally.”
From drawings Terry created as a young boy to art projects he completed as part of his college training, the “early art” features a variety of styles and mediums not typically seen in the art of Terry Redlin today. Palette knife paintings, foil etchings, watercolors, and pen and ink are just a few examples of what is displayed in the Early Art Room. A new piece was added to the collection in 2005. It was a drawing of a Cocker Spaniel. Terry had given it to his art instructor, Cecil “Cec” Johnson, at the St. Paul School of Associated Arts. It was Cec’s wish that the dog drawing would someday be donated to the Redlin Art Center. Cec’s nephew, Mark, shared his uncle’s comments while returning the drawing to Terry:
“This dog drawing was the first assignment that my Uncle gave his art class. The students were to do a simple drawing of anything they wanted. He did this very year to assess the ability and potential of the students in his class. The drawing dates back to the first week of the school year when Terry started at ‘Associated Arts’. Cec and his wife Marge loved Cocker Spaniels. Cec showed the drawing to Marge who asked him to buy it from Terry. Terry refused to take anything for it and gave it to Cec and Marge as a gift. It was clearly his favorite piece of artwork that he had from a student and he loved to tell the story of how he got it from Terry Redlin. Cec told his nephew that his first reaction to the drawing was,
Note: Cec was a teacher for over 30 years and taught over 730 students.
Located in the Redlin Art Center, visitors can purchase Terry Redlin Prints and Collectibles. All proceeds generated by the sale of merchandise go directly into the operation of the Redlin Foundation which keeps Terry's gift of the Redlin Art Center free of charge to all who visit.
For More Information, Please Call Toll Free 1-877-873-3546.
Inside this 108-seat theater, visitors are able to "meet" Terry Redlin via three special video presentations. With multiple showings daily, Redlin enthusiasts can enjoy listening to Terry Redlin tell about his family, his career, and the Redlin Art Center. All presentations are offered free of charge.
In this video you will meet the man behind the artwork and share in the experiences that come to life on his canvas. Terry Redlin has given the world a great gift with his ability to capture on canvas the memories so many of us share...from our childhood and our family traditions to life in rural America.
This series of eight paintings, like all of Terry Redlin's art, is a visual account of his distinctive world view. It flows from deep within the artist and represents one man's tribute to ideas and values that continue to resonate clearly for so many Americans. “It is a tribute to a country I love dearly and that has treated me so well. I hope my effort is worthy of the subject.
This touching series of seven paintings took over nine years to complete and was, according to Terry Redlin, one of the most emotional experiences of his life. Based on the childhood memories of the artist and those of his brother-in-law, this story will tug at your heartstrings.
View all of the videos on Youtube.com
Visit the Redlin Gift Shop to purchase the Terry Redlin DVDs.
In addition to the video presentations, the Redlin Amphitheater is home to an impressive collection of Langenfeld Ice Cream memorabilia. Terry Redlin’s wife, Helene, is a Langenfeld. Her family owned and operated Langenfeld Ice Cream and Dairy in Watertown, South Dakota until the early 1960’s.
The collection was, in large part, the personal collection of Bob Wagner, Helene Langenfeld’s cousin. Bob’s father, “Pug” Wagner, was the ice cream maker at Langenfeld’s Ice Cream and Dairy. Hand-written recipes from “Pug” are included in the collection!
Other collectibles were donated by John Langenfeld, Helene’s uncle. The largest antique on display is a beautiful soda fountain which was donated to the Redlin Art Center by Charles Redlin, Terry and Helene’s son.
The antiques on display are a fitting addition to the nostalgic scenes in Terry Redlin’s paintings.
Matt Langenfeld (Helene Langenfeld Redlin’s grandfather) was born in Hampton, Minnesota, on October 29, 1887. Most of his early working life was spent in Co-Op Creameries in Minnesota and prior to coming to Watertown, he managed a Co-Op Creamery in Belle Plaine, Minnesota. In Approximately 1915, he received permission to manufacture and sell, on his own time, LANGENFELD’S ICE CREAM. This was the birth of LANGENFELD’S ICE CREAM (see picture and tray in exhibit from Belle Plaine).Matt Langenfeld moved to Watertown in 1917 and worked briefly at Progressive Dairy which was located at 112 West Kemp. He started his own business in 1918 and it was located in a rental building behind the Lincoln Hotel (located where Wells Fargo Bank is at the present time) and he manufactured and sold at wholesale, Langenfeld’s Ice Cream and Lake City Butter.
In late 1919 and 1920, he purchased land and a building which was located at 1st Avenue and 6th Street NW, near the 3rd Avenue Bridge. The building had previously been used by Purity Ice Cream Company who went out of business. The family lived upstairs and the ice cream and butter were manufactured on the main level.
In the mid 1920’s (approximately 1923 or 1924), Matt entered into a partnership with his brother-in-law, Matt Neisen, and they established the Marshall Ice Cream Company in Marshall, Minnesota, and manufactured and distributed at wholesale ice cream under the PERFECTION ICE CREAM label. Matt Neisen had owned and operated from the early 1900’s and continued to operate separate from the ice cream operation Neisen Dairy, and later operated it with a partner, Alfred Schwan, and the dairy was later sold to Alfred Schwan.
In 1925, Matt Langenfeld purchased a building at 15 west Kemp in uptown Watertown where the ice cream plant was located until it was closed. In addition to ice cream and butter, some milk was bottled and sold at the uptown location. Matt Langenfeld asked his brother, Nick, to come to Watertown when he moved into the uptown plant to become the butter maker, and Nick moved to Watertown and became the butter maker. He also asked his sister, Gertrude, to come to Watertown and be the office worker, which she did.
In 1938, Matt purchased the Blue Valley Dairy building located at 300-302 1st Avenue NE and entered into the dairy business. Blue Valley was a national dairy operation located in Chicago, Illinois. The dairy closed approximately the end of 1953.
In 1946, Matt’s sons, Joe and John, purchased a plant in Mitchell, South Dakota, and manufactured and sold ice cream and bread from that location. John later moved to Rapid City, South Dakota, and established a major distribution location.
Matt Langenfeld died on April 30, 1949, and after the death of Matt Neisen, the Langenfeld heirs purchased the Neisen heirs’ interest in the Marshall Ice Cream Company, and the ice cream was then labeled as Langenfeld’s Perfection Ice Cream.
Langenfeld’s manufactured ice cream at Watertown and Mitchell in South Dakota and Marshall, Minnesota, and had major distribution locations at Rapid City, Aberdeen, Pierre, and Gettysburg in South Dakota, and Montevideo, Minnesota.
In the early 1960’s, the ice cream manufacturing was consolidated at the Mitchell plant, and Watertown and Marshall were used as distribution centers. The Langenfeld’s Ice Cream Company closed in 1966 or early 1967.