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1997: 50 Works for 50 Years

Laura Rodgers


In 1998 the permanent collection was moved out of the building in preparation for a renovation and expansion project. Lisa Scholten became the museum’s first Curator of Collections that year, after working two years as a consultant on the Marghab Linen Collection. During the move, Lisa particularly admired this Laura Rodgers (1870 – 1958) painting as it captured “so many senses” – the feeling of wind and heat, and the smell of burning trees and ground covering. She also noticed that the painting had come to the museum in need of conservation treatment.

She contacted the donors, twin brothers and business partners Duane and Glenn Engebretson, who had grown up with the painting in their parents’ living room. The Engebretsons agreed to fund the painting’s conservation treatment. Trained conservators at the Midwest Art Conservation Center in Minneapolis repaired tears and losses in the canvas and removed a heavy grime layer.

Laura Rodger's painting was the first of many works conserved during Lisa’s tenure at the museum. From 1998 – 2018 she coordinated the conservation of 65 works by Harvey Dunn and wrote grants to fund the treatment of works by Paul Goble and Ada Caldwell as described in this 2015 news release: South Dakota Art Museum receives grant to conserve Ada Caldwell artwork.

The museum continues to focus on preservation of the permanent collection. In 2020, five works on paper by Harvey Dunn were conserved, allowing their inclusion in the exhibition, ALL DUNN: The Complete Harvey Dunn Collection. If you would like to help fund current conservation priorities contact Taylor McKeown or give online, denoting your gift for conservation funding.

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