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Harvey Dunn Paintings in Pugsley Student Union

When the 1950 Harvey Dunn exhibit closed in De Smet, the artist, his son Bob, and SDSU staff member Woodrow Wentzy drove the collection of paintings to South Dakota State College in Brookings. The artist supervised arrangement of the paintings on the walls of the Pugsley Student Union. They remained on display there from 1950 to the opening of the South Dakota Memorial Art Center in May 1970. The Union Manager, Harlan R. Olson, was the first caretaker of the collection and became a Dunn afficionado.

Students from the 1950s and 60s remember studying, watching TV and attending gatherings in the student union lounge adorned with Harvey Dunn paintings. Many have noted that smoking was common in the lounge. A letter from longtime SDSU Art Professor Madeline Ritz to Dunn student, Steven R. Kidd, illustrates the odd arrangement of having a “gallery” in a student union, resulting in funny circumstances...and ultimately to the building of the art museum. You can read the letter in the slider below.

Click here to learn more about Harvey Dunn and the Harvey Dunn Collection. To see images from the complete collection visit ALL DUNN: The Complete Harvey Dunn Collection exhibition.