New Art Exhibit to Open Jan. 15 in James J. Hill House Art Gallery

For immediate release

Release dated: 
December 10, 2015
Media contacts: 

Lauren Peck, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3137,
Jessica Kohen, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3148,

Quick facts: 

Exhibit: “Power Couples: Selections from the Permanent Collection” 
Date: Jan. 15-May 15, 2016
Art Gallery Hours: Mon-Sat 10 a.m.-4p.m.; Sun 1-4 p.m.
Place: James J. Hill House art gallery, 240 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55102
Cost: Free with tour or $2 art gallery-only admission. Tours are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and college students, $6 for ages 5-17 and free for age 4 and under and MNHS members

New Art Exhibit to Open Jan. 15 in James J. Hill House Art Gallery

“Power Couples: Selections from the Permanent Collection” examines portraits of Minnesotans and changing artistic styles from the 1840s to the 21st century

A new art exhibit “Power Couples: Selections from the Permanent Collection” will open in the James J. Hill House art gallery on Jan. 15, 2016.  The exhibit will feature more than 20 portraits from the MNHS art collection exploring couples throughout Minnesota history, including husbands and wives, fathers and sons, sisters and even an aunt and uncle.

Beginning in the 1840s, the exhibit presents portraits of Minnesotans from famous historic figures—like James J. and Mary T. Hill and fur trader and politician Henry Rice and his wife Matilda—to some visitors might not know, such as 20th-century orthopedic surgeon John F. Pohl and his wife Alice. The portraits include work by Minnesota artists Elof Wedin, Clara Mairs, Melvin Smith and more.

According to Brian Szott, head of collections, viewers will be able to see a clear shift in portraiture style over the years, noting that during the 20th century, portraits began to focus less on the sitter's likeness and more on the personal expression of the artist.

“Power Couples” will be on display through May 15, 2016. Visitors can view the exhibit for free as part of a James J. Hill House tour or separately with a $2 art gallery admission.


Completed in 1891, the Gilded Age mansion was the residence of James J. Hill, builder of the Great Northern Railway, and his family. The home is located one-half block west of the Cathedral of St. Paul at 240 Summit Avenue. It is open for tours year-round, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 1 to 3:30 p.m. Sundays. Reservations are recommended. For more information, call 651-297-2555.

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.

Dr. John F. Pohl, by artist Elof Wedin, 1942

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Alice E. Pohl, by artist Elof Wedin, 1941 

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Addie Pearl and Uncle Jimmie, by artist Melvin R. Smith, 2000 

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Clara and Clem, by Clara Gardener Mairs, ca. 1930

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