Persistence of Vision: The Art of Bettye Olson
Bettye Olson is counted among the most influential Minnesota artists of the twentieth century. An Abstract Expressionist, she shaped the landscape of Minnesota’s art scene as a working artist and a teacher. Born in 1923, Bettye’s long and extraordinary career—she is still painting today—began in Taos, New Mexico, in 1946, where she trained with modern artists who were changing the course of artistic expression. Bettye was in a unique position to be influenced by art movements as they were occurring. Returning home to Minneapolis, she continued her studies at the University of Minnesota, where she accepted a faculty position. Working alongside such storied artists as Josephine Lutz Rollins, Eleanor and Walter Quirt, Clement Haupers, and Cameron Booth, she developed a style that has been compared to both Van Gogh and Emily Carr.
A wife and mother in the 1950s, she continued her work in an era that encouraged conformity; the idea of a pursuit outside of the home was nearly anathema. Bettye simply took her family with her! The title of this book, PERSISTENCE OF VISION, speaks to her unwavering commitment to her art, surmounting roadblocks—including the tragic death of her youngest daughter—that would have stymied the faint-of heart. Bettye Olson’s works now reside in private collections, museums, and galleries around the world.
About the authors:
Julie L’Enfant is a critically acclaimed author of numerous books and articles about writers and artists. Her books for Afton Press include THE GAG FAMILY: GermanBohemian Artists in America; PIONEER MODERNISTS: Minnesota’s First Generation of Women Artists; OTHER REALITIES: The Art of Paul Kramer; and PERSISTENCE of VISION: The Art of Bettye Olson. She is presently completing the manuscript for ETERNAL TRUTHS: The Art of Nicholas R. Brewer (Spring 2018). Julie lives with her husband Norm Mitchell in Minneapolis.
Jaden Hansen is a Minnesota art historian and author. He is the former director of the Hennepin History Museum and is now employed by the Minnesota Opera. Jaden lives with his wife Katie and daughter Lili in South Minneapolis.
Patricia Olson is Associate Professor of the Department of Art and Art History at St. Catherine University.
Kristin Makholm is Executive Director of the Minnesota Museum of American Art.
- by Julie L'Enfant and Jaden Hansen
- Foreword by Patricia Olson
- Introduction by Kristin Makholm
Format: Hardcover, 12" x 9", 172 pages, 100+ color illustrations, notes, index