Pioneer artist studied on the Hilltop

Jo Lutz Rollins '19
Jo Lutz Rollins ’19 (far right)
with her sisters and a niece

In 1915 the widow of a Methodist minister moved with her four daughters to Mount Vernon, Iowa, so that her oldest could study art at Cornell. The daughter, Josephine Lutz Rollins ’19, was just recently the focus of a show at the Regis Center for Art at the University of Minnesota—24 years after her death.

Rollins, who attended Cornell for three years, graduated from the University of Minnesota and taught there from 1927 until 1964. She’s well-known among art aficionados in her home state, and was featured in the 2011 book “Pioneer Modernists: Minnesota’s First Generation of Women Artists.”

The book chronicles Rollins’ life and work, including her time in pre-World War II Europe, her studies with celebrated modernist Hans Hoffmann, and her creation of a summer artists’ colony in Minnesota, which lasted nearly 20 years.

After retiring, Rollins helped to start the West Lake Gallery in Minneapolis, which was open from 1964 to 1984. She also traveled extensively, and documented her travels with her art work.

The show, which ended Feb. 23, featured 20 of her watercolors, as well as works from artists who have benefited from the Lutz Rollins Fellowship, which supports women in art.

Rollins’ niece, Judith Phillipp Meyers ’51, wrote that among her aunt’s work was an oil painting of King Chapel. That 1918 work was featured in “Pioneer Modernists.”

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