Dassel pastor discovers rare, famous 19th century paintingby Marianne Combs, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — It's like an "Antiques Roadshow" dream come true.
The Rev. Steven Olson of Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Dassel, Minn., approached the Minneapolis Institute of Arts back in 2007, looking for advice on how to preserve a painting which had been languishing in storage.
It turns out the painting was by Ary Scheffer, one of the pre-eminent Romantic painters in Paris during the first half of the 19th century.
Scheffer's image - the figure of Christ surrounded by the afflicted and the oppressed - was iconic in its day, and it enjoyed wide circulation in Europe and America through reproductions.
However, for 70 years it remained completely unrecognized, residing in a town of just 1,300 people.
After a year of careful research and deliberation, the church is donating the painting to the MIA. In turn, the MIA has undertaken the conservation and reframing of this significant painting. It will now occupy a prominent place in the MIA's 19th-century paintings galleries.