GRANITE FALLS, Minn. — A gallery opening event featuring a lifetime of work by Clarkfield artist Franz Allbert Richter will be held on Thursday, November 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Madison Mercantile at 601 First Street in Madison. The free event, entitled “A Life in Art'' is being sponsored by the Madison Mercantile and Pioneer PBS, who will be recording the gallery opening for an upcoming story for their award-winning Postcards program. The gallery exhibit will remain up for public viewing at the Madison Mercantile throughout the month of November. For more information, contact Kris Shelstad of the Madison Mercantile at (320) 361-0006.
Franz Allbert Richter, who recently celebrated his 80th birthday, has long been considered one of the most influential artists and historians of the Upper Minnesota River Valley region. He grew up on a farm south of Clarkfield and after graduating from Clarkfield High school (Class of 1960) he moved to the Twin Cities to pursue further education. There he met and collaborated with the likes of Garrison Keillor,Robert Bly and Architect Dennis Grebner. After a stint as a Freedom Rider in the civil rights movement in the south and a visit to San Francisco for the “Summer of Love” in 1967, Richter returned to his home farm to pursue “a life in art.”
Richter is known for his exquisite pencil drawings, some of which have been used to illustrate the work of Robert Bly and Bill Holm. He was influential in the establishment of Tokheim Stoneware’s first kiln. He was an early collaborator with famed Rosemaling Artist Karen Jenson of Milan and Letterpress Printer Andy Kahmann of Montevideo. It was Richter’s sense of design and his extensive networks with creative artists in the region that helped give rise to the establishment of the Meander Upper Minnesota River Arts Crawl in 2004.
Richter’s work has been distributed far and wide in the course of his career and for this gallery opening several individuals are lending their framed original art to the exhibit. “If someone has a Franz Richter original that they would like to be included in the exhibit, please have them contact me at email@example.com,” said Patrick Moore, Communications Director at Pioneer PBS.