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Open 11:00 - 4:00
Tuesday - Saturday

Admission is Always FREE

Jaques Building

"Under the Watertower"

121 Second St. NW - Aitkin, MN 56431

Francis Lee Jaques
and wife, Florence Page Jaques
(image below)

Francis Lee Jaques was born in Illinois in 1887. When he was sixteen, his family searched for affordable land that could sustain the family through hunting and farming. The Jaques family eventually settled down north of aitkin on the banks of the Mississippi River. By age 10 Francis Lee was already recording the natural world.

Like many young men of his time, Francis Lee Jaques helped fill the family larder by hunting throughtout the prairies and woodlands. What was unusual about this boy was the fact that he observed the beauty of nature methodically by "taking trees apart" in his mind and recording the results.

Francis Lee Jaques hunted and trapped with his father and connected with editors and writers from major hunting magazines.  While still a teenager, Lee paid ten dollars to buy a taxidermy shop in Aitkin.  He endured a few winters scarcely earning enough money to survive and bartering paintings to pay for services. He alternated railroad work in northern Minnesota and taxidermy in Aitkin to make ends meet.

In 1918 Jaques was drafted into the army. During his six month stay in St. Emilione, France he recorded his surroundings in several small pencil drawings and watercolor paintings.  He came home with a rank of Private First Class and returned to Duluth.  There he met Clarence C. Rosenkranz, an artist of the impressionist style, who helped him mix color and express his feelings through art.

In 1924,
he was hired by the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

His talent was recognized and he was invited to join the museum's team as a background painter. The team traveled around the world gathering exhibit specimens.  Jaques recorded his experiences throughout.  

Jaques was almost 40 years old when he met Florence Page, a friend of his landlord.  She was a budding writer just out of a prestigious school in the East, but was originally from Decatur, Illinois.  Jaques and Florence found common ground in nature and developed a friendship. They were married in 1927.

F.L and Florence Page Jaques spent time camping in the
Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Minnesota. The time provided inspiration for their now-famous books, Snowshoe Country and Canoe Country.   Sales from these two books helped fund the Jaques' involvement in the conservation project at Susie Island in Lake Superior. The conservation area was later named The Francis Lee Jaques Memorial Preserve in his honor.  

The Jaques' lived in New York for over 25 years before working at the
Bell Museum of Natural History on  the University of Minnesota campus. Jaques worked designed and painted diorama backgrounds until his retirement.

Click on www.bellmuseum.org museum website and then Diarama by Jaques in the search box to see other works by Francis Lee Jaques.

The Jaques' final years were spent living in Shoreview, Minnesota. where he painted daily and created a mountainous body of work.  

Upon his death Florence completed and arranged for publication of his biography, Francis Lee Jaques: Artist of the Wilderness World.  She donated his remaining art works to the Bell Museum of Natural History in Minneapolis and to the St. Louis County Historical Society, Duluth MN.

Frances Lee Jaques passed away July 24, 1969, at the age of 81.  

His wife, Florence Page Jaques, died January 1, 1972, at 82 years of age.

The Jaques Art Center is committed to Equal Opportunities and Accessibility.
Handicapped accessible



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