about Francis Lee Jaques & the Jaques Art Center
Francis Lee Jaques (pronounced jay-kweez - rhymes with squeeze) moved to a farm near the Mississippi River in rural Aitkin in 1904 when he was 15 years old. In Aitkin, Jaques began his career as a self-taught artist depicting wildlife and outdoor scenes in addition to being a taxidermist, railroad fireman, farmer and logger. After completing an electrical engineering course, he entered World War I, serving in France. He later worked for the James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Jaques painted dozens of dioramas (two duoramas he painted are in the Jaques Gallery at JAC - on permanent loan from the Bell Museum), in addition to backdrops for habitat groups. He illustrated over forty books with black and white scratch board drawings. Many of the books were written by his wife Florence Page Jaques, such as the well read, ‘Canoe Country’ and ‘Snow Shoe Country’. He also illustrated books by Sigurd Olson , noted Minnesota naturalist, including ‘The Singing Wilderness’ and ‘Listening Point’. In 1940 he was the winner of the Federal Duck Stamp award. Lee, as he was known by his friends, was a renowned easel painter of wildlife art and he and his wife, Florence, traveled the world in the course of his work.
The Jaques Art Center and Museum in Aitkin was established in 1995 to commemorate the life and works of former Aitkin resident and renowned wildlife artist, Francis Lee Jaques. A permanent collection of his art is found in the Jaques Gallery.
We support the visual arts in the Aitkin area with changing art exhibits every 6 - 7 weeks in the Carnegie Gallery.
We are housed in the beautifully renovated former 1911 Carnegie Library Building which is on the Registry of Historic Places.
This year marks the twenty-second anniversary of this nonprofit organization.
We Celebrate 23 years
Scratch board portrait of FL Jaques by Duane Barnhart
The Jaques Gallery has T-shirts, note cards and prints with various images of F.L. Jaques art.
Follow this link to watch a YouTube video of the diorama work FL Jaques did for the American Museum of Natural History in New York: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_HIaoDXTIg
Follow this link to watch a YouTube video of the the Jaques Art Center
Our Mission: The Jaques Art Center (pronounced 'jay-kweez' - rhymes with sneeze) in Aitkin, Minnesota celebrates the visual arts in North Cental Minnesota by presenting art exhibits, workshops, and other programming to all ages and backgrounds. We collect and exhibit the art of renowned wildlife artist, naturalist and former Aitkin County resident, Francis Lee Jaques (1887-1969).