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. 


We are Celebrating 25 years
in  2020
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


A thought from one of our Jaques Board Members:

Though the doors of the houses of the arts are momentarily shuttered, artists’ hearts still beat strong and true, carrying forward the indestructible power of life and our indomitable belief in the value of humanity’s creative expression. We know that the glory of all people’s culture still and always shines out with joy and beauty everywhere on this earth, and these locked doors are only a shallow hesitation. As artists, we proclaim through our works that our lives are forever based on our deep, hallowed and most enduring love of creation. James Bzura

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).

Jaques Art Center hours, Tues - Sat 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


121 2nd Street NW, Aitkin, MN 56431

Across the street from the Aitkin County Court House in the shadow of the water tower

Admission is always free at the Jaques