Northlandia: Gallery reconstructs prodigious art of former Duluth teacher – Duluth News Tribune


DULUTH — In the vicinity of the conclude of Frank […]

DULUTH — In the vicinity of the conclude of Frank Hoffman’s life, although he was beset by a growing array of health and fitness problems, his spouse, Lolly Hoffman, asked him what he needed her to do with the life span of paintings, poetry, sculptures, jewelry and other art parts he experienced crafted — a monumental collection that crowded the couple’s residence in Duluth, and afterwards, suburban St. Paul — soon after he died.

Postcard aerial scene of Duluth

This is Northlandia: a location to bring your curiosity, because you will come across curiosities. In this series, the Information Tribune celebrates the region’s distinct folks, spots and historical past. Explore the amazing tales that you just may well miss if you are not in the appropriate put, at the correct time, prepared to phase off the crushed path with no hurry to return.

Adelie Bergstrom / Duluth Information Tribune

“Burn them,” Hoffman remembers her husband telling her. “Burn them all. Have a bonfire.”

Frank, a former Washington Junior Significant and East Higher University artwork instructor in Duluth, and afterwards, a Northwest and Delta airways mechanic, painted prodigiously. Regardless of scattered acceptance, Frank and Lolly felt Frank’s function was underappreciated. A mate joked that the few could wallpaper their house with rejection letters from artwork galleries.

“Nobody required to exhibit him,” Lolly advised the Information Tribune. “Nobody was fascinated.”


Operate by the late Frank Hoffman, a previous Washington Junior Substantial and East Large Faculty artwork teacher in Duluth, will be shown at Artista Bottega in St. Paul.

Contributed / Emily Landberg

Frank, who’d say he worked a wrench for 40 several hours at do the job and a paintbrush for 40 additional at home, died in August 2021 from an clear heart attack.

In the whirlwind that adopted — Lolly offered their house in the Twin Cities’ superheated marketplace ahead of Frank’s human body had even been cremated — the Hoffmans finished up hoping to give away most of Frank’s paintings by using Craigslist.

“We just wanted almost everything out,” Lolly claimed. She mentioned she had no intention of burning her husband’s function, anyway.

A large dumpster was stationed in their Apple Valley driveway for anything that couldn’t go. It was one particular of the to start with points that Emily Landberg, a Minneapolis-primarily based artist who considers herself a “professional scavenger,” observed when she responded to the family’s write-up touting a property whole of free artwork.


The exhibit “Act III: Who the Heck is Hoffman?” will function work by the late Frank Hoffman, of Duluth.

Contributed / Emily Landberg

“Knowing the unavoidable, all the things which is in this house has bought to go, and it didn’t strike me so much till I really noticed the get the job done,” she stated. “I was like, ‘This is way too fantastic. It’s much too good.’ Possibly he couldn’t promote it in his lifetime or could not find some thing to do with it in his lifetime, but probably he was just forward of his time. It was just so persuasive.”

About 100 of Frank’s paintings, sculptures and other will work now group her very own home.

Landberg was drawn in by her obtain. Frank has a scant online existence, so she started off investigating the male and his do the job herself.

A scrawled gallery name may direct to a cell phone get in touch with, which could possibly expose a tidbit about Frank exhibiting some of his function there 30 or 40 several years prior. More usually than not, although, hints like that wouldn’t lead anywhere. Lolly frequently didn’t know specifics about a supplied painting or other artwork piece, Landberg stated.

“It just form of became like a video game for me,” claimed Landberg. “Who do I access out to today and see if they have hints about who the heck Hoffman is?”

Some of Frank’s do the job in Duluth consists of a photorealistic painting of a motorbike motor, which was aspect of a 1976 group exhibit at the Tweed Museum of Art at the College of Minnesota Duluth, Landberg said.

His portray typically veered towards far more summary fare, though. Lolly recalled her partner inquiring her what she noticed in a then-modern painting of his.

“Chaos,” she remembered declaring. It is complicated, she said, to describe the painting in phrases beyond that.


“I sort of feel like he’s a loved ones member that I just can not forget about any longer,” artist Emily Landberg stated of the late Frank Hoffman, a Duluth artist whose do the job will be exhibited in St. Paul.

Contributed / Emily Landberg

Paintings in Frank’s “Metaphor Series” hint at a broader story contained within, and his “Conversation Sequence,” also built in Duluth, tried to seize human speech on canvas, looping squiggles that look about equal elements musical notation and oscilloscope readout sit at odds with one an additional around moody, occasionally clashing, swathes of paint.

But maybe most eye-catching are the many “erotics” Frank painted throughout his job: stylized depictions of nudity and intercourse that vary from titillating to graphic and back yet again.

“People are like voyeurs,” Lolly explained. “They want to see it, but they are afraid.”

Landberg’s assortment is established to debut Jan. 13 at Artista Bottega, 937 Seventh St. W., St. Paul. The exhibit,

“Act III: Who the Heck is Hoffman?”

will have typically drawings and paintings from Frank’s oeuvre.

“Act I,” so to speak, encompasses the pieces by themselves and the context in which they have been created, Landberg mentioned. “Act II” is their presentation to an viewers, and the figurative 3rd act is the pieces’ lives immediately after the artist has died and the things of “Act I” have light.

“I type of really feel like he’s a family members member that I just simply cannot neglect about any longer,” stated Landberg, who often referred to Frank in the existing tense in the course of a Information Tribune job interview. “He’s pretty much in each individual area of my property.”

Frank Hoffman's paintings

Perform by Duluth artist Frank Hoffman is scheduled to debut Jan. 13 in an show at Artista Bottega in St. Paul.

Contributed / Emily Landberg

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