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Art Environments

Collection Series

Carl Peterson

 

Castle by Carl Peterson in the John Michael Kohler Arts Center's Picnic Garden, 2007.

Lighthouse by Carl Peterson in the John Michael Kohler Arts Center's Picnic Garden, 2007.

 

1869–1969

Carl Peterson transformed his garden into a wonderful fantasy land of animals, fountains, and birdbaths, creating an entire stone-embellished kingdom; even statues of prehistoric people populated his St. James, Minnesota, yard. Peterson exercised remarkable care and sophistication when creating his sculptures, and his skills as a blacksmith and cabinetmaker lent an unusual structural grace to his work. One example of his attention to detail is his embedding of graded pebbles and stones that serve to define shape and structure in a lyrical way in addition to concrete details that resemble cake frosting. Kohler Foundation, Inc. found individual elements of this long-destroyed turn-of-the-century garden and embarked on a major preservation effort. There are currently over 50 pieces from his art environment in the Arts Center’s permanent collection, fifteen of which are large-scale works installed in the Arts Center's garden.