George Resler’s views of Saint Paul

George Resler’s views of Saint Paul


[ music ] [ Ben Gessner ] Born in 1882,
George Earl Resler grew up in St. Paul’s west side neighborhood across the
river from down town a vantage point which would inform his work
in different ways throughout his life. As a young man Resler taught himself
the Intaglio print making processes of etching and dry point printing.
Both of which rely on making impressions from ink-filled
lines inside some metal plates. Some of his first prints were
produced on a homemade press hand built with help from his father.
Alongside fellow print-makers like Gilbert Fletcher and Samuel
Chatwood Burton, George Resler was among the first generation
of print-makers in Minnesota. Although fine art printmaking was never
a primary source of his income, he was an incredibly prolific artist.
The Minnesota Historical Society holds more than 200 images by
Resler in its fine art collection. Adept at and primarily remembered for
portraiture and landscapes subjects that he often returned to throughout
his career as an artist, Resler also skillfully captured the capitol city of
St. Paul during the ’19 through the ’30s. [ music ]
Many of the locations depicted by Resler remain prominent fixtures in the city
today including the Landmark Center, the West Publishing building
and the St. Paul Hotel, [ music ]
Rice Park, [ music ]
and the Wabasha Street Caves. [ music ]
During the 1920’s at a time when Resler was very artistically active,
the art of etching experienced a revival in America.
Resler, among other Minnesotan printmakers and painters was
influenced by the art of James Abbott McNeill Whistler.
He and other Whistler club members would gather at a vantage point
across the river from downtown to compose cityscapes, often
working late into the night. [ music ]
Resler’s love of the city also becomes apparent as he conveys its
beauty in routine everyday scenes. [ music ]
Often though, his further examination of the city reveals it is not only a place
of beauty but also a place of struggle. [ music ]
Perhaps because of his working-class roots, Resler em-pathetically depicts
the living and working conditions available for recent immigrant
Minnesotans of the time which is apparent here in a series of prints
that poetically capture laborers at the brickyards of St. Paul’s west
side near his boyhood home. Today Minnesotans can understand
Resler’s visions of St. Paul as remarkably rendered scenes
of places that are both familiar and indicative of an earlier era
in Minnesota’s History. [ music ]
This is Ben Gessner Collections Assistant at the Minnesota Historical Society.

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