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Olof Krans folk paintings donated to Bishop Hill State Historic Site

Press Release - Thursday, May 26, 2022

BISHOP HILL - Three paintings by Bishop Hill painter Olof Krans were recently donated to the Bishop Hill State Historic Site and placed on display.

Claudie Huey presented the paintings "Salja By, Sweden," "Olsson Farm in Sweden II," and "Prairie Grove" on behalf of the Merle and Barbra Glick estate. The Glick family previously donated five other artworks to the Bishop Hill State Historic Site.

A nationally known expert on Illinois folk art, Merle Glick was a strong advocate for Krans' art. In 2014, he coordinated an exhibition of Krans paintings at the Peoria Riverfront Museum. His work on the exhibit included the first publication of a complete catalog of Krans' works.

Painted between 1900 to 1901, each of the paintings provide a window into the life of Olof Krans and Bishop Hill. "Salja By, Sweden" depicts the Alfta Parish Church in Sweden. "Olsson Farm in Sweden II" features the farm where the Krans family resided prior to emigration. "Prairie Grove" features a large broken tree in the foreground with a small grove of trees in the background. The scene is believed to have been present in the Bishop Hill-Galva area at the time of its painting.

Born in Sweden in 1838, Krans immigrated with his family to Bishop Hill in 1850. Following his service in the Civil War, he worked as a home and sign painter. His work included interior decoration and portraiture. Most of his portraits included scenes from life in the Bishop Hill Colony and images of the people who lived there.

The three paintings donated by the Glick family are now on display at the Bishop Hill Museum, which is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The paintings are part of 108 artworks by Olof Krans currently on display.

Operated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Bishop Hill State Historic Site includes the Colony Church, Bjorklund Hotel and Village Park.

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