The Owatonna Arts Center is the beneficiary of a collection of works of bronze by James Idstrom. Here is a sampling of what was on display at the official dedication of this outstanding bequest.
Idstrom served most of his career as a wildlife biologist for the Minnesota Department of Resources in the Owatonna area.
According to his son, John, who spoke at the dedication, Idstrom struggled to find appropriate bases for his bronze works so he started making his own out of locally-sourced hardwoods.
A special cabinet is being built at the arts center to display the collection properly so the dedication was probably the last time the public will be able to see the bronzes up close.
Internationally known wildlife artist and Owatonna resident, Jim Killen, also spoke about his longstanding association with Idstrom.
Idstrom’s talents were not limited to bronze. Here is a painting of his entitled “Big Horn Sheep.” He also created numerous ink etchings, many of which were included in literature published by the DNR.
Idstrom used the “Lost Wax” method of making his bronze castings.
Clearly, if an animal had horns, Idstrom wanted to create an artwork depicting it. To be able to sculpt these massive animals down to a fraction of their actual size and get all the proportions just right takes tremendous talent. Idstrom passed away in 2016.