Redlin Legacy Lives On In Art Center

The wildlife Americana artist passed away late Sunday night

His artwork sold all around the world.    

A Watertown artist, who created more than 200 paintings depicting wildlife and outdoor activities, has passed away.

Wildlife Americana artist Terry Redlin died late Sunday night at the age of 78 after battling dementia for nearly a decade.

But one Redlin expert says even though he’s not physically with us anymore, his legacy and art work will live on; and that legacy didn’t even start until the artist was 40-years-old.

Julie Ranum, the Executive Director at the Redlin Art Center, says Redlin worked in commercial art before he made the transition to creating wildlife art.

And it was that art that touched the hearts of millions.

“He was humble and kind, and made everyone feel special,” says Ranum. “He captured memories that most of us can relate to.” 

Memories of hunting, of farming and the raw beauty of what Mother Nature brings. 

“His work ethic was always phenomenal,” says Ranum. “But for him, he always wanted to please his audience and his fans, so sharing his pieces with the world was his greatest satisfaction.” 

And his fans are certainly pleased. 

“The man is a genius in how he has captured the outdoors scene and the farm life,” says Daryl Flagen of Harvey, North Dakota.

Monday was Flagen’s fourth time visiting the art center with his wife Kathy. 

“Anytime we get close to the area, we stop,” says Flagen.”I always find something new and invigorating in the paintings.” 

This is why Ranum says the loss of such a great artist is a hard one to handle. 

“It’s a tremendous loss, though we have been dealing with this loss for years,” says Ranum. 

Ranum says Redlin was struggling with dementia for the past 9-years preventing him from visiting the center.

But just like his paintings, she says there is some light in his death. 

“We know that Terry is at peace, he is no longer struggling, and for that were very grateful,” says Ranum.

Redlin’s impact was felt at home and across the county.

A nation-wide poll of art galleries named Redlin “America’s Most Popular artist” from 1990 to 1999, and in 1998, the Sioux Falls School District named The Terry Redlin Elementary School after him.

The Redlin Art Center displays 160 of Redlin’s original work; it’s open every day of the week and is free to the public.