About the Collection


An Overview of the Collection

In 1929, Miss Nettie J. McKinnon, Principal of Ogden and Oak Avenue Schools in LaGrange and LaGrange Park, Illinois, encouraged the eighth grade student at Oak Avenue School to consider raising funds in order to establish a fine art collection. Beginning in 1930, the students sold magazines to start the fund, and from 1930 through 1960, the students used half of the proceeds from their magazine sales to purchase original works of fine art by recognized artists.

The art collection grew as each graduating class made a year-end gift of art to the school. Although the Class of 1930 gave the first “official” painting to the District Collection, the collection had unofficially been established in earlier years at the Ogden Avenue School. Other works of art were purchased or donated to the collection by friends of the school. In 1957, School District 102 published a catalogue, entitled Sharing an Art Heritage: Oak Avenue School Collection, listing 72 worked, which were then housed in Oak Avenue School. (Oak School was sold in 1975 and the painting were stored until 1978 when they were hung in a gallery in Ogden Avenue School.)

Today, the collection is comprised of more than 120 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, works on paper and decorative art objects; most of the artists are represented in leading museum collections across the country. The majority of the works are by American artists, many of which were exhibited in the Annual shows at The Art Institute of Chicago from 1888 to 1650, and more than half of which studied in Paris. Among the artists in the collection are Hudson River School painters, such as Frederick Kensett and George Alrich, and major American Impressionist painters such as Edward Henry Potthast, John Henry Twachtman, and John Singer Sargent. The work by Frederick MacMonnies represents the finest of American sculptors and works by international artists such as Russian-American artist, Nicilai Fechin, who painted with the Taos Society of Artists, broaden the depth of the American experience in the collection. The Brown County regional artists are also deeply represented, and works by Wilson henry Irvine, Lucie Hartrath, Oliver Dennet Grover, Frank Dudley and Karl Buehr are among the highest selling artist in American galleries across the United States.


Chronology of the Development of the Collection
Class Gifts from 1930 - 1960
Sharing an Art Heritage
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