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"The Blacksmith" by Frank Lundahl
"The Blacksmith" by Frank Lundahl.

Augustana loans art for historic Rock Island building 

Augustana College has loaned seven of its works by the painter Frank Lundahl to the Safety Building in Rock Island. This loan was coordinated by the Doris and Victor Day Foundation located in that same building, built 1907-1908. 

The case where the recently installed works are on display has sat empty for years. Dave Geenen, executive director at the foundation, said he believes “that art needs to be brought to the people and made accessible to all.”

Hunter Lyons ’17 and Katherine Hellberg
Hunter Lyons ’17 and Katherine Hellberg installing the Lundahl works at the Safety Building.

Geenen’s hope is that, “people will know that we have lots of history, talent and innovation in the Quad Cities and will celebrate our past while realizing that together we can start to create an even more hopeful and positive future, today.”

Frank Lundahl (1858-1932), a Swedish-American artist born in Rock Island, established a reputation as a muralist in the Quad Cities. He trained under Lars Axel Blombergson, a painter from Söderhamm, Sweden, who immigrated to Moline and later studied at what is now the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Lundahl was known for the church and secular murals he painted for interiors in the Quad-Cities region. While many of his murals were created within buildings that have been torn down or renovated, his works still survive in the First Lutheran Church in Moline and the Davenport Capitol Theatre. His smaller-scale work brings attention to the everyday beauty of the Mississippi Valley region. 

The Frank Lundahl paintings loaned to the community are part of the Augustana Teaching Museum of Art’s Heritage Collection, which includes more than 70 works by Lundahl — the largest public collection of the artist’s work. The college also has Lundahl works on display in the offices of the Moline Foundation, and currently is working on a number of loans to the city of Moline. 

Soon-to-be Augustana graduate Hunter Lyons ’17 and Katherine Hellberg, a graduate assistant from Western Illinois University, installed the work for this project.

The Augustana Teaching Museum of Art exhibited some of Lundahl's work in "A Place Called Home: Frank Lundahl and the Quad Cities" last year.


Connor Kealey, 309-794-7323

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