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Kelly, Louise Minert (a.k.a. Louisa)
b. June 14, 1876; d. February 5, 1948
Discipline: Painting

According to a history prepared by her nephew Mike Firth, Louise Minert was born in 1876 in Waukon, Iowa. Although there are some evidentiary sources that claim she was born in 1879, most sources including obituaries place her birth in 1876. She was the eldest of five children born to John and Margaret.

She was raised in Waukon and graduated from the local high school in 1895. She taught for two years in the local public schools before moving to Chicago to study at both the Art Institute and Musical College there.

She moved again after finishing her studies, this time to Austin, Minnesota. She was teaching in the local school there when she met Edward P. Kelly, an attorney. They were married on June 6, 1906.

They immediately moved to Carrington, North Dakota, where Edward set up a law practice and Louise filled her time making paintings of the scenery surrounding the town. A well-traveled woman that eventually studied art in Europe and Africa, Louise once stated that no place on Earth can compare to the skies and sunsets of North Dakota. Her love of the state is evident in several of her paintings, particularly “The Harvest,” which she donated to Carrington High School, and “The Hawk’s Nest.”

In January 1920, the Kellys moved to Minneapolis where Edward set up another law practice. They remained there until 1936 when Edward died suddenly on April 21 during an trip to Los Angeles. He was interned in a family plot in Austin, Minnesota.

Afterwards, Louise moved to Ames, Iowa to live with her sisters Maude and Ella Mae. She died there in 1948. (Her brother John also lived in Ames. Her other brother James preceded her in death.)

A prolific painter with a voracious appetite for artistic studies, Louise spent much of her time during and after her marriage traveling. Often with tour groups focused on art training, she traveled to Britain, Holland, Spain, Italy, France, Mexico, northern Africa, and California, among various other locales.

She started to become recognized in the late 1920’s when her work was exhibited in a solo show at the Beard Gallery in Minneapolis. Her painting “The Valley of the Lot,” which was made in Espalion in southern France, was displayed in the Spring Salon in Paris in 1928 and was reproduced in the June issue of the American Magazine of Art. She was a member of Women Painters of New York, the Chicago Galleries Association, and the Rockport Art Association. In 1934, one of her paintings won first prize in the League of American Pen Women Exhibition in Washington, D.C.

Two of her pieces are now part of the permanent collection of the Foster County Historical Society in Carrington.

- Ben Nemenoff


Barr, Paul E. North Dakota Artists. Grand Forks: University of North Dakota Library, 1954.

Firth, Mike. “Louise Minert Kelly [nee Louisa Minert] 1876 - Feb. 5, 1948.” Revised February 9, 2004.

“Hawk’s Nest is Painted in Oil.” The Fargo Forum, November 8, 1936.

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