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Weather or Not

A Storm Approaches
Julius O. Holm<br>American, 1855-1930<br><I>Tornado over St. Paul</I>, 1893<br>Oil on canvas<br>Minneapolis Institute of Arts<br>The Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Fund<br>
zoom Julius O. Holm
American, 1855-1930
Tornado over St. Paul, 1893
Oil on canvas
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
The Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Fund


On July 13, 1890, a tornado touched down on the shores of Lake Gervais, a few miles northeast of St. Paul, Minnesota. The huge wind funnel took the lives of six people, injured eleven others, and caused much damage to houses in the area.

William F. Koester, a local photographer, happened to have his camera set up that fateful day. He planned to take scenic pictures from a high bluff overlooking the city of St. Paul. Instead, he captured a moment of history by photographing the tornado as it loomed over the city.

Koester published his pictures of the scene on souvenir cards that were sold to the public. Julius Holm, a house painter whose ambition was to become an artist, found the photographs intriguing and decided to make a painting from one of them. His painting stayed true to the photograph except that he added color, to intensify the drama of the event.

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1. Pictures of major storms taken by photographers were made into souvenir cards. This card shows the destruction caused by a tornado that touched down in New Ulm, Minnesota, on July 15, 1881.
Dwight Bangs, New Ulm Tornado,1881, stereograph,© Minnesota Historical Society
2. Today, both amateur and professional photographers find it thrilling to capture a tornado on film.
Voobie, Tornado 06, 2005, digital photograph


November 2007