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Herb Hultgren (1924 - 2009)
Herb Hultgren, artist-teacher from Winona, Minnesota was a graduate of Winona State College. He was a very accomplished artist, but he was best known as a high school biology and art teacher. Hultgren was admired for his laid-back style with students and his ability to connect to them in a way that made them clamor for his classes. “He inspired kids,” said former student Susan Brown. “There was nobody that disliked his class, even if you couldn’t draw well.” Hultgren left his students in awe most days by being able to whip out a fully finished painting on the overhead projector just as an example, deftly using techniques it would take students years to master. “The art education we received in his classroom was just as good as any college,” said Brown. “We were so lucky to have him.”
As the story goes, Hultgren’s parents owned a store, and young Herb was often given a pad of paper and some pencils and told to sit and keep himself busy. Years later, he was still keeping himself busy, but in a way that filled the community with art and artists that will follow in his footsteps for years to come. Hultgren retired from the school district, but the teacher in him continued on through occasional classes at the Winona Art Center.
Hultgren's paintings range from representational landscapes to portraits and still life forms, and even to the almost complete nonobjectivity of some of his prints.
Herb Hultgren of Winona died of lymphoma at Lake Winona Manor on Sept. 22, 2009.