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 Jesse Betlach (1883 - 1959)


Jess Betlach was an artist and a commercial illustrator in the first half of the 20th Century.  He was born in St. Paul, MN, on August 28, 1883. He is of Bohemian ancestry – both parents came here from Prague, Bohemia, in the late 1880’s.


Betlach studied at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in Minneapolis, MN.  He was a member of the historic Attic Club which met twice a week at the Handicraft Building located at 89 South 10th Street in Minneapolis.  The Attic Club consisted of local artists that met to paint the models that they hired and they were known for lavish costume parties and a variety of art shows.


Betlach did illustrations for the advertisements of many different businesses and groups including the Donaldson’s Department Store, Knorr’s Dairy Company, Amenia Honey, McPhail School of Music, Barrington Hall Coffee, Northwest Mutual Savings and Loan Association, Paris Chocolate Factory, Soo Line Railroad and the Northland Knitting Co.


Betlach is known nationally for painting the Indian Maiden for the Land O’Lakes Company in 1939. Her image has lasted for over 70 years with only minor changes! Land O’Lakes still own the original painting of the Indian Maiden and have it in their vault in St. Paul, MN.   Betlach also did a lot of work for the Weyerhauser Lumber Company. He did illustrations for some local magazines in the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s including Ideals, The Friends and Christmas – the annual of Christmas Literature and Art.

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