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University of Iowa News Release

June 5, 2003

UI Museum Of Art Presents Works By UI Alumna Leola Bergman

"A Fragile Permanence: Prints and Drawings by Leola Bergmann," featuring 27 works by the University of Iowa graduate and long-time Iowa City resident, is on display at the UI Museum of Art through June 29.

The show was organized by Kathleen A. Edwards, the museum's curator of prints, drawings, photographs and new media. It includes experimental monotypes, etchings inspired by memories of architecture and landscape scenes, and drawings of family members from 1966 to 2002.

A native Midwesterner, Leola Bergman first showed musical talent. She attended St. Olaf College in Minnesota, where she sang in the famed choir under its founder and director F. Melius Christiansen. For graduate work she came to the UI, where she received a doctorate in American Civilization and wrote a dissertation on the history of the St. Olaf choir.

Bergman continued to do work in history in the 1940s and 50s, including the book "Americans from Norway," published in 1950 and a pioneering 1948 article, "The Negro in Iowa."

She turned to the visual arts in the 1960s, first studying drawing at the School of Art and Art History. She next studied printmaking with Mauricio Lasansky, Virginia Myers and Keith Achepohl. Under their guidance she learned to experiment with materials and techniques, exploring expressionistic composition and color. She developed a unique monoprinting process using materials such as velvet-patterned wallpaper, plants, fabrics, or anything that could result in an interesting printed embellishment.

Edwards writes, "Bergman has dealt with broad themes in her work, such as time and memory, using the people, places and things around her as handy instruments toward this purpose.

"Her portraits of family and friends reading, or in contemplation, capture moments when an aspect of personality is revealed. Crumbling archways are entrances to the mysteries of exotic civilizations, and the coming and going of seasons in the garden are celebrated in both subtle and riotous color. Leola's work stresses that the cycles of life, though they may at times seem fragile, are in truth reassuring in their permanence."

At age 90 Bergman continues to work. She was married to Gustav Bergmann, a popular philosophy professor at the UI, from 1943 until his death in 1987.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots west and north of the museum.

For more information on the UI Museum of Art visit on the World Wide Web. Information on other UI arts events is available at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <>.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072,