Paintings from Mennonite Historical Library on display through Nov. 14.

Exhibit: Paintings from the Mennonite Historical Library Collection
Dates: March 21 through Nov. 14, 2021
Sponsored by the Mennonite-Amish Museum Committee at Goshen College
Free and open to the public. Due to current campus health precautions, off-campus visitors must call 574-535-7418 for an appointment to view the exhibit, with masks and distancing.


Painting by the Dutch Mennonite artist Pieter ter Meulen (1843-1927).

Mennonite and Amish art from the permanent collection of the Mennonite Historical Library (MHL) is on display in an exhibit in the Good Library Gallery from March 21 through Nov. 14, 2021.

Chronologically, pieces included in this exhibit range from 1656 to the present, and includes Mennonite and Old Order Amish work representing fine art, folk art and what has become known as self-taught art, from Brazil, Paraguay, the United States, Canada, Holland, France and Germany.

The fine art in this exhibit was created by academically trained artists in the classrooms of universities and art academies—although, much earlier, by the formal apprenticeship in a studio. The art is characterized by mastery of materials and techniques, subtle effects and variety of subject matter, resulting in creative, one-of-a-kind paintings, such as three recently acquired paintings by the Dutch Mennonite artist Pieter ter Meulen. This exhibit also features the work of Jan Luyken and Jacob Ruisdael (engravings), Pieter ter Meulen, Peter Etril Snyder, Art Sprunger, Ezra Hershberger, Sylvia Bubalo, Abner Hershberger and Bob Regier.

The exhibit also includes paintings on glass, a folk art whose makers were not formally trained but learned their craft by the “customary imitation” of friends and relatives, while producing pattern-derived art for use within their own close communities. Image-shy Old Order Mennonite and Amish communities justify using these bright paintings because of their moral and scriptural messages. Folk artists in this exhibit include Dan M. Yoder, August Wickey, H.A. Mumaw, Leah Johnson, Johann Jansen and others.

Self-taught art is more amorphous, with elements of both fine and folk art. These artists have no, or very little, formal classroom training, but develop techniques and styles of their own, and usually sell their paintings outside their communities. Three self-taught artists in this exhibit are Chad Friesen, Emma Schrock and Benuel King.

Most of the paintings were donated to the collection by friends of the MHL, contributing to the haphazard nature of the exhibit. We thank our generous donors for helping create this lasting collection.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. Due to current campus health precautions, off-campus visitors must call 574-535-7418 for an appointment to view the exhibit, with masks and distancing.

Sponsored by the Mennonite-Amish Museum Committee at Goshen College.