Franz Allbert Richter, born October 16th, 1942, in Seattle, WA, has long been considered one of the most influential artists and historians of the Upper Minnesota River Valley region. He grew up on a farm south of Clarkfield and after graduating from Clarkfield High school (Class of 1960) he moved to the Twin Cities to pursue further education. There he met and collaborated with the likes of Garrison Keillor, Robert Bly and Architect Dennis Grebner. After a stint in the south and a summer in California in 1967, Richter returned to his home farm to pursue “a life in art.”
Richter is known for his exquisite pencil drawings, some of which have been used to illustrate the work of Robert Bly and Bill Holm. He was influential in the establishment of Tokheim Stoneware’s first kiln. He was an early collaborator with famed Rosemaling Artist Karen Jenson of Milan and Letterpress Printer Andy Kahmann of Montevideo. It was Richter’s sense of design and his extensive networks with creative artists in the region that helped give rise to the establishment of the Meander Upper Minnesota River Arts Crawl in 2004. Richter’s work has been distributed far and wide throughout the course of his career.
Franz passed away at the Montevideo Hospital on Friday, December 2nd, 2022, at the age of 80. He was preceded in death by his parents, Fritz and Leona (Myhre) Richter. Franz is survived by his sister, Betty (Charles) Ostlie and their 4 children: Joy (Felipe) Nava, Jared (Rachel) Ostlie, Amy-Li Ostlie, and Julae Ostlie, along with 6 great-nieces and nephews. Isaac Franz Ostlie, the youngest great-nephew, was named after Franz. Richter was loved by his family and friends and described by his nieces and nephew as lively, creative, kind and gentle. He blessed them with storytelling and invited them to take part in various art activities such as watercolor painting, Native American beading, wood chipping, and wood burning.
A celebration of Franz’s life will be held on Sunday, December 18th, 2022, at 3 PM at the Madison Mercantile--601 1st St.
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