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John Stuart Ingle painted Betty Crocker

  • Article by: LAURIE BLAKE
  • Star Tribune
  • November 8, 2010 - 9:38 AM

John Stuart Ingle, a longtime University of Minnesota Morris art professor whose water color paintings were enjoyed by a national audience, died Oct. 30 of complications of Alzheimer's disease. He was 77.

Ingle mastered an individual painting style he characterized as "meticulous realism."

"I don't want to make arbitrary changes in what I see to paint the picture; I want to paint what is given,'' he was quoted as saying.

''The whole idea is to take something that's given and explore that reality as intensely as I can."

His reputation grew from winning contests at the Minnesota State Fair to the national sale of his work to private and corporate customers by New York art dealer Peter Tatischev.

Yale and Harvard universities have Ingle paintings, said son David Ingle of Chaska.

Ingle, who also painted portraits, was chosen by General Mills to paint the 75th anniversary image of Betty Crocker in 1996.

"John Stuart Ingle paints still-life watercolors of golden-ripe pears and deep-red strawberries, antique tables and hand-thrown pots, crystal bowls and lace doilies, and cold-steel paring knives, oriental carpets, arabesque tile, and gourmet candies as real as small children," Minnesota author John Camp wrote in "The Eye and The Heart,'' a 1988 book about his work. Camp is now known as the mystery writer John Sandford.

Ingle was born in 1933 in Evansville, Ind. While his father, David, fought in World War II, his mother, Susan, who suffered from tuberculosis, moved the family to Arizona. Ingle graduated with an art degree from the University of Arizona.

He went to Europe to pursue his painting and met his wife, Germaine, a native of Belgium. They married and lived in Brussels, where their children, David and Colette, who now lives in Plymouth, were born.

Ingle returned to the United States and earned an advanced degree at the University of Tucson in 1967. He joined the University of Minnesota- Morris, where he taught drawing and painting. He retired in 2003.

A tall, thin, quiet man, Ingle "had a strong presence about himself,'' said Jenny Nellis, a sculptor and art professor at Morris who knew Ingle for many years.

She remembers him as dignified with "very correct posture. He had an incredible command of the English language. He was very intelligent and extremely well read.

"He was an inspiration to his students and he forced them to learn about theory and understand the history of painting," Nellis said.

He enjoyed classical music, gardening, gourmet cooking, fencing and horseback riding. He dressed often in tweed jackets.

He had a perfectly lit studio in his house where he grew orchids, Nellis said.

Fred Peterson, an artist and art historian at Morris, said some students came there just to study under Ingle. "He was an excellent teacher. He allowed students to develop their own style," Peterson said.

After he retired, Ingle moved to Minnetonka and built a house. Germaine died earlier this year.

Ingle is survived by his son and daughter. Services will be at 1 p.m. Nov. 27 at the Minnesota Cremation Society in Edina, 7110 France Av. S.

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