The Road Less Traveled




Artist Dates



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Date of Work

ca. 1976


35mm slide, digitized 2020


James Smith Pierce Collection: Folk and Outsider Image Collection




UND Art Collections Repository

Artist Bio

Born in Brooklyn, New York, James Smith Pierce received his PhD in art history from Harvard University. During his career as a professor, Pierce also became an accomplished artist, whose artworks were included in important exhibitions (including a show on land art at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC) and books on contemporary earthworks and site-specific sculpture. Pierce was also a photographer, exhibition curator, and art collector.

Additional Information

Brother Joseph Zoettl, 1878-1961, traveled from his home country of Germany to America as a teenager, where he became a monk. At Saint Bernard Abbey, Brother Joseph worked at the powerhouse, doing very mindless work for long hours at a time. He was not allowed to be ordained as a priest, due to a disability that left him with a hunched back. To keep himself entertained, he began building grottoes made of rock around the religious statues on the property. The other monks noticed and began selling them. Brother Joseph then began making small scale models of religious structures, which he named “Little Jerusalem.” His superiors tasked him with replicating this work on an empty four acres on the estate to create the Ave Maria Grotto. The spectacular work of the Ave Maria Grotto can be seen in these images, which he made just by looking at pictures on postcards. Brother Joseph worked on the Grotto until he was 80 years old. In 1984, the Grotto was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Temple of the Fairies is one of the few of Brother Joseph’s non-religious pieces.

Image is provided for educational purposes only. © University of North Dakota. All rights reserved.

Condition Notes

35 mm slide in excellent condition.

Brother Joseph Image 3.mp3 (73 kB)
Temple of the Fairies


Image Location