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

Paul & his wife Mathilda originally emigrated to LaCrosse, Wisconsin from Germany in 1885. They raised five children on their farm and later left the farm's operations to one of their sons. In 1929, the couple decided to begin their own "retirement project". Building continued from 1929-1936, primarily in the summer months. Sculptures on the property included ships, fences, religious structures, and many other buildings. Many of the pieces on the property made of concrete and are covered in shattered glass and crockery. The Wegner Grotto is now owned by the Kohler Foundation which has preserved the pieces and added structural stabilization to the area.

The "Home" arch sculpture depicted in the photograph leads to the house on the farm property. This structure is covered in mostly crockery which is old, broken dishes. Connected to the arch is more fencing which is also decorated. This is just one of the many places where the couple's fencing can be seen.

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

Condition Notes

35 mm slide in excellent condition.


Image Location