University of Minnesota Duluth
MyU | Search | People | Departments | Events | News

Maintain the Right


Arnold Friberg (American, 1913-2010)

Maintain the Right, 1963

Oil on Canvas, 32x25"

Collection Tweed Museum of Art, UMD

Gift of the Potlatch Collection



Mounties of the Potlatch Collection

The Potlatch Collection of Royal Canadian Mounted Police illustrations was donated to the Tweed Museum of Art University of Minnesota Duluth in 1981. This collection of more than 350 paintings, each featuring a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer in his characteristic red tunic, was commissioned from sixteen illustrators between 1931 and 1970 by what was then the Northwest Paper Company, based in Cloquet, Minnesota. “The Mounties”, as they are informally known to their many devotees, had their start as a creative and timely business-to-business advertising campaign, reflective of the northern and western forests surrounding the company’s headquarters and from which the company harvested its raw materials. From nationally recognized artists like Hal Foster, Burne Hogarth, J. Allen St. John, and Arnold Friberg to illustrators about whom little is known, all were connected to the Mountie ad campaign by their temporary or permanent location in Chicago, which had become a center for innovative pictorial advertising. The original function of these images was to advertise the company’s papers to the printing trade. Symbolic of one particular, though vast geographical region, and aimed at businesses rather than individuals, the Potlatch Mounties never became as widely known as some of their regional advertising-lore cousins, such as the Jolly Green Giant, Betty Crocker, Paul Bunyan , or the Land O’Lakes Indian maiden. Nonetheless, these illustrations, reproduced for nearly seventy-five years on Northwest Paper/Potlatch calendars, notepad broadsides, and print ads, have long been collected by those seeking images of the ‘north woods’ as exemplified by the imaginary images of the pioneering deeds of the steadfast Mountie. Like Norman Rockwell’s slices of everyday American life or N. C. Wyeth’s famous illustrations for Cream of Wheat, the Mounties have now become part of the collective popular culture psyche.


- Peter Spooner, excerpt from Looking North: Royal Canadian Mounted Police Illustrations, 2003, Afton Historical Society Press.


Image gallery coming soon.



© 2018 University of Minnesota Duluth
The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
Last modified on 05/31/17 09:55 AM
University of Minnesota Campuses
Crookston | Duluth | Morris
Rochester | Twin Cities