Nicholas Brewer was a prominent 19th-century portrait and landscape painter. He was born in Olmsted County and was raised on a farm along the Root River. He was a student at the National Academy of Design in New York, where he also exhibited. Once he moved back to Minnesota, Brewer painted a crucifixion scene in the Cathedral of St. Paul. He was highly sought after as a portrait painter in the Twin Cities. He painted portraits of notable citizens such as Theodore Hamm, Frank Kellogg, and John Ireland, among others. This photo from 1900 shows Brewer in his St. Paul studio. The large portrait on the right is of Father Thomas J. Ducey, founder of St. Leo’s Roman Catholic Church in New York City.
Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society