The Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
Collections main page   Raymond and Laura Wielgus Gallery  
West Africa
Central Africa
The Americas
Middle America
South America

Native America



Raymond and Laura Wielgus began acquiring art from Africa, the South Pacific, and the Americas in the 1950s, and over the next twenty years they assembled one of the premier private collections in the United States. Native Midwesterners, the Wielguses spent their professional lives in Chicago, where Laura was a pediatric nurse and nursing instructor and Raymond founded Wielgus Product Models, a business producing prototype models for design organizations and industry.

They retired to Tucson in 1970, but, while still in Chicago, they formed a friendship with Roy Sieber, who taught African art history at Indiana University for many years. That relationship sparked an interest in the IU Art Museum, and, in 1990, the Wielguses committed their collection and financial resources to the museum. In recognition of this extraordinary generosity, the museum named the gallery housing its collection of the arts of Africa, the South Pacific, and the Americas in their honor.

Laura died in 2003, but Raymond remained actively engaged with private collectors, museums, and dealers, who called upon his legendary connoisseurship skills and expertise until his death in 2010. With their passing, the commitment they made twenty years ago has been fulfilled through a bequest that includes not only their entire collection of African, Oceanic, Pre-Columbian, and Native American artworks and reference books, but also the funds to maintain and enhance their legacy. Thanks to the generosity and foresight of longtime museum friends Raymond and Laura Wielgus, one of the IU Art Museumís most outstanding collections will grow even stronger.