About

Arthur Mooney, c. 1880-1890

The Mooney Art Collection, on public display since 2000, reflects both the community of Charles City and its collector’s love for art.

The Mooney Art Collection

Located in the Charles City Public Library, the Mooney Art Collection features works of classical artists such as Dali, Picasso, Rembrandt, and Goya. Named for and amassed by Arthur Mooney, the pieces of the collection was gifted to the Charles City Public Library beginning in 1930.

Mooney was born in Rockford, Illinois in 1859 and came to Charles City at the age of eight. He studied under a local photographer and left Charles City in 1890 to attend art school in Minneapolis. Later, he moved to New York and eventually became a successful executive of the Eastman-Kodak Company. During time spent in New York and in Europe, he engaged in collecting fine art prints.

Although the majority of Mooney’s art prints were given to the library upon his death in 1941, they were not readily available to the public for over 50 years. In addition to lacking appropriate space to display them, the prints needed special framing to protect and preserve them.

The Mooney Art Gallery

Thanks to generous support from the community, these prints have been on public display in a permanent gallery at the Charles City Public Library for more than 20 years.

In 1994 the Library Board appointed a committee to bring the Mooney Collection to the public. This committee worked to raise money and consulted with Arthur Frick, an art consultant. Since there was no space to display them in the library at that time, the committee commissioned custom crates to be built in order to allow the collection to be displayed at other venues.

In 1998 the Mooney Collection was publicly displayed at the Charles City Art Center for the first time. After that, the collection was loaned to other institutions.

When longtime library supporter Katherine Zastrow died and bequeathed the library money to build a meeting room, plans were made to include a gallery to house the art prints inside the library. At that time, the library applied for and was granted additional funding from the Andres Foundation. Both the Gallery and Zastrow River Room were completed in 2000.

Tours of the display are provided to groups by request, and individuals can take the tour by audio guide.

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