Minneapolis art collector, dealer, and philanthropist DeLoris Fiterman—popularly known as “Dolly”—died on August 19, writes Mila Koumpilova of the Star Tribune. In an older article from the paper, Fiterman was described as “what oil-field workers would call a gusher—a great, explosive, natural well of bubbling energy and impulsive enthusiasm.”
Fiterman was born in Bejou in northwestern Minnesota. She studied broadcasting, speech, and theater at the University of Minnesota, and graduated from a business school in St. Cloud. She married her husband, a Minneapolis financier named Edward, in the 1950s. She first studied painting and sculpture and then segued into collecting art. She ended up amassing a 1,000-piece-strong collection with works from Picasso, Warhol, Milton Avery, and James Rosenquist, among countless others. She donated works to many institutions, such as the Walker Art Center, the University of Minnesota, the University of St. Thomas (which received over 350 works from her collection), and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. She opened her first gallery in 1977 on the ninth floor of the Plymouth Building in downtown Minneapolis. Later on she purchased and refurbished the Pillsbury Branch Library, which reopened as Dolly Fiterman Fine Arts in 1991. She also underwrote a Minnesota Opera design fund and the Walker’s Sculpture Garden.
In 1997, the University of St. Thomas awarded Fiterman with an honorary doctorate. She also lived in a dorm for faculty priests for nearly a year when her home in Lake Harriet was being worked on for mold. Reverend Dennis Dease, the university’s president at the time, was concerned over how the more senior priests “would handle a vivacious, fashionable female roommate.” They ended up adoring her, helping to carry her groceries and gossiping with her in the cafeteria.