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South Dakota mourns death of one of America's most popular wildlife artists

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Terry Redlin, whose paintings of wildlife and outdoor scenes made him one of the country's most popular artists during the late 20 Century, has died at age 78.

According to the Terry Redlin Art Center, which is in the artist's hometown of Watertown, South Dakota, surveys of galleries conducted by U.S. ART during the 1990s repeatedly found Redlin to be the most popular artist.

During the '80s he was named artist of the year by Ducks Unlimited and won Minnesota Duck Stamp and Trout Stamp competitions, the Art Center says.

Redlin had suffered from dementia for the past nine years, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports.

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced that flags in the state will fly at half staff on the day of Redlin's funeral (which has not yet been announced).

"For many South Dakotans, Terry’s work brought to life our fondest memories of our state’s outdoor heritage and rural roots. He has left a legacy in Watertown and throughout the nation," Daugaard wrote.

According to the Argus Leader, Redlin said establishing the art center in Watertown was a say to repay South Dakota for the state scholarship that allowed him to attend the St. Paul School of Associated Arts, where he received his training.

The scholarship was created to help students with disabilities. Redlin lost a leg when he was 15 when a motorcycle on which he was riding was hit by a drunk driver.

KELO covered the opening of the Redlin Art Center in 1997.

His Art Center bio says a breakthrough in Redlin's career came in 1977 when one of his painting, "Winter Snows," was featured on the cover of the magazine The Farmer. His popularity soared, allowing him to give up his work as a commercial artist.

The Redlin Center says he donated artwork to Ducks Unlimited that raised more than $28 million for wetland conservation and restoration.

In 1987 Redlin began painting nostalgic scenes of Americana, the center says, and his Christmas prints as well as his American Memories Collection and Country Doctor Collection are widely collected, the Art Center says.

In addition to hanging in art galleries and private homes, the Associated Press reports, Redlin's images of ducks, deer, and cabins have been available on coffee mugs, jigsaw puzzles and other items for years.

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