New Ulm… Then New York… And Back Again

With the recent opening at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City and the exhibit showcasing new acquisitions at the Wanda Gág House in New Ulm, author, painter, print maker and suffragette Wanda Gág (1893-1946) is back in the limelight.

The Whitney, arguably the finest holding of twenty-century American art in the world, opened “Wanda Gág’s World” on March 28th (to December 2024) adjacent to the Museum’s remarkable Biennial. A recent article in the New York Post referencing Wanda’s famous book Millions of Cats, the oldest picture book still in print, brought further attention to the author.

At her childhood home in New Ulm, MN (now a gallery), the show, entitled “More Than Cats”, emphasizes three spokes of the Wanda Gág House:

Books – Beyond emphasizing her famed Millions of Cats, the show features Nothing at all, the story of an invisible orphan puppy. Her influence on the genre of children’s literature is undeniable, and her books have brought joy and inspiration to countless readers over the years.

Art – Several of the 355 pieces of art recently obtained by the Gág House by the estate, are in the exhibit. Wanda’s childhood art depicts the evolution of the young artist. Works by Anton and Flavia, never before seen at the house, are also on display.

House – The third spoke is, of course, the Gág house itself, a Queen Anne Victorian created and designed by Anton Gag. Its decorative painting and layered wall treatments are a tribute to his true Craftsmanship.

Born in New Ulm, MN, to Lizzie and Anton Gag, immigrants from German-Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic), Gág studied painting with her father. As a teenager, she won a scholarship to the St. Paul School of Art and also attended the Minneapolis School of Art (later Minneapolis College of Art and Design). In 1917 she moved to New York and studied at the Art Student League. She soon became a fixture in the city’s art scene.

Although widely known for her book Millions of Cats, Wanda Gág’s artistic legacy extends far beyond children’s literature. Her graphic works flow and hum with life as Wanda saw it. Landscapes and everyday objects undulate over the pages of her books and lithographs. Her artwork is internationally recognized and is part of the permanent collection in such institutions as the British Museum in London, Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and the Pushkin Museum in Moscow to name a few. In the United States, visitors can see Gag’s work in such iconic museums as The Whitney Museum of American Art and Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, and countless others.

In addition to her illustrations, Gág was known for her feminist beliefs and her involvement in the avant-garde scene in the West Village of New York City during the early 20th century. Gág was a supporter of women’s rights and was part of a community of artists who challenged traditional norms and pushed the boundaries of artistic expression. Throughout her career, Wanda Gág demonstrated a deep passion for art, storytelling and the creative life. Her dedication to her craft, as well as her progressive views, have ensured her legacy as a significant figure in both in and beyond the worlds of art and literature.

“More Than Cats” opens Thursday, May 16th, from 6pm to 8pm and will continue weekends until November at Wanda Gag House 226 North Washington Street, New Ulm, Minnesota.

“More Than Cats” is curated by Alexander Roth – fifth generation New Ulmer and 17-year New Yorker.

The Wanda Gág House is one of the many attractions that make New Ulm so unique! To learn more about the attractions you can see in New Ulm, please visit –