Otto Moilan was born in Finland in 1881. After finishing school he studied painting privately and received some art instruction at the Helsingfors Art School (Finland). He then immigrated to Duluth/Superior, Minnesota where he operated a photography studio. Moving to Minneapolis, he attended the Minneapolis School of Art for four years. During that period he studied with Robert Koehler and Knute Heldner.
The first showing of one of his paintings, Road to the River, was at the Minnesota State Art Society exhibition in 1914. Three paintings were accepted for exhibition at the State Fair in 1926. One, The Mills, was given honorable mention. In 1929, Moilan became an instructor at the Kansas City
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