The outside of the Neltje Center

About Neltje

Neltje smiles and poses


Neltje was born in New York City in 1934 and grew up spending time in rural Long Island and South Carolina. In 1966, she left her life in New York and set out with her two young children to settle on a ranch in Wyoming. In 1985 she turned her passion for art into a serious practice and formed her career as an abstract expressionist painter. She studied at the Art Students League, The New York Studio School, and has exhibited her work across the United States. Her solo exhibitions include showings at the Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper, Wyoming, the University of Wyoming Art Museum, and the Yellowstone Art Center in Billings, Montana. Her work is included in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution, IBM Corporation, Yellowstone Art Museum, and the Wyoming State Museum, as well as private collections both nationally and internationally.

But Neltje was so much more than a painter. She was also a rancher, educator, entrepreneur, community developer, benefactor, champion of contemporary visual art and literature, mother and grandmother. Her generosity to her friends, colleagues and family, and her respect for nature extend to all that she did and all that she valued.

In her early years in Wyoming, in 1969, Neltje stepped up to save the historic Sheridan Inn from destruction and for nearly two decades ran the Inn for the public. In 2001, she founded the Jentel Foundation, inviting artists and writers from around the US to Wyoming to envision, to create, to reinvigorate, to dream. Neltje traveled the world over and in time, established Turned Antiques, a store full of eclectic clothing and furnishings from around the world that attracted patrons from around the state.

Neltje was a one-woman force in the Sheridan area and state-wide and Wyoming is richer for her vision and leadership.


Imagine a world of Gatsby-esque glamor, opulence, and cultural prestige, of exclusive parties and elegant dinners, of literary luminaries including Somerset Maugham, Daphne du Maurier, Irving Stone, and Theodore Roethke, of Manhattan townhouses and country estates. This is a world where children are raised by nannies, tutors, chauffeurs, gardeners, butlers, maids, and assorted staff, sent off to private schools―and largely ignored by their parents.

Publishing magnate Nelson Doubleday’s daughter, Neltje, was raised to assume her place as a society matron. But beneath a seemingly idyllic childhood, darker currents ran: a colorful but alcoholic father whose absences left holes, a mother incapable of love, a family divided by money and power struggles, and a secret that drove the young woman into emotional isolation.

North of Crazy is her story―written with the same fierce passion, wit, and emotion that drove her off the conventional path to reconstruct her life from base zero. She became an artist, cattle rancher, and entrepreneur. 

You can find her memoir here.

North of Crazy


For more, see the video below to see Neltje give a reading from her memoir at the University of Wyoming Art Museum. 

Contact Us

Beth Venn
Executive Director, Neltje Center for Excellence in Creativity and the Arts
Phone: (307) 766-4101