Joan Mondale, who became known as "Joan of Art" for her promotion of the fine arts during the political career of her husband, former Vice President Walter Mondale, died Monday in Minneapolis. She was 83.
Her family announced the death but did not give the cause.
Ms. Mondale, a self-described "traditional political wife," was recognized as one of the most prominent political spouses of her era. She logged tens of thousands of miles campaigning for her husband. A Minnesota Democrat, he served as his state's attorney general before being appointed in 1964 to the Senate, where he remained until being elected vice president in 1976 on Jimmy Carter's winning ticket. In 1984, Walter Mondale challenged Ronald Reagan, the Republican president, and lost in a landslide.
She became known as a tireless advocate for the cultivation of the arts. During her tenure as "second lady" of the United States, President Carter named her honorary chairman of the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities.
She traveled around the country attending museum exhibitions, dedicating new works of art and otherwise directing national attention on artists, noted or undiscovered, whom she admired. For her own part, she was an accomplished ceramicist.
She and her husband were the first couple to inhabit the vice president's residence on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory, and Ms. Mondale turned the home into a showcase for American art.