Theodore Clement Steele, American, 1847–1926
Oil on canvas
53.97 cm x 80.01 cm | 21 ¼ in x 31 ½ in
Framed: 72.39 cm x 97.79 cm | 28 ½ in x 38 ½ in
Signed and dated lower right, T.C. Steele / 1901
By permission, Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College, Lynchburg, VA
Gift of Mrs. Patrice Gouvernayre (Betsy Paxton Gouvernayer ’71) in memory of her father, Dr. Thomas R. Paxton, 1980
Accession number: M.1980.1
This beautiful landscape painting is in the collection of the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College, Lynchburg, VA. This is the only T.C. Steele painting in the Maier Museum collection.
LuAnn Keener-Mikenas is a published poet, and worked in the Randolph College’s counseling until her recent retirement. In addition to her published poetry work, she is a licensed clinical social worker.
“LuAnn Keener-Mikenas’ work has been increasingly concerned with the remaking and spiritualization of our relationship with the natural world” 1
She wrote the poem “Missing My Mother” and included this T.C. Steele painting, Autumn Landscape, as a companion to the poem.
“Missing My Mother” by LuAnn Keener-Mikenas
AFTER THEODORE CLEMENT STEELE’S AUTUMN LANDSCAPE
If I could call you back
to walk with me down this lane—
it might have looked just like this at home
when you were twenty: the sand-colored
country road, maples flaming in the month
of your birth, white house down the way
flashing back the bright glance of sunrise,
azure slippered with lilac. If I could grasp
your hand again, who are not
in this painting, that might have been
the one you would have picked–
its autumn orange just the color
of your wedding suit and tam . . . . I brought them
back with me, another place you are not.
And yet (already I begin to know this)
you’re everywhere. Now you can say
to any artist you choose, Paint me in. So much light
you can splash it on everything. So much peace,
and beauty quite an ordinary thing—how do we miss it?
A place where you might come to me,
a simple open road.
Dedicated to Mary Helen Keener, 1922-2005
Luann Keener-Mikenas is the author of two collection of poems. Homeland (Louisiana Literature Press 2012) received the 2013 Library of Virginian Poetry Award. Color Documentary (Calyx Books 1994) received in manuscript a 1990 Virginia Prize.
We express our appreciation to Luann Keener-Mikenas for permission to use this beautiful poem in memory of her mother Mary Helen Keener.
Painting courtesy of Maier Museum of Art, Randolph College, Lynchburg, VA