Theodore Clement Steele, American, 1847–1926
Oil on canvas
55.88 cm x 81.28 cm | 22.00 in x 32.00 in
Framed: 81.28 cm x 106.68 cm | 32.0 in x 42.0 in
Signed and dated lower left
with permission, Fine Estate Art, Indianapolis
California and western Oregon were two important painting areas outside of Indiana where the artist spent the summers of 1902 and 1903. He found the scenery strikingly different than Indiana, and painted some exceptional canvases.
In July of 1902, T.C. Steele and his daughter Daisy left for the West Coast to visit his mother and brothers in Oregon. Steele’s son Shirley and his wife were living in Redlands, California, and Steele visited and painted in this area after his visit in Oregon. This was the artist’s first trip to the West and he stayed in Redlands, California until mid-November 1902.
“Steele found the color in southern California to be ‘marvelous and unlike that of any other land he had ever seen,’ and due, he felt, largely to the atmosphere. ‘The air seems to vibrate with flashes of colored light,’ he wrote, “rose and violet, red and blue and orange, and this with a vividness and intensiveness I have never seen before…It has in it something of unreality.’ He found painting in this land a stimulating experience.¹
T.C. Steele returned to the West Coast the following summer (1904) to paint. During this trip he became concerned with the planning of the museum to be built by the Art Association of Indianapolis on the site of the Tinker house and returned to Indianapolis. In September of 1905, Tinker house was torn down and on November 25, 1905, at a celebration of the John Herron Art Institute and the laying of the cornerstone, Steele spoke on “The Future of the John Herron Art Institute“.2 3
Note: Painting received previous conservation (c. 1970); re-lined and mounted on a new stretcher system; older (possibly original) frame, recently restored. Painting comes from a private Midwest collection where it resided for the last sixty years.
1The House of the Singing Winds, Selma N. Steele, Theodore L. Steele, Wllbur D. Peat, Indiana Historidcal Society, Indianapolis, 1966.
2“Corner Stone Laying of the John Herron Art Institute.” The Indianapolis News, November 22, 1905. https://www.newspapers.com/image/?clipping_id=50274662.
3“Work of Now The Important Thing Says T.C. Steele.” The Indianapolis News, November 25, 1905. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/50286481/the-indianapolis-news/.