Theodore Clement Steele, American, 1847–1926
Oil on canvas
60.96 cm x 50.80 cm | 24 in x 20 in
Framed: 78.10 cm x 60.08 cm | 30.75 in x 26.63 in
Signed and dated lower left, 23k gold gilt period style hand-carved frame
With permission, Eckert & Ross Fine Art
This painting is from the early Brown County period of Steele’s work (1907 – 1926). It is painted in a rare vertical format.
At the time of this painting (1909), Steele had been in residence in Brown County for only two years, and was still exploring the broad subject matter his new home in Brown Country offered. The following years, several significant accomplishments and recognition occurred for Steele, including being elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design in New York (1913), exhibiting at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco (1915), and being awarded an honorary doctorate from Indiana University (1916).
Sunlight Through the Trees was given as a housewarming gift by the artist’s son Rembrandt (Brandt), to Mr. and Mrs. Robert Dugdale in 1955. The two families became acquainted in the historic neighborhood of Woodruff Place in Indianapolis, where the both lived.
Rembrandt Theodore Steele (1870 – 1965) was a successful artist in his own right. Known for his design and pottery in the Arts and Crafts Style. His former home in Woodruff Place (Indianapolis) at 811 East Drive he designed himself and moved lived there with his family. The home is a double-gabled bungalow of Arts & Crafts and Tudor Revival influences and stills stands today, largely unchanged including the stained glass throughout the house.
“One of the most unusual houses created in Indianapolis at the turn of the century was Steele’s own residence on East Drive in Woodruff Place. The design of the house departs markedly from that of the houses built at the time. It includes an applied half-timber and stucco façade, while the Arts and Crafts taste predominates in the interior design. Most important, stained glass thought the house reflect Steele’s love of nature.”1
Woodruff Place was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, U.S. Department of the Interior in 1972.
Richmond, Indiana, Richmond Art Museum, “Collector’s Edition: Hoosier Art Heritage,” February 1 – March 26, 2016.
1Shifman, Barry. “Work Worth Doing: Brandt Steele, Designer and Potter.” Traces 6, no. 1 (Winter 1994): 16-21.