Theodore Clement Steele, American, 1847–1926
Oil on canvas
95. 2cm x 115.6 cm | 37.5 in x 45.5 in
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA
Gift of Hubert L. Collins, M. D., and his wife Cordelia A. Collins, R. N.
In the 1880s, T.C. Steele studied in Munich, Germany, where he was trained in the “gray manner,” a realist, academic style characterized by a muted palette, precise underdrawing, and chiaroscuro. Painted in 1884 as his student exhibition piece at Munich’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, The Boatman, one of Steele’s finest early works, sharply contrasts with his later, and better-known, Impressionist paintings of the southern Indiana landscape. Distinguished by its skillful depiction of the strain of physical labor, The Boatman won a Silver Medal from the Munich academy.