Theodore Clement Steele, American, 1847–1926
Oil on canvas
55.88 cm x 101.6 cm | 22 x 40 in
Signed and dated lower right, private collection
T. C. Steele had an extremely busy season in 1903. He took his second painting trip to the west coast that year, and returned recharged and rejuvenated from the colorful and vibrant change of scenery. He painted during this summer and autumn again in Brookville, Indiana in preparation for his annual December exhibition at the Lieber Gallery in Indianapolis. This painting comes from the Brookville fall season of 1903.
During the fall of 1903, Steele painted one of his best and most well known paintings, The Old Mills, currently in the collection of the Haan Museum of Indian Art, Lafayette, Indiana.
The Ravine looks as if it may have been painted in the same location, or nearby. In comparison to The Old Mills, notice the hazy blue ridge in the distance of both paintings. This large painting is of a scale and unique color vibrancy; you feel as if you are in the brilliantly colored landscape.
During the year 1903, Steele also served on the jury of selection and awards for paintings for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition to be held in St. Louis the following year (1904).
Steele was living in Indianapolis during the time he painted The Ravine. Libbie, the mother of his children had died in 1899, and the family moved from the Tinker Talbot home, which was sold in 1901 to the Art Association of Indianapolis, to 420 East St. Clair Street downtown. During this period, Steele also spent time at The Hermitage, in Brookville, Indiana painting in the Whitewater Valley. Steele did not move from Indianapolis to the “House of the Singing Winds” in Nashville, Indiana until 1907 where he painted “painted the scenery of Brown County” until his death in 1926.
This beautiful painting is currently for sale. Contact Jim Ross at Eckert & Ross:
1 Jim Ross, Eckert & Ross Fine Art, Indianapolis, Indiana
2 The House of the Singing Winds, Selma N. Steele, Theodore L. Steele, Wilbur D. Peat, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1966.
3 The Passage – Return of Indiana Painters from Germany: 1880-1905, Martin F. Krause, curator of Prints and Drawings (retired) at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne, Germany in cooperation with Indiana University Press.