Theodore Clement Steele, American, 1847–1926
Oil on canvas
55.88 cm x 101.6 cm | 22 in x 40 in
Signed and dated lower right, T.C. Steele 1888
By permission, Haan Museum of Indiana Art, Lafayette, Indiana
Acquired from Eckert Fine Art in November 1992 (now James R. Ross Fine Art)
The Shades is an excellent example of the darker Munich palette that Steele used just after his return from Germany. It was painted at The Shades, located near Waveland, Indiana before this area became Shades State Park .
Shades State Park includes Pines Hills Nature Preserve, an old pine plantation, which provides spectacular topography and became Indiana’s first National Natural Landmark in 1968. This area has deep gorges, extensive sandstone bluffs and is covered with stands of evergreens and hardwood trees.
This area of Montgomery County, Indiana is where T.C. Steele spent his boyhood. We encourage each of you to visit the Shades State Park and Pine Hills Nature Preserve, and see the beauty of this area and why T.C. Steele was attracted to paint here.
While in this area, be sure to visit the Carnegie Library in the nearby town of Waveland, Indiana and see the painting In Harvest Time (1914) which T.C.Steele donated to the Library upon its opening in 1915.
Sugar Creek, which Steele also painted, runs through Shades State Park. We encourage you to walk along the beautiful sandstone cliffs overlooking Sugar Creek while in Shades State Park.
Lastly, while in this area, you can drive by the T.C. Steele Boyhood Home, listed on the National Register of Historic Places at 110 S. Cross Street, Waveland, Indiana. And, you may visit the Waveland Methodist Cemetery where T.C. Steele’s father, grandfather, and two of his siblings are buried.
The Haan Museum of Indiana Art
The Haan Mansion began as the Connecticut Building at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair (officially the Louisiana Purchase Exposition). Numerous parts from the 1760 Hubbard-Slater mansion in Norwich were used in the building, which was purchased by William and Fannie Potter after the Fair and reconstructed in Lafayette.
The home was in poor condition when the Haans purchased it from the Potter descendants in 1984, but the Haans lived in the home as it was, while running Haan Crafts (their company that made sewing projects to teach students how to sew) and raising their three sons. When they started working on the house in 1992, they decided to decorate the walls with paintings by Indiana artists, thinking that it would be less expensive than important American paintings, and that there would be fewer artists to learn about. They had no idea about the quality of work that was produced in Indiana, or how that decision would change their lives.
The timing was perfect, as it was shortly after The Passage exhibition of paintings by T.C. Steele, J Ottis Adams and William Forsythe, the three Hoosier Group members who studied in Munich. The exhibition and a book were put together by Mary Krause at what was then the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and the show also travelled to Munich and New York City. Many of the paintings were borrowed from private collectors, and some of those collectors decided that it was the ideal time to sell, because the values would never be higher.
The Haans sought out major paintings by Indiana’s most important artists, and only bought the artists’ best works. Many of the paintings in the collection are featured in books about Indiana art – some before Bob and Ellie purchased them, and some after they became part of the Haan collection.
The first public tour of the Haan mansion was in 1994, to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Fair and the building. At that time, the Haans had only renovated the first floor, except for the kitchen and butler’s pantry. The tour was to benefit two preservation organizations – the Wabash Valley Trust for Historic Preservation and Indiana Landmarks. They said that they would be elated if 1000 people came. They were stunned when they had over 2700 people in one weekend.
Other Museums began to borrow paintings for special exhibitions about Indiana art. Bob and Ellie continued buying major paintings until they sold their business in 2003, and they knew that they needed to limit their buying. It became increasingly obvious that they needed to keep the collection together to showcase Indiana’s rich cultural heritage, and a museum was the way to achieve their goal. Indiana ceramics and American furniture put the finishing touches on the Museum.
The Museum is now run by a Board of Directors, a small staff, and many volunteers.
Special thanks to Bob and Ellie Haan, Haan Museum of Indiana Art, Lafayette, Indiana