Theodore Clement Steele, American, 1847–1926
Oil on canvas
38.1 cm x 56.19 cm | 15 in x 22 1/8 in
Framed: 56.51 cm x 73.97 cm | 22 ¼ in x 29 1/8 in
Signed but not dated, lower right | T.C. Steele
Courtesy Marian University, Indianapolis, Indiana, with special thanks to the Office of the President
This T.C. Steele landscape painting hangs in the Office of the President at Marian University in Indianapolis, Indiana. The oil on canvas painting was gifted to the university.
This Steele painting is complemented with another painting in the same office by Richard Gruelle (1851 – 1914). Gruelle was also an American impressionist and one of the five impressionist artists known as the “Hoosier Group” from 1880 – 1915 (J. Ottis Adams, Richard Gruelle, William Forsyth, Otto Stark, T.C. Steele). Gruelle’s oldest son Johnny Gruelle (1880 – 1938), is best known as the creator of the Raggedy Ann doll and related books and illustrations.
Marian University & the Allison Mansion
Marian University is a private Roman Catholic University founded in 1851, by the Sisters of St. Francis in Oldenburg, Indiana. The college moved to Indianapolis in 1937, and was referred to as Marian College from 1936 until 2009 when it was renamed Marian University.
The Offices of the President are located in the Allison Mansion at 3200 Cold Spring Road on the Marian University grounds on the northwest side of Indianapolis. Commissioned by James Allison, the home sits on a bluff overlooking Crooked Creek. James Allison, was a co-founder of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and was one of the city’s most important automobile entrepreneurs of the early 20th century.
With its distinctive red-brick style and red-tile roof, this mansion remains an important example of an Arts & Crafts Country era architecture. The mansion was constructed between 1911 and 1914. The Allison’s called their new estate “Riverdale”.1 The estate was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.
Following James Allison’s death in 1928, the university acquired the mansion from the Allison estate in 1937. With many uses through the years, at one point, it served as the university’s only library.
President Daniel J. Elsener became the eighth president of Marian University in August of 2001 and has been the recipient of many prestigious awards and recognition.
President Elsener has been the recipient of two Sagamore of the Wabash awards, (highest honor in the state of Indiana). These awards are bestowed upon citizens who contribute greatly to the state of Indiana. Both awards were in recognition of Elsener’s 10 years of service to the State Board of Education and Indiana Education Roundtable to improve education for the entire state.
The first was conferred by Governor Mitch Daniels on October 13, 2011. “Marian University has been a stabilizing force on Indianapolis’ west side for more than 70 years. I am very pleased to witness its dramatic growth into a powerhouse for Indiana,” said Daniels.2
The second was conferred by Governor Mike Pence on August 10, 2015. “Dan Elsener is a man of character and integrity, and his career demonstrates his longstanding commitment to and vision for improved education in Indiana,” said Governor Pence.2
1“James Allison Mansion – Indianapolis: A Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary.” National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior. Accessed November 18, 2020. https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/indianapolis/allisonmansion.htm.
2“President Daniel J. Elsener.” Marian University. Accessed November 18, 2020. https://www.marian.edu/about-marian/leadership.