Editor's note: The Indiana Historical Society provided source material to Resource Library for the following article or essay. If you have questions or comments regarding the source material, please contact the Indiana Historical Society directly through either this phone number or web address:


The Art of Healing: The Wishard Art Collection

February 7 through June 6, 2004


In 1914, a group of renowned Hoosier artists came together for the benefit of patients at Wishard Memorial Hospital (then known as City Hospital), Indiana's largest public hospital. The prominent artists painted murals -- more than a quarter mile of them -- and other works that would not only decorate the new building but, more central to their artistic ambitions, lift spirits. (right: Carl C. Graf, Landscape, 53 x 43 inches, oil on canvas adhered to Masonite, Wishard Art Collection)

Ninety years later, the Indiana Historical Society and Wishard Memorial Hospital have collaborated to open "The Art of Healing," an exhibit featuring many of the original murals. The display will be open free to the public February 7 through June 6, 2004 at the Indiana History Center, 450 W. Ohio Street. This marks the first time the general public will be able to view this historic artwork.

The mural project, originally funded by St. Margaret's Hospital Guild, involved many leading Hoosier artists of the time, including William Forsyth, Wayman Adams, Otto Starke, Carl Graf, William Edouard Scott and among others, J. Ottis Adams and T.C. Steele. Forsyth, who served as project supervisor, regarded it as "the most ambitious and monumental work yet undertaken by Indianapolis artists."

Many of the artists moved into quarters provided at the hospital during the duration of the project. Supported by the idealism of their shared venture and their artistic camaraderie, all, even the most famous, agreed to work for $75 to $100 a month, the going wage for union house painters. In total, more than 33 murals (with many subdivided parts) were completed and more than 20 paintings were donated. (left: T. C. Steele, Four Seasons, Summer, 60 x 111 inches, oil on canvas adhered to Masonite, Wishard Art Collection) 

"The Art of Healing" is open free to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.


The Art of Healing: The Wishard Art Collection Book to be Released

To accompany the exhibition and help make its story known, the Indiana Historical Society Press in cooperation with the Wishard Memorial Foundation, Inc. will release The Art of Healing: The Wishard Art Collection, on April 1.

Written by Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, curator of the Wishard collection, the hardcover book includes color reproductions of the artwork and essays by Katherine C. Nagler and Hester Anne Hale. The Art of Healing can be ordered from the History Market by calling 1-800-447-1830.


History Tea featuring "The Art of Healing"

Enjoy a traditional afternoon tea and a discussion of "The Art of Healing," paintings from 4 to 6 p.m. on March 25 at the Indiana History Center. Exhibition curator Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko and art historian Kathy Nagler will discuss the significance of the paintings, their Hoosier creators and the link to Wishard Health Services. Following the tea, guests will be led on a tour of the exhibition. Fee. Advance reservations are required and can be made by calling (317) 232-1882. (right: T.C. Steele, Four Seasons, Autumn, 60 x 111 inches, oil on canvas adhered to Masonite, Wishard Art Collection)


About the Indiana Historical Society

Since 1830, the Indiana Historical Society has been Indiana's storyteller, connecting people to the past by collecting, preserving, interpreting and disseminating Indiana history. The independent, nonprofit organization also publishes books and periodicals; sponsors teacher workshops; provides youth, adult and family programming; assists local historical groups throughout the state; and maintains one of the largest collections of material on the history of Indiana and the Old Northwest. The Indiana Historical Society is one of the oldest historical societies in the United States, and one of the largest with more than 10,000 members.

The Indiana Historical Society is located at 450 West Ohio St. Indianapolis, IN 46202. For hours and admission fees please see the Society's website.


Editor's note: RL readers may also enjoy these related articles and essays:

and from the Web:


Google announced in 2004 a collaboration with institutional libraries, such as the University Of Michigan Library, to digitize large quantities of books: the Google Books Library Project. Public domain books are made available to the public on an open access basis. Copyrighted material is treated in one of three ways. Google negotiates with cooperating publishers through its Google Books Partner Program for "full view" or "limited preview" of entire books, pages or sections within books. For scanned books without copyright permissions, "snippets" may be made available to the public. For remaining books basic information is provided without ability to search within the book. Snippets inform readers about the relevance of the book to their subject of inquiry. A Google Book Search conducted June 19, 2008 located the following books indicated as having been published by the Museum and do not feature Google Books "full view," "limited preview" or "snippit view."

The Art of Healing: Medicine and Science in American Art, By William H. Gerdts, Birmingham Museum of Art. Published by Birmingham Museum of Art, 1981. Original from the University of Michigan. Digitized Nov 12, 2007. 119 pages

Book information courtesy of Google Books.

Links to sources of information outside of our web site are provided only as referrals for your further consideration. Please use due diligence in judging the quality of information contained in these and all other web sites. Information from linked sources may be inaccurate or out of date. TFAO neither recommends or endorses these referenced organizations. Although TFAO includes links to other web sites, it takes no responsibility for the content or information contained on those other sites, nor exerts any editorial or other control over them. For more information on evaluating web pages see TFAO's General Resources section in Online Resources for Collectors and Students of Art History.

rev. 10/28/05

Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library. See America's Distinguished Artists for biographical information on historic artists.

This page was originally published in 2004 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

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