Editor's note: The Indiana State Museum 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 State Museum directly through either this phone number or web address:


Heartland Art: Selections from Your Indiana Collection

May 1, 2010 - February 13, 2011


Heartland Art: Selections from Your Indiana Collection is an exhibit of 40 artworks chosen from the permanent collection of the Indiana State Museum. The show takes place from May 1, 2010 to February 13, 2011 in the NiSource Gallery at the museum. Although the works are conventionally exhibited in chronological order from 1835 to 2010, the specific pieces display styles or subjects not usually associated with the Indiana artists who created them. For example, the paintings included by T. C. Steele, now known for his bucolic landscapes, are a portrait and monochromatic scene completed while a student at the Royal Academy in Munich, and a floral still life.

The following are words included in the spring issue of the Indiana State Museum newsletter, Expectations:

One of my most delightful tasks as fine arts curator is to select artwork for public display from the museum's exceptional permanent collection. I feel new appreciation for individual paintings and sculpture when examining them for a different purpose. It's an opportunity to spruce up and possibly re-frame new "stars" of the show, and help other people recognize what the artist may have had in mind.
The Indiana State Museum takes care of one of the most impressive state-owned art collections in the nation. Since the permanent collection is in the public trust, it is essentially owned by all Hoosiers.
The quality and size of the museum collection, which consists of artwork exclusively by Indiana artists*, has developed through the generosity and efforts of many people. More than 200 paintings by T. C. Steele (1847-1926) were bequeathed by his second wife. Indiana dunes painter Frank V. Dudley (1868-1957) paid the State one painting each year in place of rent for his cottage in Dunes State Park. Former Governor Branigin's 1967 Contingency Fund was used to purchase selected artwork, including our painting by nationally known William Merritt Chase (1849-1916). Other state agencies contributed their artwork, including the significant collection of Indiana governors' portraits. The Indiana State Museum Foundation acquired pieces chosen from the annual Hoosier Salon exhibitions. Perhaps most importantly, generous citizens, including artists themselves, have donated paintings and sculpture to the museum.
But the art collection would not have become one of such distinction if the art made by Hoosiers had not been first-rate. The museum collection is particularly strong in historical works from the turn of the last century, when the best art being made in the Midwest, if not America, was that of the "Hoosier Group" (T. C. Steele, William Forsyth (1854-1935), J. Ottis Adams (1851-1927), Otto Stark (1859-1926), and Richard Gruelle (1851-1914).
Momentum from the Hoosier Group's depictions of their home state birthed the next generation's Brown County Art Colony, the largest Midwestern art colony in the United States. Brown County firmly established landscapes as Indiana's preferred style. Quality pieces by artists such as Adolph Shulz (1869-1963); Ada Walter Shulz (1870-1928); nationally recognized woodblock artist Gustave Baumann (1881-1971); African-American artist John Hardrick; and accomplished landscapists Edward K. Williams(1870-1950) and C. Curry Bohm(1894-1971) are featured in the show.
During the Great Depression the American mood, funding, and aesthetic direction encouraged every artist to paint every-day life, bringing Indiana in sync with national art trends. Today's artists use diverse genres and subjects that reflect our state's shifting population and culture. The absence of a dominant school of art and wide disparity of styles are indicators of the varied social currents in Indiana and beyond. Building a collection to represent our changing demographics and bring it up to date, our recent collecting efforts focus on works by women and minorities, in addition to artwork made after 1960.
Heartland Art: Selections from Your Indiana Collection traces 175 years of Indiana art created at home and elsewhere by Indiana natives. From early portraits of our Statesmen to abstract impressions of the 21st century, Indiana's history and culture are discovered through the eyes of our own. Admire an old favorite or discover a new one from YOUR Indiana collection!
Rachel Perry, fine arts curator
Indiana State Museum
* For collecting purposes, Indiana artists are those who were born in Indiana, or have made their names in the State.

To view:


(above: Ada Walter Shulz (1870-1928), Grey Goose, Oil on canvas, c. 1925. Donated by Mrs. Richard Crane and Charles Beall)


(above: Theodore Clement Steele (1847-1926), Black Man, Oil on canvas, c. 1883. Donated by Selma Neubacher Steele)


(above: Angel Mercado (born 1959), Morning at Lighthouse, Oil on canvas, 2000. Indiana State Museum Foundation Purchase)


Resource Library editor's note:

Resource Library readers may also enjoy:

For biographical information on artists referenced in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists

Read more articles and essays concerning this institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the Indiana State Museum in Resource Library.

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.

Search Resource Library for thousands of articles and essays on American art.

Copyright 2010 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.