One of South Bend, Indiana’s best known landscape painters of the 20th century, George A. Aldrich became most associated with richly painted impressionist landscapes with water of Brittany and Normandy.
George Aldrich was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on June 3, 1872. His early art experience took place in the 1890’s while living in Europe. He studied art in the Midwest, the East Coast, and throughout Europe, becoming a successful and respected etcher and painter. He worked as an illustrator for both “Punch” magazine and “The London Times” in the 1890’s.
Returning to the United States, George A. Aldrich became a member of the Art Students’ League in New York City. Soon thereafter, it is thought he may have studied architecture at M.I.T. His experience there is evident in the buildings and houses of many of his landscape paintings.
Aldrich continued his art education in Paris, attending Academies Julian and Colarossi, and later joining the Societe des Artistes Francais. His personal style was refined as he spent several years traveling throughout Europe. Between 1909 and 1910, Aldrich lived with artist/instructor Dieppe, completing many of his most popular paintings in Normandy and Brittany.
In 1918, Aldrich arrived in Chicago and became involved with the South Bend art scene during the 1920s. The Indiana dune country, at the southern end of Lake Michigan, was a popular subject for Chicago’s painters. The area had reverted to wilderness after the Indians left and after the Chicago fire, when thousands of trees were cut down to rebuild the city.
George Aldrich exhibited regularly at the Art Institute of Chicago and was a member of the Chicago Galleries Association, the Hoosier Salon, and the Chicago Society of Painters and Sculptors. In 1924 he won an architectural club traveling scholarship and traveled to Europe to paint in England, Germany, Spain, Italy, and France.
His work is represented in many museums throughout the world. Many private and corporate collections also carry his work, including the Union League of Chicago and the War Mothers Building in Washington, DC.
George Ames Aldrich died in Chicago in 1941.
Many of these artists were either native to Indiana or lived, worked, and studied around the Midwest in the early 20th century, specifically in Indiana locales such as Indianapolis, Brown County, Muncie, Nashville, Portland, Richmond, South Bend, and southern Indiana.
Several artists studied or were integral figures at Indiana institutes such as the Fort Wayne Art School, Muncie Art School, Indiana School of Art, and the Richmond School. Others were associated with entities such as the Brown County Art Colony, Hoosier Group, Hoosier Salon, and the Richmond Art Museum. The artwork we are seeking includes impressionist, landscape, oil, still life, and watercolor paintings from these Indiana artists.
Brown County Art Colony
The Brown County Art Colony was formed in the early 1900s by artists who were attracted by the undisturbed picturesque landscape known as Peaceful Valley. T.C. Steele was the first to become a resident of the county when he purchased 200 acres near Belmont. Adolph Shulz is considered to be the founder of the Brown County Art Colony. He began visiting Brown County in 1908 and in 1917 became a permanent resident. Both Adolph Shulz and T.C. Steele influenced other artists and many began building cabins and moving to the area.
Will Vawter and Gustave Baumann were among the first to make Brown County their home. Other artists such as Charles Dahlgreen, Lucie Hartrath, and L.O. Griffith came from Chicago and by the early 1930s there were at least eighteen artists with permanent homes in Brown County.
Artists such as C. Curry Bohm, Edward K. Williams, Ada Walter Shulz, Carl Graf, V.J. Cariani, Gustav Baumann, Will Vawter, Dale Bessire, Georges LaChance, Marie Goth, Leota Loop, Adam Emory Albright, Olive Rush, and Alexis Fournier flourished and created the Brown County Art Colony nearly 100 years ago.
- Letsinger-Miller, Lyn. The Artists of Brown County. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1994.
- Nesbit, M. Joanne, ed., Barbara Judd, comp. Those Brown County Artists: The Ones Who Came the Ones Who Stayed the Ones Who Moved On. Nashville: Nana’s Book, 1993.
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