Richard B. Gruelle [1851-1914]

Richard Gruelle was described by Jacob Dunn as “the most absolutely untaught artist who ever did really good work in the vicinity” in his “History of Greater Indianapolis” (485). Gruelle was born in Cynthiana, Kentucky to John and Prudence Gruelle, the youngest of the eight boys and three girls. Both there and in Arcola, Illinois, where the family moved six years later, young Richard drew on “everything he could find,” and apparently, any time and all the time. His teachers were constantly reprimanding him for drawing during class. But with the whole-hearted encouragement of his mother, Richard B. Gruelle would draw up scenes for his own “panorama shows,” charging his friends and neighbors “five pins” to see his primitive “slide shows” of scenes of the battle between the Monitor and the Merrimac.