A landscape painter known for his loose, impressionist style, Will Vawter was raised in Greenfield, Indiana and began his career as an illustrator. His first assignments were for James Whitcomb Riley, a successful poet who was also a resident of Greenfield. Vawter and his wife of two years moved to Brown County, Indiana in 1908. For the next fifteen years, he worked on magazine illustration assignments. In 1923 Vawter divorced and moved into a small apartment in downtown Nashville, where he became more involved in oil painting. In 1925 he exhibited and won the prize for best winter scene at the first Hoosier Salon exhibit. Will Vawter also exhibited at the Brown County Art Gallery Association.
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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