The Ideal Sketching Ground: Prints by the Artists of Brown County

April 20-August 3, 2019

In 1905, the Illinois Central Railroad connected Indianapolis with northeastern Brown County, Indiana.  Not long after, numerous artists—particularly landscape painters—began making the journey from Indianapolis and Chicago to the small town of Nashville, where they discovered camaraderie with fellow artists and an unspoiled, picturesque place for inspiration.  Painter Adolph Shulz described the area as “the ideal sketching ground” with its rolling hills, creek beds, rustic cabins, and opalescent haze.  From 1890 to 1910, artists were forming their own schools and communities across the country, like Cape Ann, Laguna Beach, Taos, and Woodstock.  Brown County emerged as the best known artist colony in the Midwest and continues to attract artists today.

Many Brown County artists were highly skilled printmakers, representing some of Indiana’s earliest examples in the graphic arts.  Gustave Baumann and L.O. Griffith were highly prolific and created complex, innovative works in woodcut and etching, respectively.  Several of the artists were founding members of etching societies and received honors and recognition in national exhibitions for these works.  This exhibition brings together the significant number of artists working in etching and woodcut in Brown County, including Gustave Baumann, Charles Dahlgreen, Homer Davisson, L.O. Griffith, Evelynne and George Jo Mess, Frederick Polley, Kenneth Reeve, and Will Vawter, among others drawn from area collections.

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