William J. Forsyth: The Life and Work of an Indiana Artist
Rachel Berenson Perry
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Closely associated with artists such as T. C. Steele and J. Ottis Adams, William J. Forsyth studied at the Royal Academy in Munich then returned home to paint what he knew best―the Indiana landscape. It proved a rewarding subject. His paintings were exhibited nationally and received major awards. With full-color reproductions of Forsyth’s most important paintings and previously unpublished photographs of the artist and his work, this book showcases Forsyth’s fearless experiments with artistic styles and subjects. Drawing on his personal letters and other sources, Rachel Berenson Perry discusses Forsyth and his art and offers fascinating insights into his personality, his relationships with his students, and his lifelong devotion to teaching and educating the public about the importance of art.
out of the way, scorned and forgotten,” he wrote. “If he joins the stream and rushes with the throng for money and show, Art vanishes and all his dreams of what was glorious and noble in life are forgotten. If he holds aloof and follows his ideals he is left to poverty…and eats his heart out in bitterness.”36 His fourth-floor studio, which also served as his living space, overlooked picturesque patterns of house roofs, chimneypots, and back windows. Here, when not painting, Forsyth cooked simple
1896, oil on canvas, 30.5" × 42.5". Collection of Bob and Ellie Haan, photograph by Greg Pyle. With time off from school in the summer of 1896, Forsyth decided to explore Corydon, Indiana, where, to his surprise, electric lights, a water plant, long distance telephones and telegraph already existed. Transportation to get there, however, proved to be convoluted. He took a train to Louisville, changed cars there, and then rode back across the Ohio River to New Albany to wait more than four hours
experiencing renewed energy, personally and creatively, Steele and Adams threw caution to the wind and purchased the “old Butler house” in Brookville, Indiana. They had painted scenic Whitewater valley the two previous summers and were charmed by the small town's hilly terrain and sparkling river. They quickly renovated the nineteen-room house, and Steele's wife, Libbie, named it the Hermitage, as a quiet artists’ retreat. North and south wings for each artist's bedrooms and studio were added,
organization. A Sunny Corner by William Forsyth, 1914, watercolor on paper, 28" × 24". David Owsley Museum of Art, Ball State University, Frank C. Ball Collection, gift of the Ball Brothers Foundation. The Red City by William Forsyth, 1913, oil on canvas, 24" × 32". Collection of the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, photograph by Steve Happe. When the United States declared war on Germany on April 6, many of Forsyth's students and sons of his friends signed up for the armed forces.
turnout. He was very severe in his criticism. He was honest, frank, and well respected….One time when I was a sophomore and had been carousing, I came in dead tired. During the rest period, Mr. Forsyth took me to the side and told me that many good artists could not draw worth anything, because they were destroyed by women and booze. I took his advice to heart.”5 Another student, Francis Clark (Townley) Brown (1908–92), wrote, “[Forsyth] was serious. If you did not want to learn, go home. Even