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Summertime. In theory, a time to catch up on some relaxation and perhaps, some reading, should that be your particular cup of tea. Got me thinking about what books I love that offer something interesting on Indiana through history’s lens. Thought I’d start with a couple art-focused books I have enjoyed…An immediate favorite is SKIRTING THE ISSUE written by the uber-fabulous Judith Vale Newton and Carol Ann Weiss. Yes, it is large and heavy book–ok, so it’s not ideal for your at-the-gym reading. And yes, it is worth its weight in gold. The book is replete with stories of individual female Hoosier artists, while also filling in the lay-person on some of the general issues confronted by most all or many of the female artists. Visually, the book is sumptuous with fabulous photos of some of the “women who dared” ilk and of their variety of works.
The back section has a pretty comprehensive biographical dictionary of the “historical women artists of Indiana.” My passion for one of the ladies included therewith makes me love it that much more. This book taunts me with its fabulousness and entices me to continue my research of Virginia Keep Clark. One day, she will be the subject of my impassioned first book…or at least a monograph. vkd-painting-class

My muse. Virginia Keep Clark, with her water color class–her students were convalescing WWII soldiers

If you’re more into the masculine artists of Indiana’s yesteryear, and a good portion of the John Herron Art Institute’s earliest teaching staff, but still want ample visual amusement, Judith Vale Newton also wrote the biographical essays in THE HOOSIER GROUP: FIVE AMERICAN PAINTERS. Though out of print, I believe it is available at the library. Fascinating to learn more of the beloved Hoosier group: Otto Stark, Theodore C. Steele, J. Ottis Adams, William Forsyth and Richard B. Gruelle. I admit, I am inclined prejudiced in favor of Steele and Stark, if for no other reason, because they are former residents Herron-Morton Place.
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If you find this one, snap it up! It’s been out of print for some time…

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