T. C. Steele, John Adams, and William Forsyth, Otto Stark, and Wayman Adams.
Explain that these artists were well known Indiana painters who were friends. Three of these painters wanted to go to Munich, Germany to study painting at the Koniglichen Academy. They wanted the best art training, but didn't have the money to go to Germany. They asked everyone they saw to give them money so they could travel to Germany. Soon they had the money and set sail for Germany on July 24, 1880. This was an exciting time for art in Europe. Famous artists such as Degas, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse, Rousseau, and Cézanne were alive then. Painting was moving from Realism to Impressionism. (Review Realism and Impressionism with students.) When they were done with their schooling, most said for them to go to New York so they could make more money. They decided to make a life for themselves painting the land in Indiana instead. They were true fans of Indiana and its land. They later became known as the Hoosier Group. Show prints of these artists to the students.
Tell students that you will ask for a few volunteers to pantomime places, people, or things that make you like Indiana and want to stay here. (Perhaps they might mime playing in an Indiana park, or water skiing in one of Indiana's many lakes, and the Indy 500 or Brickyard 400) Choose a few students to mime and then ask everyone to guess what they mimed.
The Hoosier Group- Role play
(40 minutes- not including the video, which is an additional 20 minutes)
Photographs of T. C. Steele and William Forsyth painting. (Pages 10 and 11 in the Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History magazine listed in the resources)
Prints of paintings done by the "Hoosier Group." Prints, books, and handcrafted objects can be rented for two weeks at $10. Call (317) 923-1331, ext. 219.
A free slide loan can be obtained from the Indianapolis Museum of Art, (317) 923-1331, ext. 226. Ask for the Slide Collection Coordinator.
Do this project when the weather is good to go outside. After students view the video on the Hoosier Group artists, tell students that they are going to pretend that they are part of the Hoosier Group and are going to go out and find a beautiful landscape to paint. Tell them to find something that one of the artists in the Hoosier Group would have wanted to paint. As students begin pointing to areas, ask all the students what they think and go where the majority wants to go.
Once students are sitting down, stress that these artists weren't as concerned with making the picture look exactly like what they saw. They used bigger paint strokes, but not as big and simple as the Impressionists such as Toulouse-Lautrec and Van Gogh. They used their own method that was half way between that and Realism. Show students the photos of T. C. Steele and William Forsyth painting so they are able to see the position they painted in. Tell them to imitate this.
Many resources that were out when this series of lessons was created are no longer in print. Following are existing resources on the Hoosier Group:
The House of the Singing Winds: The Life and Work of T.C. Steele - First published in 1966, this account of the life and work of T. C. Steele, one of Indiana's most renowned artists, has become a much-sought-after classic. For this reissue, sixty-two of the book's seventy-six illustrations, including all ten color plates, have been newly photographed and reproduced according to the highest modern standards.
The Passage: Return of Indiana Painters from Germany, 1880-1905 - The Passage traces the progress of a generation of Hoosier artists who studied together at the Royal Academy of Painting in Munich in the 1880's and returned to the United States to achieve national prominence as landscape painters. Such artists include: Theodore Clement Steele John Otis Adams Samuel Richards William Forsyth
Otto Stark, 1859-1926 - This book is published by the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Only a few copies remain.
Explain that The Hoosier Group became very popular when they came back from France because Indiana had received a lot of recent recognition. An Indiana resident was in the White House, and several Indiana writers, including James Whitcomb Riley, made national prominence.
Read a James Whitcomb Riley poem to the class and have them pantomime it while you read it. Have students stand at their seats, and express the poem as you read it. Tell them that they will not actually walk during the poem, just raise and lower their legs.
Let's drift back to the 'olden days'
The pace 'twar slow, the livin' fine-
Kick off yer shoes, roll up yer pants
Wiggle yer toes in Brandywine! Pickin' wild berries in the bresh
In itchy, dirty, torn ol' clothes-
Gnats, 'skeeters, crawlin up yer nose!
The bobbin' cork's atwitchin' hard
Fightin' mad, 'twar thet ol' catfish-
Mama fried 'em, juicy n' sweet
My, warn't thet a lip smackin' dish!
O'er the Old Covered Bridge, we'd run
Skim stones 'crost the clear, ripplin' stream-
Take a dip near the noisy Dam
Lie down to rest- dream on, sweet dream!
Stumblin' round in thick bramble stand
Scratches 'long our hot, sweaty face-
Thorns snagged in our arms, legs, and tush
Not sure we'd e'er leave thet dern place!
Such joys we had in youngster ways
Fishin', swimmin', life 'twar sublime-
Songs n' laughter, soft carefree days
All up n' down Sweet Brandywine!