Village of Schliersee, Highlands

Theodore Clement Steele (American, 1847-1926)

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T. C. Steele was born in Gosport Indiana. His family later moved to Waveland where Steele began taking art classes at age twelve. By the time he was eighteen, Steele was teaching drawing and painting at Waveland Collegiate Institute. Steele moved to Indianapolis and cultivated a friendship with Herman Lieber, who became his patron. He studied at the Indiana School of Art with its founder John Love. Lieber raised the funds to send Steele and his family to Europe. Steele chose to go to Munich because it was less expensive than Paris and he could study with Frank Duveneck, a prominent Ohio painter. When Steele returned to Indianapolis, he established an art school with William Forsyth. He did portraits and landscapes, many of them dark and dramatic, in the style known as the Munich School. When he began to explore the Indiana countryside, Steele turned almost completely to landscape painting, and his work became more colorful and gradually more impressionistic. Steele emerged as the leader and spokesman for a group of Indiana artists known as The Hoosier Group, which included Indiana’s most important Impressionist painters, including William Forsyth, J. Ottis Adams, Otto Stark, and Richard Gruelle. In 1902 and 1903, Steele toured the American West, painting in Oregon and around San Francisco. In 1906, he settled in Brown County in a home that became known as the House of the Singing Winds.

Schliersee, a resort tucked into the Alps thirty-eight rail miles southeast of Munich, was a favorite vacation spot for the Steele family. From the shores of Schliersee Lake, Steele depicts the picturesque quality of the town. Framed by sea and sky, the landscape of farms, cottages and churches is echoed in the water’s reflections. The boat placed to the left of the village provides the necessary balance to complete the carefully constructed composition.


William H. Gerdts. Theodore Clement Steele: American Master of Light, New York: Chameleon Books, 1995. ASIN: B002J7NK4K

Object Information

Theodore Clement Steele (American, 1847-1926)
creation date
oil on canvas
19-1/2 x 33 in. (canvas)
28-5/8 x 42-1/8 x 2-1/4 in. (framed)
mark descriptions
Signed, inscribed, and dated, l.r.: T. C. Steele / Munich .83.
accession number
credit line
Gift of Jeanette Wales Blanton
Public Domain
American Painting and Sculpture to 1945

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