TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A historic painting is currently going through a restoration process at the Swope Art Museum.
“I came across this painting that was sort of back on a shelf and I pulled it out and I thought, ‘what a tremendous painting,’ but then I thought, ‘it really needs to be cleaned,’ explained Swope Art Museum curator, Amy MacLennan.
T. C. Steele’s Fall Landscape, painted in 1909, is being conserved through the efforts of the museum and local donors. As a prominent Indiana painter, Steele’s work is significant to the art community of the region, and the Swope is excited to play a role in its conservation.
“T. C. Steele was one of the Hoosier 5, so one of the founding members of this school of southern Indiana painting that started in Brown County. We have a fairly good collection of T. C. Steele paintings. We decided that we would do this stages process of cleaning and conserving the painting and use it as a way to let the public know what it means to really take care of this cultural gem we have in the museum,” MacLennan said.
The painting has already undergone two sessions of restoration on-site at the museum and is being moved off-site for completion.
“I knew this was a wonderful painting. This was actually funded through a donation from a person in the community who wanted to see it restored for all of us. I want them to be remembered for doing this for our community,” MacLennan commented.
Barbara Krieg worked with the Marilyn Scott Allen Fund and the Wabash Valley Community Foundation to make the restoration possible. When asked about the next paintings set for restoration, MacLennan described the general plan for the paintings’ future.
“I have a list of paintings that will be done next. I have a few small ones that I’ve sent away recently. There were several paintings we got from the collection of a member of the Debs family. After the Wabash Valley exhibition opens, the painting is going to the conservator’s lab, and it’ll come back in about a month. So we hope to have the painting back before the holiday season so we can see the final product,” said MacLennan.
With many events on the horizon, the Swope is hopeful the painting will be fully restored and returned in time for the holidays.
“I hope we can have a nice celebration of that blue sky,” MacLennan added.