Born in Boston, Lucie Hartrath was considered by many people to be one of the most talented artists in the Chicago area in the early 20th century. She was known for her impressionist landscapes and early recognized the beauties of the local countrysides. She was a student of John Vanderpoel at the Art Institute of Chicago and in 1901 attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. That same year she exhibited at the Paris Salon and also in Berlin, Dusseldorf, and Munich. From 1902-1904 she headed the Rockford College art department in Rockford, Illinois and then returned to Munich to study with Angelo Jank. In 1908 Hartrath established a studio in Chicago and began painting in Nashville, Indiana, which she first visited between 1908 and 1910. Like many Chicago painters, she rented a summer cabin there, and the Brown County hills were an excellent source for her landscape subjects. She exhibited widely in Chicago and Indiana, including the Chicago Municipal Art league and the Hoosier Salon, and was a founding member of the Chicago Women's Salon.
Brown County Art Colony
The Brown County Art Colony was formed in the early 1900s by artists who were attracted by the undisturbed picturesque landscape known as Peaceful Valley. T.C. Steele was the first to become a resident of the county when he purchased 200 acres near Belmont. Adolph Shulz is considered to be the founder of the Brown County Art Colony. He began visiting Brown County in 1908 and in 1917 became a permanent resident. Both Adolph Shulz and T.C. Steele influenced other artists and many began building cabins and moving to the area. Will Vawter and Gustave Baumann were among the first to make Brown County their home. Other artists such as Charles Dahlgreen, Lucie Hartrath, and L.O. Griffith came from Chicago and by the early 1930s there were at least eighteen artists with permanent homes in Brown County. Artists such as C. Curry Bohm, Edward K. Williams, Ada Walter Shulz, Carl Graf, V.J. Cariani, Gustav Baumann, Will Vawter, Dale Bessire, Georges LaChance, Marie Goth, Leota Loop, Adam Emory Albright, Olive Rush, and Alexis Fournier flourished and created the Brown County Art Colony nearly 100 years ago.
Letsinger-Miller, Lyn. The Artists of Brown County. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1994.
Nesbit, M. Joanne, ed., Barbara Judd, comp. Those Brown County Artists: The Ones Who Came the Ones Who Stayed the Ones Who Moved On. Nashville: Nana’s Book, 1993.
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