Washington Street, Indianapolis at Dusk

 
Artist
Creation date
Materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
76 x 98-1/2 in. 87-7/8 x 107 x 4 in. (framed)
Credit line
Gift of a Couple of Old Hoosiers
Accession number
72.133
Collection
Currently On View In
Dr. Ann H. Hunt Gallery - K207

This cityscape features the State House, the brilliantly lighted Park Theatre, and Washington Street's bustling commercial life.  The tower of the old Marion County Courthouse can be seen in the distance.

Groll, a German artist, came to judge the German paintings at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and also spent time visiting relatives here.

The artist; Edgar Jetter, Verden; sold through Ben Weinref Ltd. and Sotheby's to Indianapolis Museum of Art 1972
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A Visit to Indianapolis

Theodor Groll was a noted landscapist and architectural painter in Düsseldorf, Germany. He was well known in his own time and he exhibited widely in Germany. Groll made a three-year visit to the United States, beginning in 1892. He judged the German entries at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. During his American sojourn, Groll visited his Lieber family relatives in Indianapolis. Frederick Herman Lieber’s sister, Laura, had married Groll’s father in 1923. Lieber had founded the most important art gallery in the city and was an early patron of Indiana’s most famous artist, T.C. Steele.

Groll’s magnificent view of Washington Street was completed in Germany, presumably from sketches and photographs he took during his Indianapolis visit. The painting shows the Statehouse at the left and the Park Theatre in the center illuminated by gaslight and electricity with hansom cabs queued up in front. To the right is a dramatically receding vista of the skyline of the city with the tower of the old Marion County Courthouse in the far distance. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument does not appear in the picture as it was under construction at the time. At the center of the painting, the Blake Street trolley is hailed by a bearded gentleman, Jacob Metzger, Frederick Lieber’s brother-in-law. The painting was unknown until a German art dealer consigned it to auction at Sotheby’s London in 1972. It was acquired by the Indianapolis Museum of Art that year through the generous gift of Eli Lilly and Ruth Lilly, who chose to be identified as “A Couple of Old Hoosiers.”

The best source for further information on Theodor Groll is the artist’s file in the IMA library.