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Indiana University Art Museum
 

Teachers' Resources

Morning Prayer

Adolph Robert Shulz, Morning Prayer (1955)

An important school of Impressionist landscape painting developed in Indiana in the last decade of the nineteenth century. Breaking away from the dark tones of their European academic training, T. C. Steele and the other artists of the Hoosier Group applied the lighter, more colorful palette and loose, "patchy" style of Impressionism to rural scenes across Indiana. 

In 1907 Steele bought two hundred acres of land in secluded Brown County and built his House of the Singing Winds on top of a hill. The far-off vistas and gorgeous hardwood forests of beech, poplar, and oak that dominated his landscapes enticed the aesthetic sensibilities of other Midwestern artists, encouraging them to make painting expeditions to nearby Nashville.

One such artist was Adolph Schulz (1869–1963). Schulz had studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as the Art Students League in New York and Paris. Beginning in 1908, he began to make painting trips to Nashville, exploring the hilly terrain of southern Indiana by train and horse-drawn buggy. Shulz's luminous paintings captured the poetic qualities of this landscape, earning him the designation, leader of the Brown County Art Colony.

In 1917, Schulz permanently moved his family to Nashville, Indiana, and formed the Brown County Art Association, attracting other accomplished Midwestern artists to the area. An influential landscape painter, Shulz's work was exhibited widely in the Midwest and was met with great critical acclaim.

In Morning Prayer, Shulz's soft, delicate palette and expressive, painterly brushwork capture a summer dawn in Brown County. Shulz's trees, vines, and briars, almost lost in total abstraction, eloquently exhibit a primal vitality through the expressive use of energetic lines of color. Here, the viewer can palpably feel the energy and abundance of nature as well as experience the encroaching light of a new summer day as it begins to burn through the opalescent haze of a morning fog.