VU curator helps write “The Art of George Ames Aldrich”
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent July 14, 2013 4:38PM
George Ames Aldrich (1871-1941) The River Elaune, Bellengreville, 1908 Oil on canvas, 32 x 40 inches Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso University, 95.08, Gift of Phyllis (Buehner) Duesenberg (VU 1954) and Richard W. Duesenberg (VU 1951, BA, VU 1953, JD)
Updated: August 16, 2013 6:19AM
VALPARAISO — The artist George Ames Aldrich was hardly an easy subject for a book.
Though the artist, who spent considerable time in both South Bend in Chicago, was well regarded, information on his life was scant and, at times, contradictory.
But a trio that included Gregg Hertzlieb, director/curator for the Brauer Museum of Art at Valparaiso University, persevered, and the result is “The Art of George Ames Aldrich,” recently published by Indiana University Press. The book is available at the Brauer, on www.amazon.com and through Indiana University.
The book is an outgrowth of an exhibit of Aldrich’s work last year at the Brauer.
“What we started to realize was, this would be his first retrospective show,” Hertzlieb said of Aldrich, who was born in 1871 and died in 1941 at age 69.
Aldrich painted landscapes and pastoral scenes of both the Midwest and Europe. He also captured city life in Chicago, as well as a steel mill and other glimpses of everyday life.
Hertzlieb wrote the introduction and acknowledgements for the book. Wendy Greenhouse, an art historian in the Chicago area, researched Aldrich for the book and the exhibit. Michael Wright, an art dealer and curator based in South Bend, served as curator for last year’s show, and helped write Aldrich’s biography for the book.
The Brauer doesn’t typically work with art dealers for its exhibits, but Wright was a good fit for the task.
“He knew where the very best pieces were, so he was the best curator for the show,” Hertzlieb said.
The trio had hoped to publish the book in tandem with the art exhibit, but Hertzlieb said that turned out to be more difficult than they thought, so they decided not to rush publication.
Aldrich moved around quite a bit — he was born in Massachusetts and lived in Europe, in addition to splitting his time between Chicago and South Bend — and many of the details he claimed about his life “needed further explanation,” Hertzlieb said.
Greenhouse used archival records to tell Aldrich’s story.
“We were able to come up with some kind of a picture” of Aldrich, Hertzlieb said.
The resulting book offers a catalogue of his work. Hertzlieb was involved in similar projects — an exhibit and book — for the artist Frank V. Dudley, and other artists as well.
“We’ve produced books for a number of exhibitions and found they are a good way to get the museum’s name out there,” Hertzlieb said.