Selma in the Garden is one of T. C. Steele’s most famous paintings—our docent said THE most famous painting. I had not seen it before and was smitten.
The warm colors and the bright hues of the flowers drew me in. The painting is of Steele’s second wife, busy in her flower garden behind of their home, The House of the Singing Winds, in Brown County.
Prior to my visit to the T.C. Steele Historic Site, I would have described this painting as an unusual one by Steele—when I think of Steele, I think of his dark landscape paintings of Munich or his subdued Brown County foliage. But his studio houses a collection of his paintings, and I could see where light and color graced his canvases at different times throughout his career. Selma in the Garden seemed to reflect a feeling of light, beauty, and serenity at that point in his life.
The historic site is managed by the Indiana State Museum, so the painting will likely rotate through its collection in Indianapolis. But I am not sure when I will cross paths with it again. As I was leaving the studio, I turned to see Selma in the Garden one last time and bid it farewell.
Selma in the Garden
T.C. Steele Historic Site/Indiana State Museum