William J. Forsyth

William J. Forsyth

The Life and Work of an Indiana Artist
Rachel Berenson Perry
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 03/21/2014
Format: Hardback 61 color illus., 1 b&w illus
ISBN: 978-0-253-01159-6
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Closely associated with artists such as T. C. Steele and J. Ottis Adams, William J. Forsyth studied at the Royal Academy in Munich then returned home to paint what he knew best—the Indiana landscape. It proved a rewarding subject. His paintings were exhibited nationally and received major awards. With full-color reproductions of Forsyth’s most important paintings and previously unpublished photographs of the artist and his work, this book showcases Forsyth’s fearless experiments with artistic styles and subjects. Drawing on his personal letters and other sources, Rachel Berenson Perry discusses Forsyth and his art and offers fascinating insights into his personality, his relationships with his students, and his lifelong devotion to teaching and educating the public about the importance of art.

Author Bio

Rachel Berenson Perry is Emeritus Curator of Fine Arts at the Indiana State Museum and author of Barry Gealt, Embracing Nature (IUP, 2012); T. C. Steele and the Society of Western Artists, 1896-1914 (IUP, 2009); and Children from the Hills: The Life and Work of Ada Walter Shulz.


“Fascinating insights into this award-winning landscape painter's personality, his relationships with students, and his lifelong devotion to educating the public about the importance of art. Full-color reproductions and previously unpublished photographs showcase his fearless experiments with artistic styles and subjects.”

“This meticulously researched and gorgeously illustrated book captures the full arc of the life and work of William Forsyth, who, with this engrossing study by Rachel Berenson Perry, at last receives the limelight that is his due. Forsyth—irascible, competitive, proud, and completely committed to his art—comes vividly to life in Rachel Perry’s book. . . . Enlivened throughout with excellent color illustrations and vintage photos, William Forsyth: The Life and Work of an Indiana Artist, provides much more than its title indicates. Perry has given the reader a vivid, intimate encounter with a fascinating human being, whose passions, aspirations, frustrations, and sorrows continue to resonate.”
 — Linda Baden, Associate Director for Editorial Services, Indiana University Art Museum

“Rachel Perry, today’s leading author on Indiana art hands down, has added this avidly awaited biography of William Forsyth to her eminently readable and thoroughly researched chronicles. Here is a much needed appreciation of the diminutive, pugnacious painter, full of humor, pathos, devotion and plain cussedness as he faced the challenge of living as an artist in turn-of-the-twentieth-century Indiana.”
 — Martin Krause, Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

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Table of Contents

Foreword: William Forsyth Was My Grandfather/Susan Forsyth Selby Sklar
1. Small in Stature, Large in Spirit, 1854 - 1881
2. Munich Drawing School, December 1881 - Fall 1883
3. Munich Painting School and Private Studio, Fall 1883 - Fall 1888
4. The Beginnings of a Teacher, Fall 1888 - Fall 1897
5. Creating a Market for Landscapes, Fall 1897 - Summer 1904
6. Independent Painting While Teaching, 1905 - 1923
7. The Last Fight, 1923-1935
8. Forsyth’s Students
Appendix Forsyth Paintings Exhibited Prior to 1937