T.C. Steele State Historic Site

Theodore Clement Steele, b 1847- d 1926
4220 T.C. Steele Road, Nashville, IN 47448 - view on Google Maps
(812) 988-2785
“We are running away from towns and people, for the hills and woods and sky, and we can get people when we need them.”
—T.C. Steele, 1907
T.C. Steele State Historic Site includes the last home and studio of Indiana landscape painter Theodore Clement Steele, a member of the Hoosier Group of American Impressionist painters. Gardens and woodlands around the House of the Singing Winds, as he named it, inspired many well-known works. Hills, woods and sky continue to inspire visitors. The historic buildings are filled with original artwork, surrounded by 211 acres of gardens and wooded trails.

ABOUT

Steele was already at the peak of his career in 1907, when he moved to rustic Brown County, Indiana, and built the House of Singing Winds to share with his wife, Selma. While he studied portraiture from 1880 to 1885 at the Bavarian Royal Academy in Munich, Germany, Steele was also struck by the work of northern European landscape painters trying to capture the unique light, color and atmosphere. Later, he and other like-minded Midwestern artists made a conscious decision to do the same for their native land. Steele and several contemporaries became known as the Hoosier Group of regional American Impressionist landscape painters, and helped found the Society of Western Artists. Although Steele later painted in many places, including Michigan, New England, the Appalachian Mountains, California and Oregon, this native Hoosier was always drawn back to the subtle, quiet beauty of the Indiana landscape.

Recognized as Indiana’s “grand old man of art” in 1907, Steele was the first artist to build a home in Brown County. Steele’s presence had tremendous local impact, drawing other artists to the rugged hills of the isolated community. Selma Neubacher Steele, the wife of T.C. Steele, studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. She designed textiles for use in their home, and turned to the design of their personal gardens as her primary creative outlet. Eventually, due to their influence, Brown County, Indiana would become famous as the Midwest’s leading art colony.

In 1945, Steele’s widow donated their estate to the people of Indiana. Today, visitors to the site can take guided tours of the House of the Singing Winds and the 1916 Large Studio, view changing exhibits and stroll through the gardens. Many of the site’s features are wheelchair accessible. Also on the grounds is the Dewar Log Cabin, which offers a glimpse into early life in Brown County. T.C. Steele State Historic Site is part of the Indiana State Museum & Historic Sites system.

Did you know...?

As a boy, Steele tied ribbons to the plow handles as he worked his father’s fields, so he could watch the colors flutter in the breeze.

SPECIAL RESOURCES

Between 50 and 70 original paintings on display, with displays rotated periodically.
Original furnishings on display in studio and home.
Extensive archival material available for research (stored off-site at Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis). Please make an appointment.

WHAT TO DO HERE

  • Guided tour includes Large Studio and the Steele house.
  • Enjoy special events, programs and “PaintOuts” throughout the year.
  • Explore 211 acres, including 5 hiking trails and a 92-acre nature preserve.
  • Access adjacent trail systems leading into state and national forest land.

YOU CAN ALSO SEE THE ART HERE:

  • The Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis, IN
  • The Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN
  • Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
  • Indiana Statehouse, Indianapolis, IN