William J. Forsyth

William J. Forsyth member of the Indiana Hoosier Group

Birth:  October, 15th,1854
Birth City: California, Ohio
Death:  1935 (age 81) in Irvington, In
Marriage:  Alice Atkinson in 1897

Artist Summary

Subject Matter: still life, landscapes, portraits, mural painting
Art Associations: Society of Western Artists (1896-1914), Hoosier School, American Water Color Society, Painters in Water Color, Boston Art Club
Art Education:
Art Awards:

Biography of William J. Forsyth


At age fifteen William studied art with Barton S. Hays a leading Indianapolis artist and teacher
William and his brother started a house painting business in 1873 spending his off time around artist studios and galleries
Was the first student to enroll in John Love’s and Gookins Indiana Art school when it opened in 1877
After the school closed, Forsyth and friends formed the Bohe Club and maintained a studio space in the same building as the school
Thomas Hibben paid for Forsyth to study in Munich in 1882 with Steele in exchange for half the paintings he painted while abroad
Steele and Forsyth used their summer vacations to travel around Europe then sent the paintings home to Hibben to sell
Forsyth finished his studies in 1886 but stayed another two years in Europe, sharing a studio with John Ottis Adams
He Returned to Indiana in 1888 and assisted Adams at the Fort Wayne Art School
Forsyth left Fort Wayne in 1891 to go back to Indianapolis and become the principal instructor in Steele’s school of Art located downtown on the circle
Member of the Hoosier Group along with Theodore Clement Steele, Richard Gruelle, John Ottis Adams and Otto Stark
In 1906 William moved his family from 938 Fletcher Av. to 15 South Emerson located in the small college town around the Butler University campus.
Also, in 1906 William joined the faculty of the Herron School of Art replacing J. Ottis Adams as principal instructor of drawing and painting.
In 1914 Forsyth supervised the painting of 33 murals throughout the Indianapolis City Hospital with Steele, Stark, Adams and eleven other Hoosier artists
In 1916 he wrote an essay titled “Art in Indiana” written for the state’s centennial
Taught at Heron into his 70’s but was let go in 1933 due to the depression



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