'Fish boat' painting may return to shore

2011-12-07T19:00:00Z 'Fish boat' painting may return to shoreBy Bowdeya Tweh bowdeya.tweh@nwi.com, (219) 933-3316 nwitimes.com

The head of the Gary Public Library Board said Wednesday the Indiana State Museum could return a famed Frank Dudley painting to display at a city library on a renewable one-year loan.

Gary Public Library Board of Trustees President Tony Walker and Indiana State Museum Chief Operating Officer Kathleen McLary confirmed both parties are negotiating the display of the more than 80-year-old "Landing the Fish Boat" in Gary.

McLary said there's still a lot of paperwork to be completed that says exactly where and when the library board will display the piece and specifies insurance requirements.

Walker said the board passed a resolution in March 2010 to accept the painting and said it could be displayed at the Carter G. Woodson branch in Miller on Lake Street or at the main library branch on Fifth Avenue. He said the Woodson branch is the closest one to where Dudley gained inspiration for his nature and landscape scenes of the Indiana Dunes and Lake Michigan.

"We're very excited about having this," Walker said, adding he hoped this could help city libraries become involved in preserving and showing local art.

Although the museum possesses artwork, Miller resident Jim Nowacki has argued for more than four years the city is the painting's rightful owner, following a 1957 donation.

Retrieving the painting for the city inspired two walking trips Nowacki took to Indianapolis to encourage the state to send the work back to Gary.

"I think Mr. Walker did a great job," Nowacki said. "I'm just grateful the painting will be back in the city."

"Landing the Fish Boat" is not on display at the museum. McLary said the Dudley pieces are regularly rotated to allow them to "rest." She said the paper and artwork need to be in a controlled atmosphere and away from light as much as possible to preserve it for future generations.

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