Michael Wright, curator of Valparaiso University's "The Art of George Ames Aldrich" exhibit, described the importance of the artist and his creations using popular baseball metaphors.
"He would be like a very good major league artist who got to play in the show but not put into the category of the hall of fame," he said. "But that doesn't mean he wasn't a very, very good painter. What we do is talk about the people who are in the hall of fame, but this is an artist who painted in the region 100 years ago and was a remarkable artist."
The exhibit opens Aug. 24 at the West Gallery and Education Room at VU's Brauer Museum of Art.
Aldrich was born in 1872 and reared in New England. In the mid 1890s, he studied art in Paris and would return there frequently, but would also call South Bend and Chicago his home during his lifetime.
For more than a century and in the seven decades–plus after his passing in 1941, Aldrich's landscape and riverscape paintings have been shown in galleries in and beyond the Midwest. A South Bend–based curator, Wright was introduced to Aldrich's work through a large painting he saw at the South Bend Museum of Art.
"It was a winter scene, and instead of it being on the shore looking into or across the river, he gives you the perspective of being in the river," he said of the painting. "He paints with an interesting perspective, one that places you in the middle of the action."
Wright selected 53 pieces for the Brauer exhibit created by Aldrich between approximately 1895 to 1935. Many of the pieces selected depict rivers and creek in South Bend.
"In this particular case, his ability to paint realistic renderings of water and snow, which we have a lot in South Bend, was remarkable," he said. "His ability to render these things, showing movement in the water, is what's so remarkable about his work, and he paints snow in a realistic and pleasing manner."