Thomas Corwin Lindsay

(1839-1907)

“Landscape, portrait and animal painter, active in Cincinnati  from 1858 until 1905 or later, except for a period of European study just after the Civil War.  A native of Cincinnati, he was born in 1838 or 1839 to Thomas and Elizabeth Lindsay.  After attending the common schools, he began attracting public notice for his first landscapes: “without any instruction, worthy to be called such, [he] has painted a number of creditable pictures … breathing the true spirit of an artist, and noticeable from a boldness and naturalness rarely exhibited by one so young,” wrote an Enquirer reporter in February 1858.  That autumn he embarked on a sketching trip through Eastern Pennsylvania, the first of many, and a year later he opened a studio at 58 West Fourth Street.  He exhibited at the 1859 Ohio Mechanics’ Institute  annual,  joined the Sketch Club in 1860 and made a second long eastern tour in 1862, on his return, the Enquirer published an interview on October 17, referring to Lindsay’s “sketchbook filled to overflowing” with scenes from the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  Between January and May 1865 he placed a number of paintings on the auction block, including views along the Tennessee, Connecticut, and Kanawha Rivers; presumable this was in preparation for going abroad.  He reportedly studied in Düsseldorf and Paris during the next few years, but was back in Cincinnati by the summer of 1869, when, on July 17, an Enquirer art editor found him at work on “another copy of “Church’s Great Niagara.’ . . . It will be sent to Philadelphia for sale, where they have a better appreciation of art than we have here.”  By the end of the year, according to the December 19 Enquirer, Lindsay was putting the final touches on “a large and elegant painting in his studio, entitled, ‘An Evening in the Yosemite.’  The picture is five by seven feet in size, and is made from correct and perfect studies . . . The work is valued at fifteen hundred dollars.”

 

During these “close” times, Lindsay accepted private pupils and began holding large painting sales.  These were sometimes offered in his studio but more often in various commercial art galleries in Cincinnati and elsewhere around the state.   His twentieth annual sale, held in 1896, took place in a storeroom of the Methodist Book Concern.  This collection, according to the May 22 Enquirer, included “over 60 choice paintings, all painted from nature on mountain and in valley, in field and forest, during Mr. Lindsay’s trips through the United States during the past eight years,” displayed against a background of black drapery.  Among the offerings were A Study of Lilacs, the largest, and The Bursting of the Storm, Love and Jealousy, Wash Day in Ole Virginia, The Haymakers, Nearing the Shore, Gathering Golden Rods, and a pair of companion pieces called The Toilers.  Lindsay was known in later years chiefly for his tranquil portrayals of farmsteads and domestic livestock.  An early member of the Cincinnati Art Club and the Society of Western Artists, he died in 1907.”