Aram Public Library displays a collection of works representative of the once well-known art colony that flourished in Delavan near the turn of the last century. For a period of fifteen years, from 1895 to 1910, sixty to eighty students came to Delavan each July to continue their studies under the auspices of the Chicago Art Institute and instructor John Vanderpoel.
Several prominent artists made Delavan their home, even before it was an art center. Among them were: Adolph & Ada Shulz, William Thorne, Frank Dudley, and Frank Phoenix. All except Ada were born here and established their studios in their hometown.
Artists Represented in Aram Library’s Collection
John Vanderpoel (1857-1911) A Dutch-American artist and teacher, John Vanderpoel was best known as a figure drawing instructor. An instructor at the Art Institute of Chicago, he taught classes in Delavan, which drew upwards of one hundred students each summer.
Frank Phoenix (1860-1924) Grandson of the founder of Delavan, Frank ran a wallpaper business until selling it and moving to Chicago to attend art school. He also studied in Paris and produced primarily landscapes, frequently painting moonlit nocturnal scenes.
Adolph Shulz (1869-1963) A Delavan native, Adolph met Ada, a student at the Art Institute of Chicago, at a summer painting class. They married in 1894, and studied abroad for a few years where their son Walter was born. They returned soon after to Delavan where they hosted summer artist visitors until they moved permanently to Brown County, Indiana in 1917. They were divorced in 1926. Adolph then married his former student, Alberta Rehm, an Indiana native. Alberta painted primarily landscapes and floral works.
Adolph was known primarily for landscapes and Ada produced mainly works depicting mothers and children. The library owns many works by Ada and Adolph, as well as two by their son Walter, who died of diphtheria in 1918, and two by Alberta Rehm.
Ada Walter Shulz (1870-1928)
Alberta Rehm Shulz (1892-1980)
Walter Shulz (1895-1918)
William Thorne (1864-1956) Thorne was known primarily as a portrait painter; he was born and died in Delavan, Wisconsin. While working as a student, and illustrator, however, he spent much of his early life away from his home state, studying in New York and Paris. He opened a studio in New York after winning prestigious awards. A portrait painter, he had commissions from Gould, Carnegie, Mellon, and other prominent families including royalty. In 1926 he returned to Delavan, where he had a home studio until 1948. His 1893 portrait of Mary Gordon Landon Pratt is on display.
Frank Dudley (1868-1957) Born in Delavan, the first of three sons, to deaf parents, Dudley took drawing classes at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1891-92. Later, with an art and photo studio in Chicago, he became enamored of the Indiana Dunes area, eventually moving there and becoming a champion of their preservation. Two of his dune paintings are on display.
Other Artists on Display:
Richard Alexander (1940- ) Alexander was from Chicago, and studied at the Art Institute, and in Mexico and Paris. Works range from contemporary, three dimensional, realism and portraiture. He was instrumental in establishing the Delavan Art Museum in the 1970’s.
Harriett Llewellyn (1921-2008) Daughter of a Delavan police chief, Harriett served the Women’s Army Corps in North Africa and Italy. She specialized in watercolors of homes, businesses and churches in Walworth County.
Other artists represented: Stella Fiske, Florence Baumbach, Nancy Richardson, Mary Kinnerk, Kay Johnson, Barbara Nietiehiem, Grant Cummings, Skip Winn, M. McCrary, and JB Reader.