William Thomas Turman
Terre Haute, IN
- Sullivan County
- Vigo County
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William T. Turman was faculty and later Director of the Art Department at Indiana State Teachers College (now Indiana State University) in Terre Haute from 1894-1934.
He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Union Christian College in Merom, Indiana, then pursued an artistic career. Though a well known landscape, portrait and still-life painter, William T. Turman was also recognized for his role as an educator.
Turman began his formal training in art at the Chicago Academy of the Fine Arts and the Art Institute of Chicago under Alden Finney Brooks and Antonin Sterba. He was also a student of Daniel Garber at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and studied with Francis Smith and Alexander Theobald Van Laer in New York City.
Turman served as the board president for the new Swope Art Museum (then Gallery), Terre Haute, from 1941 until his move in 1957 to Taft, California. Many of his paintings remain in the museum to this day.
Best known for his impressionistic landscapes of Brown County, Indiana, Turman also rendered scenes of the natural beauty of Colorado and California.
Works by the artist were exhibited widely in his lifetime at such prestigious institutions as the Hoosier Salon, the Indiana Art Club, the John Herron Art Institute, and the Swope Art Museum. In 1932, “High Lights and Shadows”, a painting in the Swope Collection, won the Edward Rector Memorial Award at the Hoosier Salon.
Turman was member of many art organizations, including the Terre Haute Art Association, the Hoosier Salon, the Indiana Artists Club, the Pen and Brush Club, the American Federation of Artists, the Western Arts Association, the Brown County Gallery Association, and the Hoosier Salon Patrons Association in Chicago.
Though many of Turman’s works are in private collections, there are numerous pieces in public buildings. These include schools in Columbia City, Jasonville, Terre Haute, and the Turman Township High School in Graysville, libraries in Thorntown and Merom, and . and aforementioned Swope Art Museum in Terre Haute.
Information credited to J. Warren Distler, Terre Haute, Indiana.