Alice Kellogg Tyler 1862–1900

House in a Landscape

, dated 1896 (verso)

Oil on panel, 7¼ by 10½ inches

A modest country house sheltered among trees is the subject of Alice Kellogg Tyler’s intimate landscape painting on panel. Glimpsed from across an expanse of open ground and beyond a large tree that frames the scene on the left, the dull-yellow structure with its red-roofed front porch almost blends into its surroundings. Tyler painted in rough, obvious brushstrokes that record her quick, on-the-spot execution and convey her close familiarity with her subject. Indeed, it is her family home on the seventy-acre farm owned by the Kellogg family in Evergreen Park, now a southern suburb of Chicago. Tyler listed the village as her place of residence even after her marriage in 1894 to Chicago businessman Orno Tyler. Painted two years later, this work was a memento for her sister Mabel, who like Alice had studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. Both Mabel Kellogg Rich and her son John served as models for Alice’s figural works. On the back of the panel on which she painted their family home, Alice inscribed a poem and dedication that suggests the sisters’ shared affection for the place:

A little glimpse of home my dear
As seen through loving eyes
And if the tear drops come my dear
And though thy tongue be dumb
I’ll join in thy surprise
For [?]  Mabel
Feb 8 ’96
from Alice

This work is one of a group of small-scale paintings retained by John, Alice’s favorite nephew, until his death in 1974. In the 1980s the appearance of these works on the art market sparked renewed interest in an artist little known since her premature death in 1900. Untitled (House in a Landscape) is one of several paintings that demonstrate that even as Tyler executed dark-toned conventional studio portraits and figural works in the 1890s she was also experimenting on a small scale with the broken brushwork, out-of-door painting practice, and spontaneous effects of impressionism. This modern mode appealed to many of her artistic contemporaries in Chicago, especially following impressionism’s “official” American debut at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. In portraying her family home, Tyler found an apt subject for impressionist informality and immediacy.

Wendy Greenhouse, PhD

Donated by M. Christine Schwartz to the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, Chicago, Illinois, in 2023

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Notes for readers