Dorothy Luedemann’s Minton Bridge
Dorothy Luedemann (American, 1911-1996) was an influential person that united New Albany’s art community in the 1960s. Luedemann established the Southern Indiana Studio Gallery, an art collective and gallery with a mission to promote visual arts in Southern Indiana. This gallery was in the location of James L. Russell’s Art Shop, the nexus of the Wonderland Way Art Club decades earlier. Luedmann maintained the community’s focal point as she mentored many artists in the region in the location the Art Shop once hosted. Luedemann moved to New Albany in 1945 from New York, where she studied at Art Student’s League and under notable artists, including Morris Kantor (American, 1896-1974), Peppino Mangravite (American, 1896-1978), Maurice Sterne (American, b. Latvian, 1878-1957), and George Grosz (German, 1893-1959). She brought her experiences to New Albany and shared them through her Southern Indiana Studio Gallery by offering space for studios, exhibitions, art classes, a darkroom, and more.
While Luedemann mentored many before establishing Studio Gallery, she is also known for her artistic practice. In November of 1945, New Albany presented an art exhibition sponsored by the American Association of University Women where nineteen New Albany artists exhibited 41 oil paintings, pastels, watercolors, and metal bas reliefs. Luedemann received an honorable mention for her Waiting–depicting a nude seen against a landscape with a crow holding a pearl in its beak. Later that same month, she received a blue ribbon for her pastel study of an old fisherman at the annual Louisville Woman’s Club art exhibition. According to Justus Bier, Courier Journal Art Editor in 1945, the oil pastel was Luedemann’s first and, in Justus’s “opinion, the best of all pastels.”
Luedemann primarily concentrated on printmaking. However, she also explored many mediums, including printmaking, painting, and sculpture. The Carnegie Center for Art and History is honored to have her Minton Bridge (1961) on view in From Audubon to Sisto: Highlights from the Permanent Collection until April 1st. This painting depicts the Sherman Minton Bridge a year before its unveiling in 1962. To many, the completion of the Sherman Minton Bridge was an economic opportunity and a sign of progress. Connecting New Albany directly to Louisville created opportunities for both work and tourism. The subject of the Sherman Minton Bridge as a connection and opportunity for growth is comparable to Luedemann’s role in the New Albany community. During the same decade and completion year of the Sherman Minton Bridge, Luedemann brought together artists at her Studio Gallery, creating a connection and resource that helped artists grow while banding together the art community.
Minton Bridge is created from a low, ground perspective next to the Ohio River, looking up to a short portion of the bridge. The stark red-orange brushstrokes grid the composition with a soft blue sky in the background. Red-orange, perhaps cadmium orange? Was the Sherman Minton Bridge ever this color? The painted bridge we know today is silver to resemble the original 1960s-era look, according to the renewal plan, begging the question, why is the silver bridge painted in such a prominent color? Speculation could suggest the painting was done at sunset or sunrise, reflecting the warmth of the changing time. However, the sky behind the bridge is soft blue. What do you think?
Join us at the Carnegie Center for Art and History to enjoy Dorothy Luedemann’s Minton Bridge in From Audubon to Sisto: Highlights from the Permanent Collection and draw your own interpretations!
- Dorothy Luedemann is listed on page 49. https://www.carnegiecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Carnegie-Center-Catalog.pdf
- “June 5, 1970 (Page 17 of 44).” The Courier-Journal (1923-2001), Jun 05, 1970. https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/june-5-1970-page-17-44/docview/1867455618/se-2.
- For more information on the Sherman Minton Bridge: https://shermanmintonrenewal.com/about/
- “November 18, 1945 (Page 29 of 92).” The Courier-Journal (1923-2001), Nov 18, 1945. https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/november-18-1945-page-29-92/docview/1865190429/se-2.
- “November 25, 1945 (Page 29 of 90).” The Courier-Journal (1923-2001), Nov 25, 1945. https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/november-25-1945-page-29-90/docview/1865151222/se-2.
Visit New Albany–Floyd County Library’s Indiana Room to explore more on Luedemann’s Southern Indiana Studio Gallery! This collection has two files to indulge in:
You can learn more about the Sherman Minton Bridge from the Indiana Room’s collection:
To learn more about the artist community before Luedemann’s Studio Gallery, you can look at the Indiana Room’s Wonderland Way files: https://nafcl.tlcdelivers.com/#section=resource&resourceid=38996664¤tIndex=0&view=fullDetailsDetailsTab
By: Sheridan Bishoff