Back to Previous Page

History Lives Here Text

Thanks foryour letters. Am enclosing twenty dollars for you with yourmother's check. I've gone busted so often in the summer that some yearsago I had Armour Institute paymy salary in 12 installments. I got the check in Sat morning & just beforemy class on Sat. I got the enclosed draft but the day was so full that I had nochance to send it before the last mail left. Before I left Chi. in June I paidboth installments of my real estate taxes to the County Treasurerby draft. Haven't had a word about the receipt. If youhave it let me know.

 

In my Sat talkat 10 I hadn't an idea what I was to say or draw. Coming out of the bank astranger asked me for a direction of street. I apologizedsaying that I too was a stranger here. Used that for my textin my talk. Had often told the students I knew nothing about what wasart, knew nothing what was in their heads and that all the fun in teaching wasin that which they received.

 

Then I wentback to what the ancients had to say in their short period and drew structuraldesigns that they left in their efforts as strangers in this earth. Thengradually turned the thought to the modern point of view with an abstractcontaining a half doz. figures. These talks set themgoing so that Sat, and Sundays are working days too.

 

But yesterdayI had to make a dragon's head in color on a six x four foot piece of plywood,so I did not see much of the class. Here they have Sea Scouts instead of BoyScouts. On Wed. night they are to have a festival on the river after dark. TheScouts wanted a figure head of a dragon for their boat. I painted one side ofthe board and then cut it out with a saw and painted another dragon on theother side. They resembled each other only in that the eye was just oppositeeach other in case they wished to cut it out for electric light. I took it outafter dark last night to see where the red and orange and black could be seenat night and found that the

part I had left ofthe plywood shone like silver when cars passed by which was lucky.

 

Who in Hadesever invented summer teaching in summer classes? I'm sick and tired of it a11.Never leave the environment, as there is always someone to see me. It has keptme out of a lot of mischief as I am always in bed by nine so as to be fit forthe next day's toil. It has also been a blessing in escaping long dinners, longrides and the many other things inflicted upon mankind by well-wishing people.I tell them that I am a descendent of Pokagon, awonderful chief of the Pottawattomie. That the studiois the chipping station where one must ever watch what went up and down theriver. Truly the studio was a part of Pokagon Inn;forty years ago. When it burned the studio escaped and was moved across on theice to the place it now stands. From its spacious window one can cue all thetraffic on the river.

 

Bodholdt's failing, if he had one was to see eachstudent return to the atelier with a sketch which often echoed Bod more than the student. I will stand behind a studentfor a half hour and direct rather than do. I might do it in ten minutes andsave time. Teaching is directing. there is enough ofthe American spirit left to wish to do a job byself.If I could only sell out to an enterprising teacher I would be happy. More& more I recall the words of Bert Taylor, "Life is the same damnthing. Getting up in the morning; doing a days work & going to bed deadtired." Could anyone here express the idea better, to fit one of seventy. Still there is lots of fun. Dr. Rowland nevertolerates the serious side. Each evening we are together. He introduced me toMrs. Wicks on the street the other night who was delighted to hear that I wasagain in town and I have been at her domicile for the past seven weeks. I'm theonly one allowed to eat out & my trail through the rear door through agarden filled with birds & flowers means that I seldom see those at theentrance to the Inn. The short cut to thestudio is through the garden. Sat. night I came in via the front door at ninepm. Mr. Wicks said that a man in a racing machine had been looking for me allevening. Rowland suggested it might be the sheriff. I went to bed immediatelyand locked my door for once.

 

Though I liketo fish at night, this year I haven't even a fishing license. Fishing, to do itright, is just another day's work. Like painting, one must be conscious of thatwonderful thing called Leisure, which may be the headline of a new adventure.I'm thinking of squatting on a piece of government land. All one has to do isto put up a shack & live in it for three years. A locality is ideal facingwest to the lake. A wonderful place for sunsets & it is said that sunsetssell when done in watercolor or oil. With your help I could roll the logsacross the sand and build a shack for two. I've been standing for so many yearsthat one's body seems to fit any bench at twilight. Think this over. I'm nottrying to rob you of your natural bent which you alone know. It might be anouting for both of us. Still outings must come to an end in this businessworld.

 

Must hurry this to the mail before class begins at nine.

 

Dein. AL

Albert H. Krehbiel(1873-1945) originally from Iowa, then Kansas, taught art at ArmourInsti­tute and, for more than -l0 years, at the School o f the Art Institute ofChicago. He wasan in­structor at the Summer School of Painting at Ox-Bow 1926 to 1930, when heleft to begin The AK Studio in a small building on the river just north of theTourist Home (now the site of Ship `n Shore). This letter is addressed to his26­year-old son, Evans, who lived with his mother (Krehbiel 's estranged wife,artist Dulah Evans) at Park Ridge, Illinois.Krehbiel lodged in Saugatuck with Frank and CarrieWicks at the Maplewood Hotel on Butler Street and was apparently the only one to rent aroom that was not required to take all o f his meals at the Maplewood. The Bodholdtreferred to in the letter was Arne Bodholdt, a Chicago artist and artteacher. The night festival, for which he made the dragon for the Scouts was a version of Venetian Night, a popular summerevent on the Kalamazoo River at Saugatuck thatfeatured a parade of lighted boats. The Gallinipper,an old iron life boat used by the Saugatuck Sea Scouts, is currentlyunder restoration by a team of Historical Society members.

 

This lithograph, called"Pleasure Boats" was done by Ox-Bow instructor Francis Chapin about1940. Krehbiel is shown painting on the porch of hisstudio, left, just above the beach launch.