Grace Leslie Motz, as she signed herself during the height of her early career in the 1930s and ‘40s, was the daughter of a prominent Fort Wayne, Indiana, family. She is also listed as Grace Leslie Dickerson.
Motz’s “family ties and social duties (left) little time to work,” Flora Lauter writes in her Indiana Artists of 1940. Even so, the artist was a celebrated muralist and portraitist and worked in ceramics and sculpture.
She held degrees from St. Francis College and the Instituto Allende. She studied at the Fort Wayne Art School under important Hoosier Impressionist Homer G. Davisson. She attended the Chicago Art Institute and the Cranbook Academy of Fine Arts, and she studied with American Impressionist Louis Ritman and American Modernist Guy Pene DuBois, among others. She also studied in Europe.
Mrs. Motz executed murals for Indiana hotels; the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Indianapolis; Masonic temples in Evansville, Fort Wayne and South Bend; and the St. Patrick Church of Arcola. She exhibited in New York, Chicago, Paris, Mexico and all over the Midwest. She taught art and was a book illustrator.
Our large painting shows a roadside scene probably in the then-rural artist colony of Brown County, Indiana. Artists had come to the county seat of Nashville from the 1870s, but the colony blossomed in the 1920s and ‘30s and continues to this day.