(June, 1841-Feb. 2, 1930). The granddaughter of Samuel Merrill, Indiana’s first state treasurer, Susan Ketcham was born in Indianapolis and received her early art education at the Indiana School of Art under John Washington Love and James F. Gookins.

At Low Tide is the most important and representative of Ketcham’s work as a marine painter, n.d. Credit: Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields View Source

As a founding member and director of the Art Association Of Indianapolis in 1883, she was responsible for selecting superior paintings for a major art loan exhibition, a role that required travel to Chicago and New York. When the Art Association’s school was established, she not only selected the painters for the faculty but also taught at the school until it closed in 1886.

Ketcham studied music and art in Italy and Switzerland for over two years. Afterward, she moved to New York and continued her education at the Art Students’ League, of which she was a member and later served as vice president. She established and maintained a studio at Carnegie Hall for 29 years and also studied with William Merritt Chase at the Shinnecock Hills Art School on Long Island. Her interest in interpreting and painting seascapes led to the establishment of her own summer studio in Ogunquit, Maine, where she was a pupil of Charles Woodbury, the noted marine painter.

Study of a Hat, n.d. Credit: Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields View Source

For over three decades Susan Ketcham made her home in the East, and her paintings were shown in many New York exhibitions. She became well known internationally as a marine and portrait painter. The John Herron Art Institute sponsored a memorial exhibition in 1930, and her work is represented in many private and public collections, including the Indianapolis Museum Of Art and Indiana University.

Revised February 2021

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