A Childhood on Maple Avenue: the Art of Worth Brehm

A Childhood on Maple Avenue: the Art of Worth Brehm

The period between the 1890’s and the 1920’s is known in the art world as the Golden Age of American Illustration, and two Noblesville brothers were important contributors to this movement.  George Brehm (1878-1966) and Worth Brehm (1883-1928) grew up in Noblesville, graduated from Noblesville High School, and then left Indiana to establish careers as nationally famous artists. The Brehms created iconic images for national magazine covers and classic novels by drawing upon their memories of their Noblesville childhood.

In 1900, Worth lived his family at 1384 Maple Avenue.  He graduated from Noblesville High school in 1902 and attended the Herron School of Art in 1904-1905.   After working for the Indianapolis Star, he followed his brother to New York where Worth became known for his illustrations of children.  His first success was a series of drawings published in Outing Magazine in 1907-1909.  The series was based on his memories of growing up in Noblesville and was titled “When I Was a Boy”.  His first Saturday Evening Post cover was in June of 1908.  He followed this up with the illustrations for a 1910 edition of Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, a 1912 edition of Huckleberry Finn, original illustrations for Booth Tarkington’s Penrod stories, and a frontispiece for an edition of Toby Tyler, as well as many other illustrations for stories about young people.  At the urging of his friend Johnny Gruelle, (the creator of Raggedy Ann), he joined the Silvermine art colony in Connecticut in 1912.  He took a trip to Europe in 1914 to do more study, but returned just as World War One broke out in August.  He was widely recognized for his work before his untimely death in 1928.

These works and more can be viewed on the first floor of Noblesville City Hall during the month of September 2019.

J.C. Seig

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