Theodore Wendel (1859–1932) was an Impressionist artist who lived for thirty-four years in Ipswich, where he painted the village, bridges, farmlands and landscapes, and left behind a magnificent collection of paintings of his adopted home town. Wendel was born in Ohio, but pursued his art studies in Germany, Baravia and Italy. He became part of a group of painters in France who worked closely with Claude Monet. Some of his most successful canvases were painted in Ipswich between 1900 and 1915 before a debilitating illness brought his painting career virtually to a close.
Wendel first lived in the Victorian house at 28 County Street. The nearby County Street and Green Street bridges appear in his paintings, as does Town Hill and the rolling landscapes beyond. From the home of his friend Arthur Wesley Dow on Turkey Shore Road, he could look across the river and the clam shacks to the Summer Street rising up toward Town Hill.
In 1897 Wendel married Philena Stone, and they spent their summers at the farm at 89 Argilla Road that she inherited from her family. He retained a studio in Boston where unfortunately many of his paintings burned in the 1904 fire.
Wendel’s Argilla road home had extensive views of the surrounding marshes, hills, and meadows, including landmark drumlin islands and beaches. He frequently painted the farmers harvesting salt marsh hay by the wagon loads from wooden “straddles.”
After achieving great success, Wendel purchased “Upper Farm” at 89 Argilla Road, with a forty-acre view.
- “Theodore Wendel, Ipswich Impressionist” by Laurene Buckley