Ginny Oustad calls it “The Schlem,” and it needed a new home.
“The Schlem” is a painting that has been in Ginny’s family for generations. The still life, featuring fruits and vegetables, was painted by an artist with Wabash ties, Ferdinand “Fritz” Schlemmer.
Schlemmer taught some of the first art classes at the College and was an artist-in-residence from 1942-47. Oustad says her grandfather was a close friend of Schlemmer’s, so it’s not surprising that this piece of art occupied a place of honor in the Oustad family homes.
“It was always in our home,” she said. “It was a part of our family.”
Ginny’s grandfather lived on Harry Freedman Place. Her father, Hugh Collett ’43, and her brother, George ’82, are Wabash graduates who settled out west. She took possession of the painting when her father passed away. Downsizing led her to find a new home for the heirloom.
That’s when she thought, “It needs to go back home.”
Starting in Elko, Nevada, Ginny took the painting on a whirlwind tour of 11 states, stopping to see family along the way. The painting rolled through California, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, and Ohio.
Its new home is here on campus, not far from where it was created.
“My siblings and I are glad it’s here,” she said. “This is really our homestead. it’s kind of like bringing the family back to family. We’re happy to find a place where it would be enjoyed.”
The College now has multiple Schlemmers in and around campus. There are three inside of Elston Homestead and another in the president’s office.
Welcome home, Schlem.