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 Glenn Franklin (GB) Bastian  (1890 - 1966)

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Lived/Active: Indiana/Ohio      Known for: landscape, florals, cottage scene and bird paintings

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Ad Code: 4
Glenn F Bastian
from Auction House Records.
Winter in Vermont Hills
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following information has been researched, written and submitted by Kevin Daniel, University of Illinois graduate student of Library and Information Science with a focus on art Cataloging.

Glenn Franklin Bastian was born 22 June 1890 in Fort Seneca, Ohio a son of James and Jeanette Dumont Bastian. His family, consisting of his parents, four brothers, and one sister, moved to Gas City, Indiana by 1900 where his father operated a boarding house. Glenn Bastian had many occupations; department store manager in 1910 in Gas City, clerk in a clothing store in Gary, Indiana in 1920, and a bank employee in Gary in the 1920s and 1930s.

His WWI draft registration reports that he was 5' 9” tall , had black hair and blue eyes, weighed 140 lbs, and was employed as a "window trimmer" in Gary, Indiana. Glenn was a WWI veteran, which is confirmed by the 1930 Federal census and other records. According to the widow of Bastian's nephew, aged 93 in 2008, she believes he served in Germany, but worked in an office and was not involved in the fighting.

Several of Mr. Bastian's relatives and they have shared many details about him. I include this excerpt from one email:

"First of all, Great Uncle Glenn served in the US Army during
WWI and during the war he contacted tuberculosis. He was placed
in a tuberculosis asylum in France. That is where his formal
training as an artist began. He had always loved art and had a
great natural talent for it so the doctors utilized this talent
as a form of therapy. He stayed in the French asylum for over a
year and when he grew strong enough was then sent to the asylum
in Illinois where he continued to study art.
       
His family mostly lived in Gas City, Indiana and he decided
to build his studio/home there. He bought the property directly
across the street (Main St) from his closest brother Karl and
Karl’s wife Stella. (I have a newspaper with a story and
pictures of the Spanish house that I will copy and send with the
photos.) Uncle Glenn was a very private man but had a big sense
of humor and a persona he used for the public which either
impressed or scared them. While the house was being built he
overheard Karl’s wife make the statement that his home would be
perfect for her to “Host” some of her ladies’ groups…….not
wishing as he put it to me “To be over run by a bunch of
cackling females.”, he immediately told the builders that there
would be NO kitchen in the house. The room that would have been
a kitchen he had made into a “framing room” where he and his
helpers would build frames for his art and stretch canvas. He
was in this fashion able to maintain his privacy and thwart his
sister in law’s plans to 'invade his space with her social
tomfoolery'.
       
He had a small kitchenette consisting of a hot plate and a
small fridge in his studio and would walk down to the Avalon
Cafe of evenings for his supper. He was a tall, very pale and
gaunt gentleman. Very straight and distinguished in appearance.
He always wore a dark suit with a crisp white dress shirt (Yes
even when he painted….coat off and sleeves rolled up) and a gray
and black Homburg hat. In cold weather he added a black long
dress coat and depending on the weather he either carried a
black walking cane with silver handle or his full length black
umbrella and black dress gloves. He was quite a sight in the
little town of Gas City, a striking figure that awed most of the
adults and frightened most of the kids.  He found it quite
amusing to see their faces when he passed by. He stopped driving
back in the 50’s because of a frightening accident he had. From
then on my father, Russell Bastian (his nephew –son of brother
Karl) drove him everywhere and then when I got my driver’s
license  he asked me to be his driver. I along with my cousin
Glenda were his hostesses when he held his open houses for
locals to come in a buy art. He would lower prices on a lot of
his paintings because he felt everyone should be able to afford
original pieces and hold these open houses once a year.
       
One other piece of interest is that although much of his art
is signed Glenn F Bastian, he actually just added the F because
he thought it looked good. He did not have a middle name, which
he was unhappy about because his brother Karl had 5 middle
names. They laughed about it all the time, one had none and the
other had too many.
       
The last information about Mr. Bastian's middle name may have been a joke on the family, as his middle initial is given as "F." in the 1900 census, on his WWI Draft Registration Card in 1917, his 1924 passport application, and his middle name is given as "Franklin" on his WWII Draft Registration Card, documents that he would have been unlikely to falsify. He was still living in Gary, Indiana when he completed the registration in 1942. His brother, Karl's, name was given as Karl C. L. Bastian in the 1900 census and on his WWI Draft Registration card, and as "Karl Clement Bastian" on his WWII Draft Registration card. The middle initials of the entire Bastian family are noted in the 1900 census, the only time that this takes place in census records.

Mr. Bastian applied for a passport in 1924 noting his intention to travel to England, France, and Germany, by way of Montreal on the ship Metagamea departing on 24 July 1924. His trip was expected to last 5 or 6 months. He was living in Gary, Indiana at the time and gave his occupation as "Banker" on his passport application. An associate, Mearl Kitchen, witnessed the application noting that his occupation was bank teller and that he had known Mr. Bastian for 12 years. Bastian was employed by the First National Bank of Gary, Indiana. Bastian's mother passed away on 24 December 1920 in Gary, Indiana according to the application. Glenn's father, James Bastian, testified to his son's intention to travel and to his identity, as no formal birth certificate was issued when his son was born.

Mr. Bastian did not marry and was in his father's home up until at least 1930. According to his nephew's widow, either as a result of the war or sometime afterward, he contracted tuberculosis and was treated at the Hines VA Hospital in Hines, IL. He was released from the hospital about 1934, the year his nephew was married, and returned to his home in Glen Park, Indiana. This account may indicate that Mr. Bastian had more than one bout with tuberculosis or his release was much earlier than she remembered.

According to one collector of Bastian's paintings, Mr. Bastian worked for the Indiana Department of Welfare in the 1930s. I have not been able to confirm this. About 1937 Bastian wanted to make a trip to Mexico and his nephew and wife moved into his home for two months.

If Mr. Bastian received additional artistic training after his stays in the asylums is not known. There is a notation on one of his paintings that reads "Painted in England, 8-24, 'Oea Danking, England, G. F. Bastian", so he was apparently making painting trips to Europe, though apparently not making his living as an artist. He may also have studied in Europe in the 1920s.

Bastian is mentioned as a "well known Gary artist" in the 18 June 1935 edition of the Hammond Times. He had been a judge in a local art competition. The 23 November 1935 edition of the Hammond Times  reported that Bastian's paintings were awarded as prizes to high scorers at each table at a card and bunco party held by the Lake Lodge Eastern Star. The article also noted that Bastian was a "World War" veteran of Gary. 

The following excerpt from an article appeared in the Hammond Times on 26 January 1937, under the heading Highland
(Indiana):

 "Several pictures, painted by Glen Bastian of Glen Park, were on
   display throughout the meeting. Scenes and flowers in singles,
   pairs, and triplicates in gold or silver frames are on hand at
   this time. They are beautifully done an are an added attraction
   to any home. Mr. Bastian is an ex-service man."
       

The meeting referred to above was the January meeting of the American Legion Auxiliary. Again, on 8 February 1937, Bastian is mentioned in the Hammond Times, when his paintings were given as prizes at the Crown Point American Legion Auxiliary meeting. He is listed in Polks Gary (Lake County, Indiana) Directory as an artist in 1937, 1939, 1941, and 1945 and as a "Commercial Artist" in 1950. The 1937 entry also has the notation "art school" under his name, so he may have been teaching art, as well. His WWII draft registration card, dated 1942, shows him as a resident of Gary, Lake County, Indiana and his occupation as “artwork”. His address was given as 4458 Carolina St. in all of the records of his residence in Gary, Indiana from 1930 on. The 14 February 1950 issue of the Valparaiso, Indiana Vidette-Messenger noted that Glen Bastian of Gas City "supplies" merchandise for the Legion Auxiliary Post No. 170 "service sales".

The 1950 Polks Directory of Grant County lists John W. Adams as "artist hlpr Glenn F. Bastian". Glenn seems to have been continuously active as an artist from at least the 1920s through the early 1960s, living in Gary until his move to Gas City in the late 1940s, though he may have continued to maintain some presence in Gary, for a few years, at the same time. A story about Bastian's Gas City home appeared in the 3 December 1948 edition of the Gas City Journal.

Bastian worked primarily in oils doing florals, landscapes and cottage scenes, and also created many pictures of birds made of feathers with accompanying floral decoration in oils. Mr. Bastian traveled to Mexico to collect the feathers for his bird pictures. Some of these birds are now extinct. His works range from miniatures on card stock a few inches square to large oils on canvas up to three feet by four feet. His work is typically well done and consistent in quality. He may have created his own frames as well, as many seem to be hand carved.

Bastian is listed in Davenport's Art Reference and Price Guide. I have been told that a museum in Valparaiso, Indiana has a large collection of his works, which they value quite highly. This is apparently not the Brauer Museum of Art at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, as the curator there told me that they do not have any of his work in their collection and, at that time, had never heard of him.  Bastian's work is part of the permanent collection of the Gas City Museum in Gas City, Indiana.
   
Later in life, Mr. Bastian had a home in Gas City, Indiana known as the Bastian Spanish House, as he built it using Spanish style architecture. He lived on the second floor of this home and used the first floor as his studio. He was a well known resident of Gas City.
   
Mr. Bastian died in November 1966 in Gas City, Indiana and was buried in a mausoleum of his own design.


Biography from Gas City Historical Society:
Glenn F. Bastian was a native of Gas City, Indiana. Most of Bastian’s paintings are from the 1930’s and 1940’s. He would travel to Mexico often and get bird feathers and then come back to his Gas City studio and do his paintings. He did a lot of bird and landscape paintings.

He built his home, which is of a Spanish style and it was also his studio. The studio was the whole downstairs and he lived upstairs . His house is known locally as the Glenn Bastian Spanish House. Since he did not put a kitchen in his house, he ate out.

He was known to frequent only two diners in town and he was always seen wearing a hat. He never married, but he had two brothers. He also did some paintings under the name of GB. He passed away in the 1960’s.

The Gas City Historical Society has a few of his paintings and also has more in-depth about his history.

Added note from Gary Stanley, ArtSanDiego:
He was born on June 22, 1890, and died November 1966 in Gas City, Indiana.

Source:
Social Security Death Index

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