The following article by David Strange appeared in The Courier-Journal on 22 Jun 2014. It is archived here with additional information for your reading enjoyment.
I wrote last time about Dr. Woodford Bates Troutman, who became one of the first cardiologists in Kentucky. I promised then to write about his wife, Ann, who is known in her own right as an artist.
Ann Christianson was born in Michigan on June 30, 1891. She was the daughter of Martin and Hannah Christianson, immigrants from Norway. By 1900, they were living in Crookston, Minnesota.
Let me say here that there is confusion about Ann's early history. For example, though some biographies list her birth year as 1897, her tombstone shows 1891. Her maiden name is found as both Christianson and Christiansen.
One thing that is clear is that she loved painting. She began studying art in St. Cloud, Minnesota, as a child. A 1910 census lists her as a teacher at a rural school, and she taught for a while at a high school in Crookston, but her passion was art. Ann's art credentials are extensive. She studied at prestigious institutions, some of which were the Pauline Kunkel Studios in Washington DC, and The Art Students' League in New York City.
New York is where Ann Christianson and Woodford Troutman met. According to a July 19, 1924, New York Times announcement on their wedding day, Ann was graduating from the nurses program at Bellevue Hospital, and Dr. Troutman had completed his residency there. They had met at the bedside of a patient at the hospital. After the wedding at "The Little Church Around the Corner" in Manhattan, the newlyweds took a short honeymoon trip to Bermuda, returning to New York on July 28. Ann and Woodford then headed to a Cherokee Park home in Louisville, Kentucky, to start their new life, with Dr. Troutman joining in practice with his uncle, Dr. S. Woodford Bates. Dr. Bates died in 1925, the year after Woodford Troutman returned, so the two Woodford’s joint practice was, sadly, a short one.
In 1929 the Troutmans traveled to Vienna, Austria. Dr. Troutman took an advanced medical course there. I am guessing this is also when Ann attended the Vienna Art Academy, followed by studies at the Royal Academy of London.
Those must have been both thrilling and fearful times. The Great Depression hit hard in 1929 Europe. A man named Adolf Hitler was rising to power amidst the turmoil. By June, 1930, Dr. Troutman had completed his studies and the couple headed to England and then back home.
After WWII, the Troutmans traveled widely, taking three world cruises over the years. And Ann continued to paint.
They owned a large farm in Bullitt County, some of which was sold for Interstate 65 when it was built, and for Bullitt Central High School. The Troutmans retained several acres on Preston Highway in Shepherdsville, upon which, in 1957, they built a log cabin for a weekend retreat. Ann used the 2nd floor of the barn as a paint studio. Woodford could often be seen mowing grass on his tractor as Ann painted in her studio. Family friend Dr. John Tomlinson remembers that if she did not like what she painted, she would take it outside and burn it.
Ann was described by Dr. Tomlinson as "a very private person and a talented artist."
She became a prolific painter, especially of portraits. Her portrait of T.C. Carroll hangs at the Bullitt County History Museum in Shepherdsville.
In her lifetime, her paintings were displayed at The Louisville Art Association Bridwell Art Library, University of Louisville, Speed Art Museum, and others.
Time moved on and husband Woodford Troutman passed away in 1980. There were no children. Ron Florence, who later bought the cabin from Ann, said that she never returned to it after Woodford's death. Ron, who became friends with her, says that "she was quite a character," being quite selective in who she would like. In her later years, she withdrew from much of life, often watching golf on TV.
She died on August 10, 1989, at age 98. She is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery near her husband. Several of her paintings were donated to the Louisville Visual Arts Association.
I want to thank Wilma Lemons, Shela Bolus, Ron and Leigh Anne Florence, and Sherry Lee for helping with the details of this story of Ann's life.
Copyright 2014 by David Strange, Shepherdsville KY. All rights are reserved. No part of the content of this page may be included in any format in any place without the written permission of the copyright holder.