IN.gov - Skip Navigation

Note: This message is displayed if (1) your browser is not standards-compliant or (2) you have you disabled CSS. Read our Policies for more information.

Indiana Historical Bureau

IHB > About Indiana - History and Trivia > Governors' Portraits > Artists > Indiana Governor's Portrait Artist - Michael Chelich - Bayh Indiana Governor's Portrait Artist - Michael Chelich

Michael A. Chelich

Artist, Indiana Governors' Portrait Collection

Evan Bayh

Evan Bayh (b. 1955)
Governor of Indiana
January 9, 1989-January 13, 1997
oil on canvas, 37.5 x 53.5

Artist: Michael Chelich, American, b. 1963

Michael Allan Chelich is a native Indiana resident inspired by the great masters of the Renaissance and Baroque periods of art. He began his studies at the American Academy of Art in Chicago where, in anticipation of entering the school, he competed for and won three tuition scholarships presented by: the Academy, the Northern Indiana Art Association (NIAA), and the Indiana Federation of Women's Clubs. In his second year at the Academy, Chelich won an additional scholarship contest sponsored by the Union League Club of Chicago.

During these formative years in Chicago, Mike was heavily influenced by his life drawing teacher Fred Berger. Berger opened Mike's mind and demanded the best from the young artist. The creative and compositional aspects of art as well as artistic anatomy was stressed in Berger's instruction.

After two years in Chicago, Mike left for Minneapolis, Minnesota where he attended Atelier Lack, a school dedicated to the revival of excellence in craftsmanship, a quality in painting which has slowly but surely deteriorated over the last hundred years. The founder of the school, Richard Lack, nurtured and refined Mike's talents through diligent and personalized instruction. Lack's own artwork is in line with the traditions of the academic and impressionistic schools of painting. Lack's outlook and contribution to the art world is a unique and precarious one which is dependent on the transmission of accumulated knowledge of past generations of artists. Mike hopes to continue in this tradition and help it grow with the additional accumulated knowledge gained from his own trials and experiences. In this pursuit, Mike is instructing drawing and painting in Chicago at the School of Representational Art founded by his friend and colleague, Bruno Surdo.

Mike Chelich now resides and works in Hammond, Indiana where, for the last four years, he has been painting and teaching at his art studio. Having barely begun his career, he has received several important portrait commissions, among them are those of: Evan Bayh, Governor of Indiana; Phil C. Neal, retired Dean of the University of Chicago Law School; Dr. Frank Lloyd, retired President of the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine; and Judge Thieme, current Superior Court Judge of the Criminal Court in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Mike also won a national contest for grant monies from the Stacey Lee Foundation in Oklahoma. Apart from the portrait commissions, Mike's greatest interest and passion lies in the creation of allegorical figure compositions. He has always been fascinated and moved by the great figurative paintings of artists from the Renaissance, Baroque, and Romantic periods in Western art.

My dream is to produce works of art similar in spirit and design, but with themes from our own times. In pursuit of this dream, I will be visiting the churches, capitals, castles and museums of Europe this summer and fall. I will spend much of my time studying these complex and beautifully expressive figurative paintings.

Recently, Chelich was commissioned by the President of the Bank of Highland, Bruce Leep, to create a painting inspired by the New Testament story of Christ's washing of the disciples' feet. This painting, when it is finished, will be Mike's first commission of an allegorical nature. He hopes to become more involved with commissions of this sort, which" . . .challenge me at every level of my abilities and allows for a fulfilling expression of feelings and ideas inspired by particular themes of man and his relationship to his own kind and the world at large."

Source: Indiana Historical Bureau, 1992.