John Elwood Bundy was the leading member of the Richmond School; a group of painters active in Richmond, Indiana from the late 19th to mid-20th century. “Of these landscape painter-historians,” wrote Ella Bond Johnson, a contemporary admirer, “no one sees beauty in nature more poetically or expresses it with a vision and technique more uninfluenced by the ideas or conventions of other painters than does John Elwood Bundy. He sings naturally, in the language of color, the beauty of the Hoosier landscape, just as James Whitcomb Riley gives us in words the charm of his Hoosier neighbors and friends.”
Woodland interiors, especially beechwoods, were his passion and his muse. According to author Mary Q. Burnet, “The magnificent trees of the forest caught and held his attention. He lived with them from the earliest spring when the swaying branches sent forth the bursting red brown buds through the stages of tender greens into midsummer when the full leaf casts its welcome and cooling shadows on into the colorful glowing tints of the autumn. Even as the leaves left the branches one by one he studied the contour of the trees against the winter skies.”
A Quaker, he headed the Art Department of Earlham College, where a residence hall now bears his name.