A Passion for Collecting, Displaying Art

John Sommers II

This story appears in the June 23 print edition of Transport Topics.

Celadon Group Inc. Chairman Stephen Russell has a passion for collecting art — as is reflected throughout the Indianapolis headquarters.

A wall in the carrier’s lobby features four color-splashed Andy Warhol originals of large tractor-trailers, and there is original art on the walls of nearly all the rooms at Celadon — the product of a renaissance man who also happens to be a trucker.

Charles Venable, CEO of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, said Russell has served on the board for the past nine years and was chairman for two of them.

“He’s a very interesting man and has a great passion for art, and the arts in general,” Venable said. “He’s clearly a very savvy businessman, very well-educated, and I think he probably came from a background that required him to work very hard to get to Cornell and to graduate with honors. He also has a great sense of humor, and he’s always posing philosophical questions.”

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Venable said Russell is a sophisticated collector of contemporary art, purchasing works ranging from Asia and South and Central American artists to hip hop artist Kehinde Wiley and pop-art photographer Cynthia Sherman, best known for her conceptual portraits.

“But I would say the core is really of American painters and photographers, which he divides between his homes in Indianapolis and New York City,” Venable said. “Every wall has a painting or a photograph on it.”

The couple has an apartment in midtown Manhattan’s East Side with a panoramic view and a home in Indianapolis with spacious grounds and a garden.

Venable said Russell and his wife, Livia, “make a very wonderful couple.”

The couple also is involved in fundraising and donating to the Phoenix Theater in Indianapolis.

 — Eric Miller