Two signature paintings in the permanent collection of the Historical Society of Woodstock – Arnold Blanch’s Hervey White in his Studio (1926) and Edmund Rolfe’s Landscape (1914) – have been restored and are currently displayed at the Historical Society’s Eames House Museum at 20 Comeau Drive.
The conservator, Nadia Ghannam completed the project in July. The conservation of this works was supported through the NYSCA/GHHN Conservation Treatment Grant Program administered by Greater Hudson Heritage Network. This program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. Formal installation at the Historical Society of Woodstock includes accompanying labels.
The seminal portrait of Hervey White, founder of the Byrdcliffe and Maverick art colonies, pictures White reclining on the couch in his still existing cottage on what is today Maverick Road in West Hurley. This was his principal residence from the time of the founding of Maverick in 1905 through the early 1940s, where White wrote novels, produced the Maverick Festival, published and entertained.
White offered houses to kindred spirits such as Arnold and Lucille Blanch, who paid modest rents when they were able to. He built simple rustic cottages with his own limited funds and at times with his own hands. White’s interests in literature, music, art, and his embrace of rustic Catskill living are all related by elements in the painting. After serving in the U.S. Army from 1941-1943, the sculptor Raoul Hague moved into friend White’s former cabin, where he resided and worked for nearly fifty years.
Woodstock was a great center of landscape painting in America in the early 20th century. Landscape (1914) by painter, metalworker and jeweler Edmund B. Rolfe is an exemplary work of this period. Rolfe, a native of Detroit, studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students League of New York before coming to Woodstock in 1905, when he was hired to take Laurin H. Martin’s place as teacher of metalwork at the Byrdcliffe art colony for a year.
Rolfe then set up his own shop and home on a wooded acre in the mountain to the west of Byrdcliffe, where he worked and taught at his own school. Rolfe’s romantic and painterly landscapes primarily feature views in and around Woodstock. He also worked in the Adirondacks, Cape Ann, Massachusetts and Philadelphia. Rolfe died in 1917 from injuries sustained in a local car accident.
A Zoom event will be held in early autumn with Ghannam discussing her treatment, as well as a discussion of the historical background of the works by American art historian Bruce Weber, a member of the board of the Historical Society. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Historical Society of Woodstock website.
Illustrations, from above: Arnold Blanch, Portrait of Hervey White, 1926, 22 x 26 in, oil on canvas; and Edmund B. Rolfe, Landscape, 1914, 24 x 30 in, oil on linen canvas photos by Nadia Ghannam.