Times Past: Local artists during the 20th century and beyond

  • Passing a Barn at Noon, a painting by Robert Strong Woodward. The June view as depicted in the 2022 Buckland Historical Society Woodward Calendar.

  • FILE PHOTO

For The Recorder
Published: 6/19/2022 11:23:41 AM
Modified: 6/19/2022 11:23:20 AM

In 1943, when I worked at C.H. Demond store during my high school years, there was a very large room/gallery for artists to bring in their work for display and sale. The store carried and sold all kinds of artist supplies and the store did picture framing as well.

W. Lester Stevens of Conway was just one of the artists that used the store. Some of his paintings were of the Rockport area and local streams and landscapes.

Stephen Maniatty, a well known one, was a masterful painter that used mostly oils in his work. His subjects were mostly landscapes and later in life he painted mostly flowers and still life. At Douglas Auctioneers, his paintings sell for high prices because he was so very talented and well known.

Stephen Hamilton used mostly water colors on his paintings. Many of his works are of winter scenes and different shades of blue and white. He did excellent work on all of his paintings and I think his home base was Amherst.

Howard Sauter, who owned a grocery store on Pond Street in Greenfield, painted very large paintings. My first wife, Jeanette Houston, took lessons from him at the YMCA where he had an art class. Jeanette became a very good artist.

Robert Strong Woodward of Buckland was so very well known for all of his paintings. Most of his paintings are of farm silos and barns in that area. He was in a wheelchair but had a driver to drive his open, touring limousine to where he wanted to paint. A calendar is made and sold each year of his work.

Polly French of Shelburne Falls paints small images of her work. She is very good at it.

Joe Baker of Greenfield trimmed the windows of the Wilson’s Department Store. His paintings were of the smaller size but were excellently done.

These people were just some of the local artists that lived in Franklin County years ago and still are; all of them were blessed with talent.

This story may be my last one for this column. Thank you for taking the time to read them.

Occasional columnist Robert Bitzer, 91, lives in Erving.


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