When you’re an antique dealer and sell nice paintings it’s handy to live in an area where several good artists once lived. However, it’s a double-edged sword. My small town of Skaneateles, New York was home to a few notable artists but their paintings are hard to come by. It seems all who have them want to keep them.
Skaneateles has a gallery containing over four hundred oils on canvas by John Dodson Barrow 1824-1906, some of which are spectacular in the Hudson River school style.
Nelson R. Bowdish 1835-1916, was a boat builder who could also paint. He did both oils and watercolors of local scenes. His children Edward R. 1856-1938 and Flora 1859-1950 were also artists with similar talent and style. Eldridge J. Fenn 1857-1934 lived in Syracuse but had a summer cottage on Skaneateles Lake and also did local scenes. Marie Huxford Luce 1843 concentrated on still life and exhibited widely but not for too long.
The Barrow Gallery, behind the library, has probably the largest collection of one artist’s work on public display in the country and is well worth the visit. As you go through the library to enter the gallery you will see what I consider the best work of any Skaneateles artist.
The portrait of an American Indian (probably Onondaga) is so far beyond good it should get more attention! Painted in 1888 by DeCost Smith 1864-1939 when a young and up and coming artist, it will amaze you on your way in to see the Barrow collection.
I would be remiss not to mention the city of Auburn and the village of Marcellus seven miles west and east of Skaneateles. Marcellus gave us our own version of Grandma Moses in Ruth Reed Cummings 1900-1975, an antique dealer and a latecomer to folky depictions of her hometown and memories. Auburn to the west fostered many well-regarded landscape and portrait artists – so many we’ll save that for another blog.
My shop is kitty-corner from the Library/Gallery. I often offer examples of the aforementioned artists and I look forward to your visit.
White & White Antiques
18 East Genesee Street
Skaneateles, New York 13152