Friday, April 27, 2012

Opening for the 2012 Season - New Hours

The Springfield Art and Historical Society will host an opening reception for the annual Student Art Show on May 10th from 5:00 to 7:30pm. The show will be on exhibit from May 10th to May 31st. 
Come out and support your local student artists!

Please note - Due to staffing and financial restraints, we have changed our hours of operation for this year. Starting May 10th we will be open Thursday nights from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, Friday 11:00am to 4:00pm, and Saturdays 11:00am to 3:00pm. From mid June to mid October we will be open on Saturdays only. If you are coming from out of town we strongly suggest you call ahead. We can make special arrangements to be open for appointments.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Thank you.

Plein Air Workshop with Peter Granucci

The Springfield Art and Historical Society at the Miller Art Center is proud to sponsor a six week plein air workshop taught by New Hampshire artist Peter Granucci. Peter is an accomplished portrait, figurative, and landscape painter who studied at the Paier School of Art in New Haven and graduated in 1975 from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Peter lives in Gilsum, New Hampshire and teaches a variety of classes and offers individual instruction.

The first class will meet Saturday, June 23rd from 9am to 1pm at the Miller Art Center in downtown Springfield. Each class thereafter will be at a different (though nearby) location so students can focus on a specific natural feature. This series of classes will provide a period of instruction in techniques specific to the day's topic, followed by a period of practice under the guidance of the artist, and concluded with a group discussion.

The size of this workshop is being limited to 12 individuals to allow for individualized instruction, and is open to all skill levels. Individual styles are encouraged and the class will look at various approaches and methods that will enable you to develop your skills as well as your own style.

Registration closes June 1st. The cost for this series of six courses is $300 ($50 per class). Please register by contacting Teresa Janiszyn at, or by calling (802)376-9737.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Brief History of the Miller Art Center

History of the Miller Art Center, home of the Springfield Art and Historical Society, from Fred Richardson's Nineteenth Century Springfield and A Touch of History: Historic Sites and Trails, Springfield, VT.

View looking towards Elm Hill.
"The Miller Art Center sits on a site which, over the years, has seen many changes. The first house was built on this site in 1827, a wooden structure owned by two Whitcomb brothers, Perez and Prentiss. Included with the property at that time were several acres on top of Elm Hill. A road leading from the house to the rest of the farm can still be seen although not in use today. Over the years, parts of the farm were sold and today the remaining property consists of six-and-a-half acres of wooded land.

The original wooden house was replaced between the years of 1861 to 1865 with a brick two-story structure having six gables and a center cupola, also owned by one of the Whitcomb brothers. At the front entrance, which looks down onto the center of town, steps led to the carriage road which began at the carriage house then located at the top of Elm Hill.

In 1883 the mansion and surrounding property, mostly on hillsides, were sold to a John K. and Emma C. Ford. They had some fine racing horses which were kept in stables on what is now Hillcrest Road. Mr. Ford was a major stockholder in several rubber manufacturing companies.

Downtown Springfield, mid 19th century
In 1898, the firm of Gilman and Son purchased the property which was transferred, a year later, to Wilbert F. and Nettie Gilman. They lived there until 1912 when the property was again sold, this time to Walter W. and Tirzah Slack who extensively remodeled the house and added the porch and the pillars in 1917. After a major remodeling, including the addition of the front pillars, the Slacks sold the property, in 1928, to Edward W. and Grace Spencer Miller. Mr. Miller held many positions in The Fellows Gear Shaper Company, becoming its president and chairman of the board. He held over 100 patents relating to machine tool design.

In 1956 the Millers transferred the property to the town of Springfield to be used as the home for a permanent art, craft, and cultural center. He stated that 'The practice and display of all the arts and encouragements of the other related activities contribute to the cultural prestige of a community and also are important to its business life.'

The Miller Art Center is now home to the The Springfield Art and Historical Society."

Collection of Springfield made doll carriages and other Springfield artifacts

The Miller Art Center, home the the Springfield Art and Historical Society as it looks today

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Asahel Lynde Powers - American Painter, 1813 to 1843

Asahel Lynde Powers was born on February 28, 1813, in Springfield, Vermont. Powers began his painting career at a young age. At 18 years old, Powers was already well-known . Many of his earliest painting were made in the Springfield, Vermont area. The portrait of Dr. Joel Green of Rutland, Vermont (seen below) on display at the SAHS, is among the earliest known signed and dated painting by Powers. The portrait of Dr. Green was loaned to the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center, located in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1973 and was displayed during their exhibit of early American primitive painters. The painting was loaned again in 200_ to the Southern Vermont Arts Center, located in Manchester, Vermont for a similar exhibition.

Dr Joel Green of Rutland, Vt, 1831 by Asahel Lynde Powers (American, 1813-1843), SAHS collection. The painting is on permanent display at the SAHS along with paintings of the Chase family, also by Powers.

Like many early 19th century American paintings, Powers' early works were oil on wide wood  panels. All five of the Powers paintings owned by the SAHS are done on wood panels. As a traveling artist, Powers eventually switched to canvas as canvas would have been far more portable than heavy wooden panels. His early work is known for its strong outlines, colorful details and facial delineation.  The clothing and accessories of the sitters are painted with a bold hand. Powers experimented with different colors in the backgrounds of his paintings throughout his career which helps in dating his work as many of his portraits were not signed or dated.

Powers traveled throughout Vermont and New York painting his portraits. In 1840 his was living in New York with his wife, Elizabeth M. Powers. Powers later moved to Illinois where he died in 1843.

Two paintings sold by Peggy McClard Antiques Americana & Folk Art (seen below) are of Daniel Griswold and his daughter and Louisa Griswold Field, both of Springfield, Vermont. The green dress worn by Louisa is believed to be her wedding dress. She married Abner Field of Springfield on February 16, 1832 and together they had four children. Louisa died in Springfield on August 15, 1884. Powers painted her when she was about 27 years old, her father was 73.

Louisa Griswold Field age 27 of Springfield, Vt

Daniel Griswol, age 73, of Springfield, Vt

Below is portrait a of handsome young gentleman believed to have been painted by Powers in the 1830s.

Portrait of a Young Gentleman. Unsigned. Oil on poplar panel, c. 1830. Attributed to Asahel Lynde Powers. Sold by Skinner Inc.

Eliza Ann Farrar by Asahel Lynde Powers

For additional information on Asahel Lynde Powers:
Art Blog - It's About Time

Little, Nina Fletcher, Asahel Powers-Painter of Vermont Faces.  The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1973.  Plates 37 & 38, pages 38-39. 

"Seeing America:painting and sculpture from the collection of the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester"

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