“A Love Story in Painting and Letters” Eldredge Summer Exhibition at the Miller Art Center”
SPRINGFIELD, VT -A love story between two artists, their art and careers during the early1930s plays out on the walls of the Springfield Miller Art Center’s summer exhibition of paintings which opens on
Thursday, July12, 2012 and continues through Monday, October 8, 2012.
Entitled ‘A Love Story in Paintings and Letters’ the works on display depict the burgeoning art careers of Springfield artists Stuart Eldredge and his wife to be Marion Schumann during the years when they
first met as students in New York in the early 1930s and entered the art world.
Marion was born in Brooklyn in 1903, she graduated with a bachelors degree in Costume Illustration from Columbia University Teacher’s College in 1924 then worked as a fashion artist at Bergdorf Goodman.
She met Stuart while taking night courses at the Art Students League.
Stuart was born in South Bend, Indiana in 1902, he graduated from Dartmouth College in 1924 with a degree in English. He returned home to work in art and design for Wyman’s Department Store owned by his family. Many of his paintings are landscapes of the Mid-West showing farming activities. But he wanted to study in New York and subsequently enrolled at the Art Students League where he met Marion
and their friendship began.
The couple’s letters were discovered in a box, tied with ribbon, when their daughter Betsy and her husband Denis Rydjeski were insulating the attic of the family farm in Springfield. The Eldridge family has
retained a number of their parents’ early works and from the letters matched them with the paintings and illustrations the artists discussed and were working on in the early 1930s.
Excerpts from the letters are exhibited alongside the works so visitors can read of progress, or lack of, trouble painting trees -- Stuart admires Marion’s expertise, Stuart taking his paints out in a boat and the time taken for oils to dry. Some illustrations in the letters show how work progresses; visitors can then view the finished piece.
Their work is prolific; Marion has several portraits and paintings of people and trees. Stuart paints still lifes, landscapes and nature. Stick insects and praying mantis interest the couple, caterpillars and
chrysalis. In 1932 Stuart received a Fellowship at the Tiffany Foundation in Oyster Bay, Long Island. The couple wrote to each other almost every day and the letters follow their friendship as it develops.
Their styles also develop with both artists painting abstracts. Stuart began work on advertising for New York stores and received commissions for book jackets, a couple of which are on display.
They were married on Christmas Day in 1933.
Stuart taught at Cooper Union and the Art Students League, he had studied at the Beaux Arts Institute of Design Mural Atelier and painted murals for private homes and offices. He also painted for the textile building of the 1939 New York World’s Fair, later the mural of Springfield at the current Employment Office and the circus mural at the Springfield Library.
The Hood Museum at Dartmouth is home to one of his paintings as are many public and private collections. He was a member of the National Society of Mural Painters, Academic Artists, and the National Watercolor Society.
The couple moved to Vermont where they painted, farmed and raised their four daughters. Marion recorded the growth of their daughters in drawings and paintings, but she also painted Vermont landscapes,
flowers from her garden and belonged to the Southern Vermont Art Center where she exhibited as well as other galleries throughout the region.
Not to be missed at the exhibit in a small upstairs room is Marion’s 1924 Columbia Yearbook when she was Art Editor of the Year.
Visit the exhibit to learn and appreciate more about the art and lives of this Springfield couple.
The summer opening hours for the exhibit are: Thursday evening 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Fridays through July, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For viewing by appointment call 802-885-4826
or the Miller Art Center 802-885-2415."