New Acquisition: Woldemar Neufeld Lake Waramaug Oil Painting

Lake Waramaug oil painting, Woldemar Neufeld, at Gregory James Gallery

Gregory James Gallery has added a rarity to its collection of original watercolors and linoleum block prints (linocuts) by the late artist Woldemar Neufeld – a large oil painting of Lake Waramaug that appears to be from the 1970s.

The 36-by-48-inch painting came from the estate of a former lake resident and is available to collectors (price on inquiry), along with approximately six watercolors of Lake Waramaug and one of Bull’s Bridge in Kent from the same estate.

The new acquisitions add to the gallery’s extensive collection of works by Neufeld, who was born in Ukraine in 1909, emigrated to Canada in 1925, came to the U.S. in 1935, and settled with his family in New Milford in 1949.

In addition to signed watercolors and linocuts of New Milford, Washington, Bridgewater, and Litchfield scenes from the 1950s to the 1970s, the gallery also has a collection of watercolors and prints from Watch Hill, Rhode Island, and Stonington, CT, where the artist vacationed in the summer.

More recently, Neufeld’s son, Laurence, shared original block prints of Ontario with the gallery, as well as linocuts and watercolors showcasing the urban beauty and majesty midcentury New York City, where Neufeld maintained a studio and was known as the artist laureate of the East River.

The gallery also offers a limited series of more affordable giclee prints of Neufeld favorites: New Preston in Spring, Reveille, New Milford R.R. Station, New Milford in Winter, and Festival of Lights on the Green. (Each print is $250.)

Visit the gallery to see the full selection of Neufeld works, or head to the artist’s bio page for a sampling of the available works, as well as reading his fascinating story.

Gregory James Gallery has represented the Neufeld, who died in 2002, for more than 25 years.

A Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia bio recounts the life of Neufeld, who was born Nov. 10, 1909 in Waldheim Ukraine.

Woldemar Neufeld in 1939

During his earliest years Neufeld enjoyed the pleasures of life in a prosperous Mennonite family. His grandfather, industrialist Isaak Johann Neufeld, founded the family-run implement factory in Waldheim, where his father and uncles and 300 other employees worked. Neufeld’s father nurtured his young son’s artistic talent, encouraging him to draw bridges, trains, and other images related to his own training as an engineer. Throughout World War I, when his father served in the medical corps at the front, and throughout the Revolution and Civil War, Neufeld experienced enormous trauma, including the 1920 execution of his father on trumped-up charges. In 1923 Neufeld’s mother married the recently-widowed Jacob H. Janzen, himself the father of six. This well-known teacher and preacher was also a poet and playwright; he encouraged Neufeld to indulge his talent as an artist. In the summers of 1923 and 1924, Janzen arranged for Neufeld to take private art lessons with his nephew, the Moscow-trained painter Hans Janzen.

In the fall of 1924 Janzen, under surveillance by Communist officials, decided to immigrate with his family to Canada. The combined Janzen-Neufeld family, with ten children, journeyed through Riga, London, Southampton, Saint John, and Montreal to Waterloo, Ontario. The 15-year-old Neufeld worked for a time on the farm of a Swiss Mennonite, Eldon Hunsberger, west of Waterloo, and attended a country school. After only a few days, he wrote to his mother in Waterloo: “Mother, if it is at all possible, could you send me my paintbox?”

After he joined the rest of his family in Waterloo in 1925, Neufeld spent a decade going to school and studying fine art in Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto. His stepfather took him to meet the Canadian painter Homer Watson in Doon, Ontario in 1926 or 1927. In 1931 Neufeld helped to found the Art Society of Kitchener and regularly exhibited in the society’s annual shows. In 1934 and 1935 he had one-man shows in Kitchener-Waterloo. In 1935 he moved to the United States: first to Cleveland, where he studied for four years at the Cleveland Art Institute, then to New York in 1945, where he established himself as artist and art-teacher on the upper east side. Finally, in 1949 he moved to New Milford, Connecticut, where he established a successful studio that he maintained into his old age. Neufeld’s sister, Kate Neufeld, who, in the 1930s, introduced him to block-prints though she herself enjoyed a reputation for her work in enamels, lived most of her adult life with Neufeld and his family in Connecticut.

Neufeld established a studio gallery and art school in a rural part of town and found inspiration in the small towns and rolling landscapes of the Litchfield Hills. He was art director of the Millbrook School in Millbrook, N.Y. from the early 1950s to 1971, while also teaching in New York City and continuing to maintain his Upper East Side studio.

For details and pricing, or to arrange to see the Neufeld originals, contact gallery owner Gregory James Mullen at 860-354-3436 or by email at

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