Neufeld’s New York: Original Prints at Gregory James Gallery
Gregory James Gallery’s collection of original watercolors and linoleum block prints (linocuts) by the late Russian-born artist Woldemar Neufeld includes signature works showcasing the urban beauty and majesty of New York City in the middle of the 20th century.
“The East River—its bridges, boats, and natural beauty—has inspired centuries of artists. But few have depicted the river with the richness and romanticism of Woldemar Neufeld,” an Ephemeral New York blog post says in praising these works.
The blog post also recounts Neufeld telling The New York Times in a 1986 interview, “When I moved to East End Avenue, it began a new chapter in my life. For years I painted nothing but the East River. Some people down there still call me the artist laureate of the East River.”
Born in a Mennonite community in southern Russia in 1909, Neufeld developed a love of
art from the drawings and designs of his father, an engineer, according to text accompanying a 2009 exhibit at The Museum in Canada.
Neufeld’s father served in the medical corps during the First World War, according to The Museum, and was executed by the Bolsheviks in 1920 following the Russian Revolution, according to the Waterloo Public Library in Canada.
In 1923, Neufeld’s mother, Eliese Reimer, married a Mennonite minister and in 1924 the large blended family fled to Ontario, Canada, The Museum says. By all accounts, Neufeld flourished as he studied art in Waterloo, Ontario.
He attended night school at the Ontario College of Art and would later move to the U.S. to enroll in the Cleveland Institute of Art, as well as studying at Case Western Reserve University, graduating in 1941 with a degree in art education.
“In 1945, Neufeld moved from Cleveland to the Upper East Side of New York City, where he became known as the “artist laureate of the East River,” recording his impressions of the waterfront neighborhoods in oils, watercolor and block prints,” the George Glazer Gallery says in its Neufeld bio. “He served as art director of the East River Artists from 1948 to 1975. In 1976, his works were shown in New York City at the South Street Seaport Museum in an exhibit titled ‘Yesterday’s Lower Manhattan.’”
“A painter and watercolorist, he was best known for his masterful printmaking, which flourished in the mid-1940s when he moved to New York City and began creating a series of colorful compositions synthesizing the kinetic energy of the East River waterfront,” the Ephemeral New York blog says.
Neufeld moved with his family to New Milford, Conn., in 1949, establishing a studio gallery and art school in a rural part of town and finding 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, including works discovered by the artist’s son Laurence in January 2021, contact gallery owner Gregory James Mullen at 860-354-3436 or by email at GregoryJamesG@aol.com.
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