Several of the hundreds of famous artists, writers and musicians who have made Woodstock their home over the years:
Alexander Archipenko (1887–1964)
Archipenko was a Ukrainian-born Cubist/Constructivist sculptor whose work is in leading museums and collections today. He also taught and produced paintings, drawings and prints. He operated the Byrdcliffe pottery after the departure the first generation of artists.
For more on Archipenko, see the art book edition of Woodstock History and Hearsay .
WH&H; excerpt from index; bolded numeral indicates an image): Archipenko, Alexander, 227, 282, 282–83
Leon Barzin (1900–1999)
Belgian-born conductor and musician, Barzin headed the National Orchestral Association for over 20 years and was the musical director of the New York City Ballet in the 1940s and 1950s. As a young musician, he helped build the Maverick Concert Hall.
From WH&H index: Barzin, Leon, Sr., 106, 112
George Bellows (1882–1925)
Painter and lithographer who was a student of Robert Henri and a member of the “Ashcan School,” Bellows was one of America’s leading artists at the time he came to Woodstock. He summered here until his premature death in 1925. Byrdcliffe co-founder Bolton Brown made lithographs of Bellows’s work.
From WH&H index: Bellows, George, 115, 136, 145–48, 170; artistic influences and painting style, 148, 171; childhood and youth, 146; home of, 134; and Library Fair, 162; painting career, 88, 147, 200; relationship with Speicher and Rosen, 135, 136, 146, 150; views on art and painting techniques, 145
Bolton Brown (1864–1936)
A New York artist and former director of the art department at Stanford University in California, Brown was a co-founder of Byrdcliffe. He also helped to elevate lithography to a fine art and pioneered the potentials of the medium from his Woodstock workshop, establishing himself as one of America’s leading lithographers. He also made prints for George Bellows, John Sloan, Rockwell Kent and Arthur B. Davies. His book Lithography for Artists, the first of its kind in America, added to his reputation and is still read by printmakers today.
From WH&H index: Brown, Bolton, 80,83, 83–84, 86, 88–89, 91, 95, 103, 104
John F. Carlson (1875–1945)
An artist who came to Byrdcliffe and stayed, he later became a leading landscape painter. He was responsible for bringing the Art Students League, based in New York City, to Woodstock, and helped Birge Harrison become the director of the first summer school program. He was the first Whitehead scholarship student at the Byrdcliffe Art School.
From WH&H index: Carlson, John F., 170; arrival at Byrdcliffe, 86; and Art Association, 169; and Art Students League Summer School, 151, 167, 167,168; biographical data, 310 ch. 9 n. 21; father-in-law of Sally, 7; father of Robert, 242; home of, 134; instructor of AMS, 13; life in Rock City, 95, 126–27, 129, 130, 133; painting career, 168; painting style, 171
Birge Harrison (1854–1929)
He left Byrdcliffe after a year and founded New York City’s Art Students League Summer School in Woodstock and taught here until 1911. This was an important factor in the desirability of Woodstock as a venue for the arts. Born in Philadelphia, he followed John Singer Sargent’s advice to study in Paris and also traveled to Asia and the Pacific. He was elected in 1910 to the National Academy of Design, the most prestigious honor for an American artist at that time. He is noted as one of the country’s leading tonalist painters and also made significant experimental woodblock prints.
From WH&H index: Harrison, Birge, 93–94, 94, 126, 129, 135, 151, 166, 167, 169, 171; home of, 134
Zulma Steele (1881–1979)
Graduate of the Pratt School of Design, ceramist and painter, Steele joined the Colony as a student in 1904 to work on furniture and ran the pottery operations from 1923 to 1928. She and Walker created the floral designs that characterize Byrdcliffe furniture. Steele created many woodblock prints based on Japanese traditions. After leaving Byrdcliffe, she set up a pottery studio in Woodstock and also continued to paint and make prints.
Hervey White (1866–1944)
Born in Iowa, White spent his early years cooking and fiddling for farm crews, and worked at Chicago’s Hull House, a social residence for the poor. He also was a noted novelist in his day. At Harvard, White was exposed to the ideals of Ruskin and met Whitehead through Charlotte Perkins, a leading feminist of the time. Together they shared the dream of creating an artist’s utopia and White became one of the original employees of Byrdcliffe. After leaving Byrdcliffe in its second season because of philosophical differences, he founded the Maverick Colony (1904) in Woodstock, based on the bohemian principles of Walt Whitman. Without the financial resources of Whitehead, White created music and art festivals to raise money—and quite successfully attracted Byrdcliffe residents, townspeople of Woodstock and other nearby communities.
From WH&H index: White, Hervey, 80,98, 99–104, 105, 265, 283; arrival in Woodstock, 83; artistic influences, 101–102; character and personality, 119–20; death and burial, 121; early life, 100; founding of Maverick, 95, 103; home of (Maverick art colony), 134; marriage and family, 86, 103; and Maverick Festival, 110–14; move to Georgia, 120; and opening of restaurant, 107; philosophy of, 99, 116–17; publishing ventures, 103–105, 120, 166; and role of The Maverick Horse, 308 n. 25; sojourn in Chicago, 102–103; theater on Maverick, 115–19; travels through Italy, 100–102; views on nature, 102, 104; and Whitehead, 81, 82, 102–103; differences among Byrdcliffe founders, 99–100; and Woodstock philosophy, 104. See also Byrdcliffe art colony; Maverick art colony
Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead (1854–1929)
Born in Yorkshire, England, Whitehead was a visionary who used his inheritance to develop Byrdcliffe as an intellectual counterpoint to other Arts and Crafts enterprises and helped begin a new phase of the Arts and Crafts movement in the United States. While a student of John Ruskin at Oxford, he was captivated by the Arts and Crafts movement and joined Ruskin during his last trip to Italy. Whitehead’s wealth as the son of a prosperous mill owner and industrialist helped to finance the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony. For two decades, the Colony attracted many leading artists of the time, as well as influential visitors, and produced furniture, ceramics, textiles, metalwork and fine arts. Whitehead, heartbroken over the death of his son in 1928, died a year later, at the start of the Great Depression.
From WH&H index: Whitehead, Ralph Radcliffe, 80; arrival in Woodstock, 83; background and early life, 81; and Bellows house, 146; and Birge Harrison, 93; California homes, 82, 103; death and burial of, 94, 95; founding and running of Byrdcliffe, 23, 84, 86, 103; Byrdcliffe home, 92, 134; differences among the founders, 99, 100; formative years in France and Italy, 81–82; and admiration for Italian masters, 82–83; furniture design, 86; and Hervey White, 99, 102–103; legacy of, 97; and Lotte Stoehr, 90; New York Times Magazine account of Woodstock, 114; personality, 99; philosophy and vision, 18, 81–83, 89, 91; plans for a colony in Oregon, 103; talents, 92; views on art and craft, 82, 89; views on nature, 87, 89; and Woodstock Library, 158. See also Byrdcliffe art colony