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Showing posts from July, 2009

Mini Holiday

Took a little break for the last few days, but I am back. How refreshed I am is rather questionable, as flying these days is like taking an obstacle course with the devil. Didn't have time to research Fenn's possible work in Paris, as French are as unhelpful as everyone is saying, especially about someone who is not French :)

I will try to find something online, but I doubt Paris and France in general holds any importance in Fenn's work, as he studied in Italy.


I receive this ominous-looking envelope from the government, and you know that bad feeling you get? People who have been audited know what I am talking about, right? Oh, never mind.

Anyway, the envelope, thankfully, is not from the IRS, but from the Department of Interior, and it is a copy of the filing with the National Register of Historic Places that the archivist promised me. What a great surprise! And get this, it contained a copy of the original article by Sheldon from The Magazine of Art in 1886 about the House, with the illustrations of both exterior AND interior. Check out the Hall as originally built and today. This keeps getting better and better...

Also, I have been searching for The Magazine of Art from 1885, as the reprint of the article was stating. Been looking into the wrong year.

Due to kindness of a complete stranger...

And a fellow history buff, I've received some articles about Fenn's that I haven't seen before. Thanks B.S.C. They were all published in NY Times and I would have found them eventually, since I am doing a systematic search of each individual source. But, it was nice to received this because it feels like I have an assistant :) There were also some documents from the Montclair Preservation or Historic Society, as it is known now.

So, the picture of Fenn's and their life in Montclair is coming along. Will keep you posted.

Speaking of details...

This is an illustration of the actual painting that was exhibited in 1888. The image is from the catalogue. I wasn't very careful when I was making copies, as I didn't think I would scan and publish them. That is the reason it's a bit crooked. The asterisks means that the artist did the illustration. Amazing, right?

History - Part II: Who Was Harry Fenn? Timeline

1866. - American Society of Painters in Water Colors is instituted. Fenn, Harry (Henry) was elected as a Member.

1867-8. - First exhibit of the Society (image to the right). Fenn exhibited the following works:
Toilers of the SeaSketch Near Genoa (owned by J.T. Fields)Church Porch, Levington, England (owned by J.T. Fields)Pietra Santa LuccaHe is listed as having residence in Montclair, N.J.

1868-9. - Second exhibit. Fenn is showing the following works:
A Tomb on the Apian Way, Roman CampagnaStudy of Boats, Port of Venice, Gulf of Shezzia (owned by Samuel Wilde)A Winter Study, Montclair, N.J.A Twilight Study, Near Portland, M.E.By the WellHe is listed as having residence in Montclair, N.J.

1871-2. - Fenn exhibits the following:
The Mouth of the St. Johns River, Fla.Study from the Sister Islands, NiagaraStill residing in Montclair.

1873. - Fenn exhibits:
The Ghetto, RomeEntrance to Watkin's Glen (owned by Dr. J. W. Pinkham)Cavern Cascade, Watkin's Glen (owned by Dr. J. W. Pinkham)Goat Is…


After writing and publishing the post from last night, I went to read the email. I got a lovely note from B.S.C. (I am using the initials because I didn't get permission to write their full name) writing about the house they bought recently and the house next door that "looms" over them. Apparently, one of them was designed by Alice Fenn, Fenn's daughter, and the other by Dudley Strickland Van Antwerp, married to Hilda Fenn, another one of Fenn's daughters.

It looks like Fenn's have left a much larger stamp on Montclair than I previously thought...

American Watercolor Society Visit

I had an to opportunity spend several hours at the AWS offices today. I reviewed the exhibit catalogues through 1888. So, only 23 years to go...

Joking aside, it is amazing how much one can discover from turning those pages. Here is a brief timeline of Fenn's whereabouts as seen through AWS eyes:

1867 - Member
1875 - Active Member
1878 - Non-resident Member
1883 - Resident Member
1903 - Active Member
1910 - Active Member
1911 - Active Member (last mention)

Since I feel very tired, I am starting to make some terrible spelling mistakes and my writing is completely uninspired. So, I am going to get some rest and give you the detailed timeline with names of the paintings for sale through 1888 when I wake up tomorrow. Have a good night.

Here is the photograph...

That started us on this journey... Isn't it magnificent?

Next Steps - sooner than expected...

Our thanks to Mark Wright from Wright & Robinson Architects of Glen Ridge for a visit. Mark is actually the person who got us interested in this restoration. In January of this year, he sent a reprint of an article about the House and the photograph of what the House used to look like when it was first built, in it's original location on Upper Mountain Avenue. When we saw this photograph, my husband and I, and all other family members, were stunned by the beauty of it. We all agreed that if there are any funds available in the future, we will use them to return the House to its original appearance.

So, this summer we decided to at least price the project, since chances are we won't have anything available after the backyard landscaping project. But, there is always next year...

It was amazing to walk the house with someone who actually knows architecture, different styles, materials, colors, etc. He agreed with me that it was very much possible Fenn was very involved in the …