By Cramer Lewis
Known also for his historical connection to Blowing Rock, 20th century oil landscapist Elliot Daingerfield is widely regarded as one of North Carolina’s most prolific artists. Blowing Rock Frameworks and Gallery is featuring Daingerfield’s work alongside that of Edward Szmyd in an open show lasting from Thanksgiving to Christmas, 2016.
The show will also feature a recently discovered Daingerfield, which he originally painted in Blowing Rock.
Daingerfield, who was spiritually connected to his art through nature, also had a special connection to Blowing Rock, where he lived and worked for a great portion of his career. His mystic paintings depicting the natural beauty of the High Country, mythology, the human form and Christian themes will be on display, on sale, and open for the enjoyment of High Country art enthusiasts at the Blowing Rock Frameworks and Gallery during their regular hours between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The show features 10 Elliot Daingerfields and three Edward Szmyds. The gallery is also offering an exclusive look at a recently discovered Daingerfield, which has never before been publicly displayed in North Carolina and treats as its subject one of the most prominent natural landmarks of the High Country.
Elliot Daingerfield was born in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia (which is now part of West Virginia) in March of 1859. He was raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina after his father took command of the city’s Confederate Arsenal. At the age of 21, he set off to study art in New York and established himself in the art world, studying under William Merritt Chase of the Hudson River School.
Between the years of 1886 and 1932, Daingerfield would travel each summer with his family from New York to Blowing Rock in order to work and teach students surrounded by the beautiful scenery of the North Carolina mountains. During his lifetime, Daingerfield left his mark on the High Country, founding his Permanent Art School and building three homes and personal studios in Blowing Rock.
Of his three Blowing Rock homes, Daingerfield first constructed Edgewood Cottage in 1890, which is protected today by the Blowing Rock Historical Society. Throughout his career Daingerfield kept busy during his time in Blowing Rock, writing, painting, drawing and bringing students to his summer homes.
“All during these times he would bring students to Blowing Rock to go out onto the landscapes and paint and to teach painting,” says Tim Miller, the owner and curator of Blowing Rock Frameworks and Gallery. “His second house in Blowing Rock was Windwood, and that was built probably right around the turn of the century. We’re talking about an entire life of building houses in Blowing Rock.”
After entering into the peak of his career and traveling to paint the Grand Canyon at the request of the Santa Fe Railroad in 1910, Daingerfield completed his most ornate studio in Blowing Rock, Westglow, in 1917, which he oriented toward the majestic Grandfather Mountain. Today, Westglow still stands as a world renowned destination resort and spa, which displays many of Daingerfield’s works.
Daingerfield featured the grounds of this grandiose summer retreat in many of his works. Most notably perhaps his famous work, “The Sisters” features the lively summer garden of Daingerfield’s Blowing Rock home at Westglow.
Elliot Daingerfield’s emotive style hides under some inexact shadow between realism and impressionism. His careful consideration of the natural beauty of Blowing Rock as a common subject brings out a deep emotional effect in those intimately acquainted with the High Country. Some of Daingerfield’s paintings clearly display specific perspectives well known to the Blowing Rock community. Daingerfield also liked to use different modes and styles within his works, blending oil, charcoal, and watercolor.
“The watercolor is so impressionistic. But then, the nude, right next to it, is so realistic, says Miller referring to Daingerfield’s “Study for ‘Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.’” “I think during his career, Daingerfield ran the gamut between different styles, but overall he’s an American impressionist.”
A recent major shake up in the art community has renewed interest in the Daingerfield market, and the shake up prominently features Blowing Rock. The recent discovery of a long lost Elliot Daingerfield titled “Twilight” has excited the art world and increased the demand for Daingerfield’s work.
“That painting was hidden for 40, 50 years, and it was hidden in California. There was a mirror put into a frame, and last year someone decided that they wanted to sell the mirror and this beautiful frame, so they took it to an auction house in Oakland, and the auction house started looking at it and saw that there was a painting behind this mirror, says Miller excitedly. “They took the painting out, and it was a pristine Elliot Daingerfield that was painted from the WestGlow area of a Grandfather Sunset.”
Art enthusiasts attending the gallery will have the unique privilege to count themselves among the very small number of persons who have seen in person this long lost depiction of Grandfather mountain from Blowing Rock. While ”Twilight” will not be for sale, the painting will be on display throughout the show.
Elliot Daingerfield’s career as a North Carolina native and a Blowing Rock fixture almost 100 years ago for 30 or 40 years grants him the elite status of being one of North Carolina’s most distinguished artists, but Daingerfield is the most distinguished Blowing Rock artist. His paintings are on display alongside those of Edward Szmyd from Thanksgiving to Christmas at the Blowing Rock Frameworks and Gallery.
For more information, call the gallery at 828-295-0041 or visit www.blowingrockgalleries.com.