[Lucile Blanch and Basil Eliescu]

Artist Lucile Blanch and Basil Eliescu, manager of the Maverick Festival, discuss the history of the Byrdcliffe and Maverick artist colonies in Woodstock, NY.

00:10Copy video clip URL Basil Eliescu and Lucile Blanch sit outside speaking to the camera. Eliescu talks about their history in Woodstock, and the formation of artist colonies and cooperatives in the area. He details the start of the Byrdcliffe Colony, which Eliescu describes as a “craftsman colony,” and Hervey White breaking away to found the more radical Maverick Colony. The former manager of the colony, White “got tired of it, they were too stuffy for him. And he wanted pure art.” 

02:11Copy video clip URL The growth of White’s Colony and the popularity of the musical performances. Audiences growing big enough to necessitate building the Maverick Concert Hall, which will be celebrating its 60th anniversary of uninterrupted concerts that year. “War, pestilence, depression, nothing stopped the Maverick Concert.”

03:40Copy video clip URL Building a theater next to the concert hall, which held performances until the late 1930s, hosting performers like Edward G. Robinson, Helen Hayes, and Dudley Digges. The building of the Woodstock Playhouse by Robert Elwyn, which was neglected by the inheritors of the property and had recently collapsed. 

05:25Copy video clip URL Blanch discusses moving to the area with her then-husband in 1921. She speaks about Carl Waters being the first artist to join the Maverick, who then invited them to move to the colony and run their restaurant, The Intelligentsia. White building them a house to live in and teaching them to live on very little money: buying foods in bulk, fishing, hunting, gardening, canning and preserving. 

09:27Copy video clip URL Married couple painter Harry Gottlieb and sculptor Eugenie Gershoy joining the colony, followed by sculptor Hannah Small and her husband painter Austin Mecklem. Musicians lived there, so they played nearly every Sunday, including some very notable musicians. Others who were living in the colony.

12:04Copy video clip URL White’s emphasis on “pure art.” Artists migrating to America to join the colony, including sculptor Raoul Hague coming from Armenia. Painter Philip Guston arriving. 

14:40Copy video clip URL Getting around by foot, horse, and occasionally by car in the colony. Cutting their own wood, weaving. Blanch teaching others to make lampshades to sell for money. 

16:35Copy video clip URL Guests that would come to visit from the city. “The famous Louise Hallstrom, the devil woman of Woodstock.”  Authors and philosophers living there. 

18:03Copy video clip URL Blanch meeting Agnes Hart when Hart was an art student and telling her to move to Woodstock: “There’s a lot of artists there!”

18:42Copy video clip URL Blanch discusses a beautiful young man who danced during one of the Maverick Festivals. Performances modeled after George Herriman cartoons. Building a boat for a performance. Painter and teacher John F. Carlson and designer Russell Wright. 

21:50Copy video clip URL Stories about the festival being shut down. A bonfire party, with dozens of bonfires attended by people in sometimes very skimpy costumes. The locals, including Blanch and other artists, objecting to the festival because of the drunken crowds of tourists. The events of the Maverick Colony creating a larger awareness of the region.

26:47Copy video clip URL Blanch getting a scholarship to join the League, which brought her East. Others doing the same. Walter “Pop” Goltz as a foundational figure in the area’s artistic community. He had moved to Woodstock when he was sick with tuberculosis, but he recovered. His letters to other teachers and artists drew dozens of artists to the area. 

28:27Copy video clip URL Not having many photographs of the colony’s history. Historian Anita Smith having a large collection of photographs. Artist Conrad Kramer being a prolific photographer of the community.

30:10Copy video clip URL Newspaper and other printing endeavors in the Maverick. 

31:20Copy video clip URL White’s differences with Ralph Whitehead group.



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