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Monday, July 28, 2008

As promised, a posting about my Uncle Tom Durant's paintings

My cousin Anna and I grew up with Uncle Tom's paintings adorning the walls of their Greenwich Village apartment. Anna of course lived there, and I visited there often.

Uncle Tom grew up on a farm or property on the outskirts of Chicago during the depression. His father's lineage was French. I believe his father was blind in his old age. Uncle Tom met my Aunt Joan in Detroit where they were both active in helping auto plants to unionize. After the war, they found an apartment on the top floor of an old brownstone in Greenwich Village (my aunt was from New York City, the Bronx) - and they have lived there ever since. Uncle Tom has a passion for gardening from his midwestern roots and I've enjoyed many a lunch on my aunt and uncle's roof garden with the sky scrapers towering all around us. One of us would carry the water, the wine, the cheese, the bread, and the condiments up the little ladder and hand it to the person already on the roof. My aunt and uncle's brownstone also featured a charming little exterior iron grill window seat, accessible from their bedroom window where one could enjoy a quiet cup of coffee or read. The noise of 14th street greatly diminished toward the back of the apartment. Sadly the roof garden is no more, because my uncle also has failing vision.

I believe I'm correct in saying that Uncle Tom's paintings were part of the Abstract Expressionist movement. I remember he introduced me to abstract painting when I was a child. His paintings have been described as dreamlike, often of trees, and fields, and woods, and rivers - and people frolicking in the water. The colors were greens and blues, sunlight and shadow. He once told me Illinois was so flat and dry, that trees and shade were valued and considered an oasis.

Here are a couple of pictures from his Gallery Exhibit in 1965.

I will also post a few pictures I have taken in more recent years. I don't remember this one as a child - Uncle Tom told me it was a shotgun wedding. Hee.

And this one hanging above my grandmother's clock ...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Junebug, I loved seeing your memories of the Durant paintings. Morris Weisenthal was my father, and today June 21 2017 would have been his 100 birthday! I searched "Morris Gallery Waverly" to see what came up and ....your wonderful post. I just texted the link to my sister in Ohio. I remember Durants in our house and his gallery. They were beautiful dreamy things I loved as a kid and still do. I think my mom still has a few. Thanks for the memories. I too have a German Shepherd...Rocket is 8.5 now

(I will finish reading your post later)

David Weisenthal in Phoenix