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Darbie’s Dad’s Paintings

January 26, 2011

A few years back I started following the New York local band, Bishop Allen. I went to almost every one of their monthly EP release shows at Pianos back in 2006. My friend Amelia and I actually have a standing date to see Bishop Allen when they play NY. It’s an ode to the olden days – when we stayed out past midnight on a Friday night.

Checking out the band’s website a few months ago I learned, much to my surprise, that the lead singer had moved upstate with his missus. And much to my delight, the missus, Darbie, is keeping a lovely blog called Field Guide 35 about their adventures living in Kingston, NY.

Today Darbie is sharing the story of her Sentimental Salvage; her dad’s old paintings.

My parents met at art school in the early 1960s. My mom was a textile design major and my dad, a painting major. They got married in 1963 and decided to start an art and framing business together that same year. They opened their first store (Gate House Galleries) in Wyckoff, NJ in the fall of 1963.

Now, more than 45 years later, their business has grown to include several other stores and an art conservation laboratory where my dad spends his workdays. But my mom still manages the store in Wyckoff. The very same one they opened all those years ago. And it was in the basement of that store that I recently found a treasure trove of my dad’s old paintings.

Since my husband and I had just moved from a tiny railroad apartment in Brooklyn into a big ol’ three-floor Victorian upstate we certainly had wall space to fill. What a better time to stumble upon a never ending cache of crazy vintage artwork? Most of the pieces I ended up taking are from the early seventies. Specifically from ’71 to ’73. My dad was doing some social commentary art about Vietnam war veterans and the civil rights movement. The pieces are hysterically period and quirky in all the right ways. I seriously love them! I mean…the color palette, the super seventies style, the fact that they were FREE, and that I rescued them from a damp, dark basement…and that my dad painted them when he was my age! How awesome is that?!

Pretty much everybody who comes into our house asks about them. They are definitely statement pieces. And my dad is thrilled to see them out in the world. He said he’s never seen the big round piece look better. It really does seem like it was made for that spot in our stairwell. How kismet!

My favorite part is how at home those paintings look in Darbie’s grand, old Victorian. Stain glass windows and 70’s style? Yes ma’am! It’s a great story and a beautiful find. Thanks so much Darbie!


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