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Yearly Archives: 2019

Willis Fahnstock [1862-1928]

[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]

FAHNSTOCK, Willis Chalmers (18621928)

Western Landscape

ca1920

watercolor on paper / 6.5 inches by 10.5 inches

Elias Fahnstock and his son Dr Rudyard Fahnstock are the better known members of that early Fennimore county family. Less familiar is the younger brother Willis, who spent little time in the community. Willis studied briefly at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and then settled at the old homestead outside New Castle, Delaware. This painting of about 1920 dates from a rare trip to Iowa – and beyond, apparently – late in Willis’s life.

It was a gift from Dr Rudyard Fahnstock, MD.

Fred S. Haines [1879-1960]

[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]

HAINES, Frederick Stanley (1879–1960)

“The Golden Hour”

ca1930-1940

etching and aquatint / 9 inches by 12 inches

Frederick Stanley Haines, or more commonly Fred S. Haines, was a Canadian artist who produced both prints and paintings, primarily landscapes. Sadly “The Golden Hour” was damaged some time during its life, trimmed, apparently, to fit an existing frame; too much attention is taken by the tree trunk while the overstory is lost. Yet, the composition is classic, practically a “golden section”, with subtleties of color enhanced on closer inspection by intricate line patters akin to the fingerprint. For reasons of its color palette, we date it closer to 1930.

Here is another example of Haines’ skill as a painter (not in our collection):

fred s haines.jpg

Horse Power

Until well after the First World War, Agincourt’s motive power was the horse. I rode a horse once. Once was enough.

Horses are dignified creatures, majestic even, intelligent helpmates, partners in the advance of civilization. From the Gates of Thermopylae (the “hot gates”) to the Golden ones, humankind has depended upon the horse in the battlefield of war and plowing peacetime fields of grain.

peter markiewicz.jpgMy great-grandfather Peter Markiewicz was a teamster in Lemont, Illinois. His occupation kept its name long after horses were no longer involved. Moving things about town, back and forth from the Illinois Central depot at the foot of State Street across town and into the hinterlands, Peter hauled personal goods and the town’s early industrial output in his wagons.¹ Somewhere I’ve seen a posed photograph of him and a young co-worker seated on a large wagon hitched to two two enormous draft horses, possibly for advertising purposes; I’ll bet the horses had names. It’s good to know I come from that kind of stock. Could it also be the source of my admiration for the quiet strength of horses like his? And so it is that Agincourt has had its counterparts, its share of those sinewed bodies — some with two legs, some with four.

equus&coA real photo postcard view of Allen & Son has been my inspiration for Agincourt’s livery, Equus & Co., situated in the 100 block of SW Second Street. With improved photoshop skills, I may be able to alter that signage and convince you such a place once existed.

In reality (a word I use sparingly), Allen & Son once stood in San Bernardino, California and was the subject of a 1949 feature article in that city’s newspaper. The value of that article is the outline of its business history, the transition from horse to auto, the introduction of automotive repair, other adaptations to the new reality.

A better print of this will tell me more and help to flesh out a plausible parallel.

Oh, and The History Quill website may help me present the contributions of horses with greater authenticity.

¹ Peter had a brief public career as commissioner of highways for Lemont in 1905. You can read about it here. Roads were something more than a passing interest for him, obviously.

George Lytle Beam [1868-1935]

[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]

BEAM, George Lytle (1868–1935)

“Cliff Palace Ruins — Mesa Verde National Park”

ca1909

silver gelatine photographic print / 7 15/16 inches x 10 1/16 inches (image)

George Lytle Beam was born May 18, 1868 in New Paris, Ohio. In 1873 his family moved to Lawrence, Kansas where he grew up and went to school. During these early years his mother and two siblings died. When he was twenty-one years old he established himself as a used foreign and domestic postage stamps dealer. He and his father moved to Denver, Colorado around 1890.

In Denver Beam worked for Chain Hardy & Co. as a stenographer, but soon there after he began working in that capacity for the Chief Storekeeper and Purchasing Agent of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad until 1893. In 1894 he became a secretary to Shadrach K. Hooper (the general passenger and ticket agent) for the Rio Grand. George was skilled with photography and was well established as the Rio Grande company photographer by 1905 when he photographed President Theodore Roosevelt in the Royal Gorge. He became a well known, respected photographer, taking photographs for the Denver & Rio Grande company along with other scenic views of the Western United States. At the age of 62 he married Fay L. Kuellmer in Colorado Springs on June 7, 1930.

George L. Beam died March 16, 1935 at the age of 66 in Denver and was buried in Lawrence, Kansas.

The photograph was acquired by the Tennant family during their 1912 trip to New Mexico. It is on long-term loan from the Arts & Crafts Society which currently occupies Anson Tennant’s former studio-residence.

Watanabe Seitei [1851-1918]

[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]

WATANABE Seitei (Shotei) (1851–1918)

“Starling and Karasu-uri”

ca1900

five-color woodcut / 7 5/8 inches by 11 3/4 inches (image) / unnumbered edition

Watanabe was among the first Japanese artists to visit the West, initially to Paris and then the United States. “Karasu-uri” (烏瓜) is Japanese for a crow’s gourd or what in English is a snake gourd.

This uneditioned print was a bequest from the estate of Tadao Ito.

Frank Crawford Penfold [1849-1921]

[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]

PENFOLD, Frank (Francis) Crawford (1849-1921)

Portrait of a Man / The Advocat

ca1890

oil on canvas / 20 inches by 14 inches

Frank Penfold was the son of William Penfold and was brought up in Lockport, New York. Trained under his father and having successfully exhibited two paintings at a Buffalo Society of Artists exhibition, Penfold emigrated to France, settling in Pont-Aven in Brittany, among a growing colony of anglophonic artists. He also attended the Académie Julian in Paris and became known for genre paintings and portraits.

For two decades, Penfold commuted between France and Buffalo, NY. But distraught by the 1915 death of his wife Marie Jeanne Gloanec (a very Breton name), Penfold drowned himself on 2 April 1921.

There have been several credible proposals for the subject of this handsome painting but it is commonly referred to as “The Advocat”, a 19th century French title for a lawyer.

François-Louis Schmied [1873-1941]

[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]

SCHMIED, François-Louis (1873–1941; Swiss–French)

“Jean Monnier”

ca1910

color woodcut with gold leaf / 5.75 inches by 7.25 inches (image) / unnumbered edition

Swiss-born, F. L. Schmied became a naturalized French citizen before being exiled to Morocco, where he died. Schmied was a multi-talented artist working as a painter, wood engraver, printer, editor, illustrator, and bookbinder. His illustrated books are highly collectible and became the subject of a study published by the Book Club of California in a limited edition by Ward Ritchie.

This image of Jean Monnier is unexplained: too large for a bookplate; too small for a poster. “Domaine Jean Monnier & Fils” continues today as a provider of French wines, which is how he may have been connected to the Sobieski family, in-laws of Kurt Bernhard.