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 Leroy Reynolds Woodard  (1903 - 1985)

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Lived/Active: New Hampshire/Massachusetts      Known for: portrait and landscape painting, etching, commercial art

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Leroy Reynolds Woodard
An example of work by Leroy Reynolds Woodard
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Leroy R. Woodard was born April 16, 1903 in Brockton, MA, the first son of Charles F. and Eva (Reynolds) Woodard. He attended Brockton Schools and the Museum of Fine Arts School in Boston, MA, studying with Philip Lesley Hale.
 
An active man, Woodard went to the Appalachian Mountain Club's Pinkham Notch Camp in the winter of 1927 and worked at Carter, Lonesome, and Greenleaf Huts. Known for his culinary skills, his Spaghetti Bolognese was a hit with the hikers.
 
On November 2, 1933, he sailed on the SS General von Steuben and landed in Bremen, Germany on November 12, 1933. He traveled through Munich and Bavaria, before going to Florence.  Leroy visited Rome and was fascinated by the immense ancient structures in the city; he then left for Paris and London. He also spent some time sketching and painting in Devon and Cornwall. A lifelong hankering for Caerphilly cheese stemmed from this experience in the West of England. He embarked for New York on the SS Bremen, landing on June 28, 1934.
 
Woodard established an art studio in the Old Town Hall attic in Randolph, NH, which looked out over Mt. Washington and the Presidential Range. Here he met and later married the portrait artist Margaret Arnold of Cambridge, who summered in Randolph.
 
His artistic legacy lives on in Randolph, NH where he was also active in the Randolph Mountain Club. He designed a travel brochure for the town and the original Randolph highway sign. He made RMC signs for Crag Camp and the Perch and painted a round watercolor of Madison and Adams for the RMC’s membership patch that is used for as the club’s logo and displayed on their website. A version of the same design graces RMC-T-shirts.

He designed leaflets for the AMC and calendars for the Mt. Crescent House as well as making etchings and paintings. The New England Ski Museum has published reproductions of his 1938 Tuckerman Ravine painting as a post card and on the cover of Leff Leich’s Over the Headwall: A Short History of Skiing in Tuckerman Ravine. Woodard's original paintings of Tuckerman Ravine and Huntington Ravine, painted from the top of the old Wildcat trail, would be the pride of any Northeast ski painting collector specializing in period art from the 1930's.
 
His faithful companion, Tom, a German shepherd, and all his art gear had to be left with his brother, Rod, when Leroy was called to serve in the Army in 1942. Initially, he was stationed at Camp Pickett, Virginia to train in the Medical Replacement Unit as a field and hospital technician. On October 2, 1942 he was sent to Fort Devens, and was taken out of the Medical training classes and asked to paint signs which Leroy said in a letter home written December 28, 1942, “This isn’t my idea of winning the war but if these things have to be done, why I will do this.”

Among some of his assignments were to make signs for a war bond drive, a plaque to be awarded for the best barracks at inspection time, and diagrams and signs for the hospital. He also did portrait sketches of the men and had a long list of orders. “It amazed them that anyone can just look at a person and then make a likeness”, he wrote in a January 19, 1943 letter to his brother, Rod.
 
Upon his medical discharge from the military on April 14, 1943, he married Margaret Holmes Arnold on May 1, 1943, and took up employment as a Technical Illustrator for General Electric in Boston.
 
Many people will remember waiting in anticipation for a woodblock print, a linoleum block print or an etched Christmas card, which he created each year.

Leroy Woodard had numerous art exhibitions of his paintings and etchings of the White Mountains. Notably his works, including a wood cut Mount Wildcat,  were featured in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for their 75th Anniversary Exhibit in 1951. A one-man show of his work was held at the Appalachian Mountain Club Headquarters, at 5 Joy Street, Boston, MA from March 11-30, 1929. He had other exhibitions, notably, at the Ravine House, Randolph, NH; the Development Commission, Concord, NH; the family Counseling Service, Wayland, MA; the Medical Center, Wayland, MA; and the Currier Art Gallery, Manchester, NH. In later years, he received commissions from the Audubon Society Natural History Museum in Weston, MA.
 
Leroy had a dry sense of humor which was often a comment on some situation. He often called things “curious”.

Leroy R. Woodard died September 9, 1985 in Wayland, MA. He is survived by his daughter, Sandra (Woodard) Cathey and family of Middlesex, VT.
 

Submitted by Doug Nelson, Chairman of the Collections Committee, Museum of the White Mountains with Special Thanks to Frances Richardson, niece of the artist.


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following article, submitted by Doug A. Nelson, is from the Christian Science Monitor, February 14, 1930. 

Young Artist Goes to Mountains to Gain Bold, Modernistic Touch

      Leroy Reynolds Woodard Lives in Shelter at Foot of Mount Washington –
                              Achieves Courageous Color Schemes


Living in a little log cabin at the foot of Mount Washington in the White Mountains, where the wind sweeps down from snow-covered slopes 5000 feet above, a young artist is carving a future for himself.  He is Leroy Reynolds Woodard, son of Charles F. Woodard, a Brockton, Mass., manufacturer.  He has made is home, for the time being, in the Pinkham Notch shelter of the Appalachian Mountain Club.

For several years he has lived in pioneer fashion right in the hills, summer and winter, partly because he wished to feel that he was making his art support him, but chiefly because he wished to become so familiar with the mountains in their continually changing moods and colors that painting them would be second nature.

And, for a young man, he has already achieved considerable success.  An exhibit of his work last winter at the clubhouse of the Appalachian Mountain Club, Boston, brought him sufficient revenue to keep him going, together with what he could earn in the hills, until this winter, when he hopes to exhibit again either in New York or Boston.

After graduating from the Brockton public schools, he attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for seven years, leaving the school in 1927.  His first instructor was Leslie Thompson, the portrait painter.  He studied with Philip L. Hale in life drawing and received advanced training from Frederick Bosley.  He also studied modeling under Charles Grafly for three years, and liked it.

During his school years he painted marine landscapes at Cape Ann, Rockport and Gloucester, but unlike most artists who are fond of the sea, he went to the mountains to do his real work.  There he learned to handle color with a bold, modernistic touch, yet without losing a fine sense of harmony.  In using pure color almost entirely he has achieved some startling results, yet, as a rule, his courageous color schemes do not lose a sense of the natural.  They seem to be merely the color of nature analyzed and intensified.

During the summer of 1927 Mr. Woodard got a job in the A.M.C. hut in Pinkham Notch.  There, in the heart of the mountains, he found opportunity at times to work.  The next winter he went back to school for a few more courses, but the next summer obtained the position of hut master in Carter Notch.  Then he spent last winter as star boarder in the Pinkham Notch camp, where he is again wintering.  

Although Mr. Woodard’s usual medium of expression is oils, he spent last summer in acquiring skill in the technique of water colors.  Brilliance of tone and color is his strong point, and it was largely because of this that his exhibition last winter was successful.  It was arranged through Franklin Jordan, art councilor of the mountain club.

“When I paint I try not to see color as it actually is,” the artist said in explaining his theory.  “In imagination I step the color up several notches and then work out a scheme in harmony which recreates the feeling of the scene I am painting.  I use no earth color except a little yellow ochre.

“Painting mountains, of course, has been my chief work for the last several years. To most people they look like such solid things—yet probably they are as subtle and elusive as any type of landscape—their changes in color and tone are so rapid, just as rapid as on the ocean or at the shore.  To get harmonized effects one must work very rapidly.

“Very few artists get up into the mountains and live with them as I have.  Even when one learns to know them very well it is difficult to paint them—there is so much of them that it is easy to become confused and difficult to simplify and get one aspect.”

   


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