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 Paul Vinal Winters  (1906 - 1971)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/Vermont      Known for: landscape, religious sculpture, diorama

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Paul Vinal Winters
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Paul Vinal Winters was a sculptor and painter of the Boston area and also of the State of Vermont. He was best known for his religious statues, his realistic paintings of Vermont scenery and his dioramas.

He was born in Lowell, Massachusetts on September 8, 1906. After high school in Arlington, MA he studied Art at the Massachusetts School of Art in Boston, where he chose to take all of the classes they had to offer in painting and sculpting, rather than concentrating in one area and taking all of the necessary credits for the actual degree of Master of Fine Arts. He studied under Ernest Lee Major, Cyrus E. Dallin, Raymond Averill Porter and Richard Andrews.

Winters worked his way through art school by playing gigs on his banjo, a Vega White Lady with a string band, and for a while with such groups as the original Bing Crosby and the Rover Boys. He had the honor one night of being asked by Les Rogers of the Boston Pops to play the banjo at the note on one night for a special piece called "Skyscrapers" requiring this special sound. He met Conductor Serge Koussevitzky, who asked him to do a bust of him. The bust was put in the Boston Public Library. Winters later met Arthur Fiedler, and also did a bust of him. Both busts were at one time in Symphony hall, and the one of Fiedler was printed on a program.

In Boston, Winters worked with Samuel J. Gurnsey of the Peabody Museum at Harvard, making the wax figures in the Cliff Dwellers group. Also, for the Children's Museum he did dioramas of Hopi Indians and Dinosaurs. He was noted for his dioramas and years later did dioramas for the Battle of Hubbardton and the Battle of Bennington, in Vermont.

After Art school, he worked for Caproni Brothers Galleries in Boston, where he learned to cast under Leo Toschi. He also worked at Knowles and Co., T.K. Hughes and Boston Statuary well as doing freelance work for Fine Trimming (J.M. Co), Things in Common, American Toy and Novelty, Denny Denison Paper Co., E.F. Toy Co., and Tillotson Rubber Company.

During the Depression, Winters did statuary for the WPA, as well as murals in the interior of public building in Boston. During these years, he had several teaching positions, including Rhode Island School of Design, Vesper George School of Art, Dennison House and Hayden Foundation for Boys.

In his Boston years, Winters did a great deal of religious art, including a statue of Mary with her foot on a serpent, Peter with the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, Mother Cabrini, St. Pellegrini, St. Catherine, Christ the King, St. Nicholas, Sacred Heart, Christ of Peace (Salem) etc. He did other religious art later in Vermont at the Jones Brothers, including various Christ figures, a stylized St. Francis of Assisi; Our Lady of Grace, and a statue called "Hope on the Cross".

He sculpted the statue of Portia, for Portia Law School; the miniatures of John Wesley at the Boston University School of Theology; and a base-relief of Horace Mann.

In 1939, Winters was 34 and too old to enlist so he did undercover work. During World War II, he worked first as a pipe fitter and then as a production illustrator at the Hingham Shipyard in Weymouth, MA and as a machine draftsman at Bendix Aviation in Norwood.

he left the Boston area for a while in late 1947, and went to Vermont, where he taught for a time at the Barre School of Memorial art as well as working in the granite industry in Barre for Jones Brothers, sculpting statues for monuments, as a contract sculptor. One of his monument statues includes St. Mary-of-the-Woods. She stands twelve feet and four inches in height and stands in a massive niche over to the portal of the Spanish Renaissance Chapel of St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in Terre Haute, Indiana. This statue was written up in "Monumental News Review" and in "The Barre Daily Times", September 13, 1952 (Barre, Vermont).

He painted murals in his own home and the homes of others, and continued to work under contract for Jones Brothers until a strike reduced his contract to $0. He taught for one year at Spaulding High School in Barre.

From 1952-55, Winters went back to work for the Caproni Art Galleries in Boston, and then in late '55, he went back to Vermont and worked for the Vermont Development Department for many years and eventually became the Vermont State Art Director, a position he held for seven years. During that time, he directed the artwork at the Vermont Building at the Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, MA, and ran the building for a time. He created a very large, eight panel maple-sugaring mural for the Vermont Building. This mural was later in the St. Johnsbury Museum and is today in the New England Maple Museum in Pittsford, Vermont (US route 7 North of Rutland).

Winters created many works of art in Vermont, mostly as a free-lance artist in his own studio, called The Jen-Paul Studios, combining his name with that of his wife, Jennie, who was also a talented artist. He did a statue of Samuel De Champlain, 20 feet tall of rubber, which we understood went to Fort Ticonderoga. He also did small sculptures of a Vermont Sugarhouse and a Vermont Covered Bridge, which were sold all over the state. He sculpted small pieces to be used in maple sugar candy molds, such as a covered bridge, and little pilgrims. He made a Vermont State Seal out of Rubber which was placed on the wall behind the Governor's desk.

Later, he began to paint more and to sculpt less. He taught private art classes in Montpelier at the Wood Art Gallery. He has paintings all over New England, which are mostly realistic and pastoral, but a few pieces of "modern" art, including a mural done for Montpelier High School in the mid 1960's where he taught drafting and advanced shop as his last official employment.

In 1966, Winters did life-size figures in rubber for the Calvin Coolidge oath of office room at the Eastern States Exposition. Figures were of President Coolidge, US Senator Porter H. Dale, Irwin Geiser, Secretary to the President, Col. John Coolidge and the President's wife, Grace. After the Big E., the figures went to the Coolidge Homestead at Plymouth Notch, Vermont. (See article, Times-Argus, Barre-Montpelier, VT., Saturday, September 10, 1966).

Paul Winters died on December 2, 1971 from cancer of the bladder, but before he died, he finished two more art projects that he had always wanted to do, a model of an American eagle on a plaque, and tragedy and comedy masks.

His memberships over the years included George Washington Masonic Lodge #80, Boston ACL, the Methodist Church, the Montpelier Education Association, Vermont Education Association, National Educational Association, the Industrial Arts Educators Association, and the Retired Teacher's Association. In his younger days he was a Rosicrucian. He was married twice and has eight children and many grand children.


Paul Vinal Winters

Born on September 8, 1906 in Lowell, Massachusetts
Died on December 2, 1971 in Middlesex, Vermont
Boston MA and Montpelier, Vermont
Painter of landscape, Sculptor of Religious Statuary
Realist with a few abstracts
Painted in oils and batik, sculpted in clay

Religious Statues in Boston and all around the country
Diorama of the Battle of Bennington -Bennington Battle Monument, Bennington, VT
Diorama of the Battle of Hubbardton, at the Hubbardton Battle Monument in Hubbardton, VT
Maple Sugaring Murals in the New England Maple Museum in Pittsford, Vermont (US route 7 North of Rutland)

Submitted December 2004 by Susan Smith.

Gilbert, Dorothy B., Editor, "Who's Who In American Art", Volume IV, For the years 1940-1947, American Art Annual Series.

"A Biographical Directory of Contemporary Artists", Editors, Critics, Executives, etc. published in 1947 by The American Federation of Arts, National Headquarters: 1262 New Hampshire, Ave., N.W., Washington 6, D.C., U.S.A., p. 704.

"Who's Who In American Art", Volume III. For the years 1940-1941.

"A Biographical Directory of Contemporary American Artists". Published in 1940 by The American Federation of Arts, National Headquarters: Barr Building, Washington, D.C., U.S.A. p. 511.

'Art in Stone', P. 19 ( I have the article but not the date and year)
"Times-Argus", Barre, VT. Sept. 10, 1968, "Oath of Office Room"

"The Sentinel", Barre, Vermont, November 10, 1950.
Bendix Aviation Log (The Bendix Log, Volume III, No. 9, Norwood, MA., April, 1945).

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