90th Year Revival of Woodstock’s Blue Dome Fraternity


In the early years of the Woodstock Art Colony circa 1916 two adventurous women, after studying art in France decided to sponsor (then scandalous) plein air painting workshops – posing nude models in the outdoors. Both men and women were encouraged to pose and paint resulting in both controversy and fine works of art.

Dewing Woodward who was rich and related to Cornelius Vanderbilt and her life companion Louise Johnson created an enclave of progressivism at their home, Red Roofs, where a lifestyle of “continental ease” contrasted starkly with their rural neighbors who farmed land and listened to flinty church sermons on Sunday mornings.

To commemorate the 90th anniversary of this small but important chapter in Woodstock art history, the James Cox Gallery sponsored a Blue Dome Fraternity revival weekend.  Artists from New York, the Hudson Valley and Woodstock gathered to paint various tableaux that were staged across the gallery’s sylvan grounds.  Picnics sur l’herbe, stream bathing, and garden arabesques were each staffed with live models and posed by an experienced stylist.

The weekend produced over ninety paintings that were exhibited at the gallery through the month of July.

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