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Pakatakan Artist Colony featured in artwork by Margaret Leveson

You are cordially invited to the opening reception of Margaret Leveson's paintings featuring some of the buildings in this wonderful and historic Pakatakan Arts colony on Saturday, August 16th from 3-5 pm at the Catskill Center's Erpf Gallery on Rt. 28 in Arkville.

The Pakatakan Art Colony was a turn-of-the-century gathering of artists who spent time in the small hamlet of Arkville, NY. The colony began prior to 1886 when a prominent landscape painter from New York City, J. Francis Murphy, found accommodations in Arkville and urged Peter Hoffman, a local businessman and proprietor of the house where he boarded, to build a hotel, which today is called The Pakatakan Hotel. Murphy brought his painter friends to visit the area. In 1887 Alexander H. Wyant arrived here from the Adirondacks. Others regular visitors were Parker Mann, E. Loyal Field, Frank Russell Green, H.D. Kruseman Van Elten, George Smillie, Walter Clark, Arthur Parton, Ernest C. Rost, and J. Woodhull Adams.

Many artists stayed in the hotel, but some purchased property and built their own studios. J. Francis Murphy and Adah Murphy built their first one-story shingle style studio in 1887. The artists did not want their houses to dominate nature but attempted to blend them with the rounded tree-covered mountains of the Catskills. What were built on a grand scale where the artists' studios, with windows often rising two stories in height and facing north to bring in the light. The artists of the Pakatakan colony were different from their predecessors, the Hudson River School. Their landscapes tended to be more interpretive than descriptive. They preferred intimate scenes often of dawn or dusk with toned atmospheric views and the places they painted were more generalized than recognizable locations. Their concerns were to produce an art expressive of mood and insights into the human spirit.

Submitted: 08/05/08
Article By: Catskill Center for Conservation & Development