"Larchmont Yacht Club"“Larchmont Yacht Club,” shows a yachting scene from the 1930s when Larchmont was home to comfortable upper middle class business types who commuted to their work in New York and sailed on Long Island Sound during the weekends, apparently unaffected by the Depression!
Two murals in the Larchmont, New York Public Library were painted under the auspices of the WPA by Thomas H. Donnelly (1893-1971), an American scene painter, who lived in nearby Valhalla, New York and was known for his landscapes and winter scenes.
The murals that have hung for the last 73 years in the Larchmont Public Library were commissioned by the Larchmont Women’s Club. “The Manor House” depicts Larchmont’s oldest building and one which gave this affluent village, Larchmont Manor, now a suburb of New York City, its name. The farmhouse, originally built by New York City attorney Peter Jay Munro in 1797, was remodeled into an elegant mansion in the mid-1800s by its new owner, Edward Knight Collins, a world-famous steamship tycoon at a time when Larchmont was the summer watering place for the wealthy from New York. It is this mansion that is depicted in the mural. The second mural, “Larchmont Yacht Club,” shows a yachting scene from the 1930s when Larchmont was home to comfortable upper middle class business types who commuted to their work in New York and sailed on Long Island Sound during the weekends, apparently unaffected by the Depression!
In 2012 the library’s staff noticed that these murals desperately needed cleaning and restoration. Funds were raised for their restoration which was done by West Lake Conservators, an upstate New York firm. Layers of heavy grime from once working fireplaces above which the paintings had hung were removed and scratches and paint drips repaired.
Another Donnelly mural “End of Winter” was hung in the White House and another winter scene, “Winter Landscape,” hangs in the library at Dartmouth College. He also painted murals for post offices in Mt. Kisco, NY; Ridgefield Park, NJ; Attica, NY; and Clyde, NY. His paintings were exhibited, among other places, at the Corcoran Gallery, the Carnegie Institution, the Berkshire Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the Portland Art Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Three of his paintings, including the “End of Winter” are in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s permanent collection.
Work on the project began ca. 1940.
Larchmont Public Library on site brochure; Larchmont Historical Society; Smithsonian American Art Museum http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artwork/?id=6956
Project originally submitted by Sheila D. Collins on January 22, 2014.
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