Dorsky Museum announces upcoming public programs for Eugene Speicher exhibition

The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at the State University of New York at New Paltz is pleased to announce a series of three public programs in conjunction with its exhibition Along His Own Lines: A Retrospective of New York Realist Eugene Speicher.

Called “America’s greatest living painter,” by Esquire magazine in 1936, Eugene Speicher (1883–1962) was one of the foremost realists of his generation, closely associated with George Bellows, Robert Henri, Leon Kroll, and Rockwell Kent. Along His Own Lines is the first museum show devoted to Eugene Speicher in nearly 50 years, organized by independent curator and scholar Valerie Ann Leeds.

“The Relevance of Eugene Speicher”
Saturday, April 12 at 1 pm.
Panel discussion with Valerie Ann Leeds, Tom Wolf, and Daniel Belasco at Woodstock Artists Association and Museum, 28 Tinker Street, Woodstock, N.Y.

This panel discussion will provide an overview of the life and career of Eugene Speicher, a major American realist painter who lived in Woodstock and New York City. Exhibition Curator Valerie Ann Leeds surveys his career as he rose to prominence in the 1920s and 30s and then became marginalized in art history as modernism transformed American taste. Bard College Art History Professor Tom Wolf presents on Speicher’s role in the Woodstock art colony. Dorsky Museum Curator Daniel Belasco considers Speicher’s drawings and how they relate to the art of his day. After the presentations, the panel will engage in a broader conversation about the career of Speicher as a case study for the challenges all artists face to remain relevant.

“Highlights of Eugene Speicher”
Sunday, May 4 at 2 p.m.
Gallery tour by Rachel Beaudoin, SUNY New Paltz art history student and Dorsky Museum curatorial intern, at The Dorsky Museum, 1 Hawk Drive, New Paltz, N.Y.

Rachel Beaudoin, SUNY New Paltz art history student and Dorsky Museum curatorial intern, will lead a tour through Along His Own Lines, addressing important works in Speicher’s artistic evolution, from an early portrait of Georgia O’Keeffe to late career explorations of landscape and floral still life painting.

“Remembering Eugene Speicher”
Sunday, June 1 at 2 p.m.
A Conversation with Marianne Kearney, Tony Robinson, and Friends at The Dorsky Museum, 1 Hawk Drive, New Paltz, N.Y.

Hudson Valley natives who knew Eugene Speicher as an esteemed painter and a pillar of the Woodstock art colony will recall stories of Speicher and bring to life a man who was a prominent figure in his day but who has fallen into obscurity. They will address Speicher’s influential relationship with George Bellows, the grandfather of Marianne Kearney, and Speicher as a portraitist, according to the experience of one of his sitters, Tony Robinson.

Along His Own Lines, which explores this important American artist who was also a preeminent figure in the noted Woodstock Art Colony, seek to reevaluate Speicher’s place in the canon of early twentieth-century American art. The retrospective exhibition features 39 paintings and 35 drawings and works on paper. Speicher’s life and friendships are documented with archival photographs, many borrowed from the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum, where Speicher was a founding member. The catalogue is the first to present a significant body of Speicher’s work in color. The exhibition catalogue is distributed by the State University of New York Press, and will be available for purchase online at

Institutional lenders to the exhibition include: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, National Academy Museum, Woodstock Artists Association and Museum, The Art Students League of New York, American Academy of Arts and Letters, and private collectors. Dorsky Museum advisory board member Arthur A. Anderson is lending a significant group of paintings and drawings, many of which will form the basis of a Speicher Study Collection he plans to donate to The Dorsky.

Funding for Along His Own Lines is provided by the Friends of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art and the State University of New York at New Paltz. Additional major funding for the exhibition catalogue is provided by the New York State Museum, Arthur A. Anderson, Richard Strain, and Jim and Mary Ottaway. Following its presentation at The Dorsky, Along His Own Lines travels to the New York State Museum in Albany, N.Y. where it will be on display from October 18, 2014 – March 22, 2015.

Born in Buffalo, in 1883, Eugene Speicher began his art education by taking night classes at the Albright Art School while he worked during the day. He moved to New York in 1907 and began attending the Art Students League where he studied with William Merritt Chase and Frank Vincent Du Mond. In 1909 took life classes with Robert Henri, which he found of great importance to his formative style. Through Henri, with whom he became close friends, he also became acquainted with George Bellows, with whom he also became close, and with Rockwell Kent, Edward Hopper, Guy Pène du Bois, and a coterie of realist artists who were working in New York at this time. Speicher traveled abroad in 1910 to study and learn from the works housed in Europe’s great museum collections. When he returned, he discovered Woodstock, and began to split his time between Manhattan and Woodstock, where he became an important and popular figure in the art colony.

Speicher was named an Associate of the National Academy in 1912 and an Academician in 1925. In addition to exhibiting at the National Academy, Speicher participated in independent exhibitions such as the MacDowell Club exhibitions, which were small non-juried shows originated by Henri. Following the dissolution of the MacDowell Club effort, he became involved with the New Society of Artists, another organization of similarly liberal views, which also held alternative exhibitions. From 1911, Speicher began to receive a steady stream of significant awards and his work was acquired by many major art museums for their permanent collections. He died in 1962 and the following year was given a memorial exhibition at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, where Speicher bequeathed his paintings and drawings.

The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, located at SUNY New Paltz, has more than 9,000 square feet of exhibition space distributed over six galleries. The Dorsky was officially dedicated on Oct. 20, 2001. Since then it has presented over one hundred exhibitions, including commissions, collection-based projects, and in-depth studies of artists including Robert Morris, Alice Neel, Judy Pfaff, and Carolee Schneemann, and Ushio Shinohara.

For more information about The Dorsky Museum, and its programs, visit or call (845) 257-3844.