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POSTED DECEMBER 7, 2006    Print this Story 

Past Masters of Blowing Rock
Blowing Rock Frameworks Features Three Historic Painters

By Jeff Eason

When art scholars of the future study 20th century painting in Blowing Rock, they will no doubt say that the most influential painters of that period were Elliot Daingerfield, Philip Moose and Ed Szmyd.

Elliott Daingerfield’s Impressionist painting “After the Milking,” circa 1910.

Philip Moose’s “Live Oaks.”

Philip Moose’s “Haystacks, N.C.

Ed Szmyd’s “Greenhouse.”

Philip Moose’s “Lagoon Morrea.”

Philip Moose’s “Coast of Yugoslavia.”

Elliot Dangerfield

Edward Szmyd

Philip Moose

Daingerfield was an artistic force to be reckoned with at the beginning of the century and his ambitious impressionist paintings were influenced by the French masters. Moose, the World War II veteran and world traveler, used his art in the middle of the century as one would use a camera or diary, recording images of the places he visited and the people he met. Szmyd, often called the “modern master of light and shadow,” ended the century with beautiful landscapes and florals that captured the very essence of his subjects’ color and radiance.

Now all three of these important Blowing Rock artists are part of an exhibit and sale at Blowing Rock Frameworks and Gallery. The exhibit will be on display at the gallery from now through the Christmas holidays.

“All three of these artists have been popular for the long haul,” said Tim Miller, owner and curator of Blowing Rock Frameworks. “Some of Elliott Daingerfield’s paintings have recently sold for between $100,000 and $200,00. The market has gone that high because of his popularity and consistently high quality.”

The new exhibit features only one Daingerfield painting, but it’s a doozy. “After the Milking” dates from around 1910 and is one of Daingerfield’s largest canvases.

“No one seems to know where it was originally painted,” said Miller of the farm scene in “After the Milking.” “It had been in the same family since before World War Two. It has been passed down through several generations and now it is for sale.” Miller added that the painting has had some minor restoration and is in its original frame, a carved wooden behemoth that weighs nearly 100 pounds.

Elliott Daingerfield (1859-1932)

Elliott Daingerfield is one of western North Carolina’s most important links to a bygone era of art and history. He was born in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia in 1859 but his family moved to Fayetteville, North Carolina at the onset of The Civil War when his father took the job as commander of the Confederate Armory there. By his mid-twenties he was already enjoying a successful career as a painter and in 1886 he began spending his summers in Blowing Rock. His first home in the village sat on a lot on the corner of what is now Main Street and Chestnut Drive.

The death of his wife, Roberta Strange French Daingerfield, and baby in childbirth in 1891, followed by the death of his friend and artistic mentor George Inness in 1894, devastated the artist and led him toward religious and symbolist themes in his paintings.

Highlights from Daingerfield’s career include a 1902 “commission of the decade” to paint murals for the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in New York and a 1910 commission from the Santa Fe Railroad to create large paintings for display in railway stations designed to encourage people to tour the western United States. His works hang in the Metropolitan Museum, The National Gallery, the Mint Museum of Art and many other public and private collections.

The Morris Museum in Augusta, Georgia is home to the largest collection of his works.

Daingerfield’s three Blowing Rock homes, the Edgewood Cottage (1891), Windwood (1900), and Westglow (1916) have survived the years and are still in use.

Philip Moose (1921-2001)

Blowing Rock resident Philip Moose was a world traveler, Army veteran of WWII, Pulitzer Prize recipient and prolific painter. But folks who knew him say that he rarely spoke of his achievements, preferring instead to listen to others.

Moose was born in 1921 in the North Carolina textile town of Newton. His aptitude for art was apparent at an early age and he later claimed that he knew he wanted to be a painter when he was ten years old. In 1940 Moose was awarded a fellowship to the National Academy of Design and spent the following two summers as a student at the L.C. Tiffany Foundation in Oyster Bay, New York. In September 1942, Moose joined the U.S. Army and worked in England during the war as a radar and radio mechanic.

After the war Moose attended Columbia University and received the Pulitzer Prize for Art in 1948. His love for traveling, first ignited during WWII, continued and he studied in Germany, Spain, Portugal, France and Italy.

Later, he taught art at Queens College in Charlotte from 1956 to 1967. In 1958 he bought some property south of Blowing Rock and built a studio and home there in a neighborhood that would later be known as Artists Alley.

Ed Szmyd (1930-2004)

Like Philip Moose, Ed Szmyd knew that he would have a career in art from an early age. In this case it was when Szmyd won first prize in a community art exhibition when he was nine in Pennsylvania. Later, he showed so much promise as an artist that by high school his teachers “vied for the privilege of buying his drawings, watercolors and oil paintings.”

As a young adult, Szmyd moved to Florida and made his living as a commercial artist while honing his skills as a fine artist and painter at nights and on weekends. It was during this time in Florida that Szmyd became fairly obsessed with raising orchids and at one point had to apply for a permit because of the over 4,000 orchids he was raising. One of his paintings from this time period, “Greenhouse” is currently part of the Blowing Rock Frameworks and Gallery exhibit and sale.

In 1985 Szmyd moved to Blowing Rock, set up a house and painting studio, and remained their for the rest of his life, quietly creating magnificent florals, still lifes and landscapes that earned him the reputation as “the modern master of light and shadow.” Despite his prolific painting habits, Szmyd’s oil canvases show a remarkable attention to detail, and Szmyd often worked several at one time. During his lifetime, Szmyd’s work was represented by only two galleries: Blowing Rock Frameworks and another gallery in Carmel, California.

Other Artists

For the holiday season, Blowing Rock Frameworks and Gallery will also feature paintings for sale by local and regional artists such as Raymond Chorneau, Pat Pilkington, Robert Brown, Wes Waugh, Nancy Brittelle, Paul deMarrais, George Kosinski, Joana Wardell, Norma Murphy and others.

For more information, visit Blowing Rock Frameworks and Gallery at 7539 Valley Blvd. (next to Food Lion), call the gallery at (828) 295-0041, or visit them online at


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