Thursday, April 14, 2011

Welcome to the Great Neck Library's Local History Blog

As we add new and interesting materials to the Local History Collection at the library, we will post entries on this blog about them.  For instance . . .

Pursuant to a patron request for information on an old Kings Point estate, we discovered that Hamilton Easter Field (1873–1922), a prominent artist, patron of the arts, gallery owner, arts publisher, and supporter of early American modernism, once lived in Great Neck.  Hamilton Easter Field lived with his parents and his brother, Herbert Haviland Field, in a large, waterfront estate called Ardsley (possibly spelled Ardesley), which sat at the end of Red Brook Road.  The family lived at Ardsley between the 1890’s and 1910’s (we have yet to determine exact dates for their residence in Great Neck).  Hamilton's parents, Aaron Field and Lydia Seaman Haviland Field were prominent Quakers.  Aaron Field could trace his family tree in the New World back to Robert Field, who came from York England to Massachusetts in 1630.  Works by Hamilton Easter Field are in the collection of The Brooklyn Museum (see 2nd link below). The Hamilton Easter Field Art Foundation Collection, which contains works created and collected by Mr. Field, is kept at The Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine (see 1st link below).  Hamilton Easter Field is perhaps best remembered today as an early supporter of the American modernist movement.  He wrote extensively about the movement, collected the work of other early American modernists, showed their work, arranged shows for them, and generally helped them out, finding them work and patrons, and even housing and feeding them.

The Hamilton Easter Field Art Foundation Collection at The Portland Museum of Art

Hamilton Easter Field works in the Brooklyn Museum 

Hamilton Easter Field, Self-Portrait, circa 1898, oil on panel, 24" x 18", in the The Hamilton Easter Field Art Foundation Collection, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine.

1 comment:

  1. A good place to muse on oil painting in Western art history online, I find, is at this site at There is a huge archive of digital images of artwork now housed in art museums around the world.
    The company makes canvas prints and hand-painted, oil painting reproductions to order, from your selection of images from this big archives.
    It's some resource for art lovers and historians. There are many images of works by famous artists of the past that I have never seen.
    From their home page at, you can browse by the hundreds of artists there, movements in art, art media, historical timeline and even by subject matter. There is much biographical information about the artists.
    I am always fascinated by the way the 19th century English landscape painter, William Turner, used layers of luminous oil paint to recreate his blazing landscapes. Clicking , I find his paintings indexed in a floating 3D gallery at the site.