William Arlt's Painting, "Flowers," to be Conserved

The Historical Society of Woodstock's goal of conserving its extensive fine art collection received a boost this month when the Historical Society was awarded a grant of $2,750 to conserve works on paper. The grant, from New York State Council on the Arts and the Greater Hudson Heritage Network's Conservation Grant Program, will be used to restore the still life in gouache, Flowers, by William H. Arlt (1868-1952). The conservator will be Sarah Dove Conservation.

After Flowers has been restored, it will be displayed at the Historical Society's Eames House Museum in an exhibit next year that will include three other conserved works from the Fine Art Collection – Self Portrait by Joseph Pollet, Portrait of Hervey White by Arnold Blanch, Autumn Landscape by Edmund Rolfe – and several more that may be restored in the future.

Arlt was the subject of the 2022 Historical Society exhibit, “Making Woodstock Home, artist William Arlt” which featured the life and work of this early 20th century Woodstock artist whose descendants reside in the village to this day. Arriving in America in 1882 at age 14, with his parents and brother, William Arlt knew he was an artist early, and quickly strove to make it a reality. His career was launched in textile designing, and at this he excelled. But his passion was in landscape, portrait and especially floral works. Like many arrivals in the early 20th century, he found beauty all around him in the Catskill Mountains, and endeavored to portray it. Woodstock became the ideal setting for his art, and it soon became his home. The exhibit displayed the wide variety of Arlt's artistic palette, and tracked his life in Woodstock with his family, including grandson Lewis Arlt, Vice-President of the Historical Society's Board of Directors.

The public enjoyed this show with its combination of paintings, creative works, photographs and historical context. William H. Arlt was an accomplished artist and teacher. The retrospective comprised artwork gathered from a diaspora of family members and was an overdue recognition of a fine artist who has remained beneath the public radar because he resisted self promotion. Arlt studied with Birge Harrison and John Carlson and taught at the Woodstock School of Landscape Painting.

The Greater Hudson Heritage Network and the New York State Council on the Arts are awarding $191,886 in conservation treatment grants to 32 organizations located in 16 New York counties in 2022. Conservation Treatment Grants fund professional conservation to stabilize and preserve historical objects and works of art in New York museums, history centers, and cultural organizations. Organizational operating budgets of 2022's grant recipients ranged from $3,225 to $25 million, GHHN Executive Director Priscilla Brendler said in a written statement.++