Dana Garber Applestein

Interviewee:  Dana Garber Applestein, occasionally joined by her sister Tanis Garber Shaw
Date of birth/age at interview:  Dana unknown, Tanis 1945 or 1946/61 or 62
Occasion:  presentation on Daniel Garber sponsored by the Michener Art Museum
Presentation date:  June 15, 2007
Presentation location:  Daniel Garber’s studio at his home in Cuttalossa; Suzanne and Bromley Lowe owners at that time
Presentation length:  1 hour, 30 minutes
Time span discussed:  Garber’s lifetime and continuing until 2007

Summary:  This talk contains family stories of Daniel Garber’s personality, life at home, his wife May, work techniques, teaching work, and several specific paintings. The video contains several black and white photos of Garber working and a movie clip of him at home shepherding his sheep.


Time markers
00:00:12 – welcome and Introduction by a staff member of Michener Art Museum
00:01:00 – the studio in Daniel’s time; windows, curtains, light; South Room Green Street painting
00:01:50 – controlling the light; mirror technique’s implications, used by Garber
00:03:30 – Mother and Son painting; family’s pastimes: croquet, chess, bridge; connections to several paintings
00:04:30 – description of Daniel’s personality in the family and while painting; loving, happy man
00:06:00 – how Daniel edited his work, about 750 paintings remain; how he destroyed paintings he did not like
00:07:40 – Daniel’s pick-up truck; his outdoor painting
00:08:40 – May judging his work; her education as an illustration student of Howard Pyle; her pen and ink work; and her role as his critique and touchstone
00:10:00 – Dana’s talk not planned, memory to memory; Daniel a “tyrant of an instructor”; Dana’s experiences of learning from her grandfather
00:11:50 – Dana mimics her grandfather’s facial expressions and the way he critiqued her art work
00:12:50 – Daniel a drawing master at the Academy
00:13:40 – more about Dana’s lessons with Daniel
00:15:14 – Academy legends of Daniel
00:16:00 – how Dana learned Daniel thought she drew “wonderfully well”
00:17:00 – Dana painting and her use of color; Daniel’s teaching “showing by example”
00:19:20 – the shop and props, how to care for the palette properly
00:21:15 – Cuttalossa home called “The Glen”; Garber’s sense of beauty; Lowe’s tending of the property
00:23:05 – painting titled Mending; Garber’s declining health
00:25:05 – vivid description of Daniel’s death at home by Tanis; local doctor Ken Lieby called; grandmother May’s shocked reaction and her eventual decline into her 90s.
00:28:50 – stories of visiting students helping with the farm; the sheep, Garber’s caring for them (short black and white movie of sheep inserted); the idyllic life in the valley
00:32:40 – Daniel’s studio, more descriptions and detail
00:34:08 – black and white photo of cottage on property; story of sculptor Albert Laessle visiting and his work Billy, an iconic statue of a goat in Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia
00:37:00 – stories of Leopold Stokowski and his wife; mention of painting of Fern Coppedge’s mother in a gray dress
00:39:20 – places where Daniel painted, rare preliminary sketching for his paintings
00:40:00 – time of day for perfect light for painting; only painted when light correct; some paintings took three to four years as Garber waited for next season and same scene to return
00:41:15 – Edward Redfield a “great friend”; Redfield’s technique compared to Daniel’s
00:43:30 – Garber painted on scene, did not like winter; did many of his etchings in winter
00:44:00 – painting of Daniel’s daughter Tanis discussed
00:45:25 – painting furniture, buying furniture in old barns
00:49:00 – meeting famous people; story of playing with Ralph Bunche’s son
00:50:00 – Daniel scholarship to study in Europe; daughter Tanis born in Europe
00:50:56 – Daniel taught at the Academy in Philadelphia, not considered work because he loved it
00:51 28 – Daniel born 1880 in Indiana, one of 16 children of Mennonite father; father recognized his talent, sent him to art school at 16
00:52:56 – maintained two homes, Green Street in Philadelphia and Lumberville; finally moved to Cuttalossa
00:54:15 – did not travel
00:54:48 – usually sold his paintings himself, shared with Redfield a strong dislike for dealers and galleries
00:59:16 – Bromley Lowe, owner of the farm in 2007, in 1994 discovered behind a wall a circa 1907 Garber oil painting
01:01:46 – story of his mural A Wooded Watershed, the 1926 oil painting at the Michener Art Museum; Daniel always painted in a coat and tie, never spilled a drop
01:08:50 – audience questions:  Why so many quarries? Daniel’s favorite painting(s)?
01:13:45 – story of the kimono featured in several paintings, May buried in it
01:15:13 – story of painting May on porch of house near Point Pleasant
01:18:43 – Aunt Tanis’s charity work in Philadelphia and at Trinity Church in Solebury:  the making of Christmas cookies and the precision necessary to please Tanis; Buck’s Cooks (Trinity cookbook)
01:22:20 – in his later years Daniel did wooden carvings, including Christmas crèches
01:24:14 – cousin Frances, daughter of Tanis; mishap just before show opening in Philadelphia

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