Woodstock Artists Cemetery: A Photographic Study

March 16, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

Encircled by the everlasting hills

They rest here who added to the beauty of the world

By art, creative thought and by life itself.

                       - Dr. James T. Shotwell

 

Woodstock Artists CemeteryWoodstock Artists CemeteryArtists Cemetery, Woodstock, New York

They Rest HereThey Rest Here

RIP Ralph Radcliffe WhiteheadRIP Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead

 

Woodstock’s reverence for artists and their craft is not limited to the living, as the Woodstock Artists Cemetery pays eternal homage to local residents who have made their mark on the arts. Buried here are many great artists, musicians, writers, painters, sculptors and poets.

 

Among the well-known buried here are Milton Avery and Philip Guston, noted painters; Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead, Bolton Brown and Hervey White, co-founders of the Byrdcliffe Arts and Crafts Colony, now the oldest-operating arts colony in the country; Milton Glaser, graphic designer and creator of the I ♥ NY logo; and Howard Koch, who won an Academy Award as one of the screenwriters of the movie “Casablanca.”

 

The idea of the Woodstock Artists Cemetery was initiated in 1934 by John Kingsbury following the tragic death of his 18-year-old son, who died in a car accident while attending school in Andover, Massachusetts. Kingsbury, who had originally purchased an 80 ft. by 100 ft. plot of land on which to bury his son, was soon joined by his close friends Carl Lindin, James Shotwell, Bruno Zimm and James Stagg, who together purchased additional land to expand the cemetery. The Woodstock Memorial Society was officially established on November 4, 1934 to manage the cemetery.

 

In the hopes of preserving the natural environment and the beauty of the landscape, the cemetery established bylaws which prohibited many of the traditional symbols of grief. With the exception of the memorial to Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead, the cemetery requires that all gravestones are level to the earth. Cemetery bylaws also prohibit signs and grave mounds and containers for flowers were not permitted to rise more than two inches above the ground.

 

In line with their artistic backgrounds, many of the gravestones of the deceased include beautiful visual images such as a piano, a violin, a sailboat, a peace symbol, doves, musical notes, a sword, an acorn, a colorful sunburst, among many others. Some of the gravestones carry messages that attempt to sum up life in a few words such as “From Rain to Sunshine,” “He Has Loved the Stars Too Fondly to Be Fearful of the Night,” “Many Blessings on Your Sacred Journey,” “May All Beings Be Happy and Free from Suffering,” or “He Was a Man, Take Him for All in All I Shall Not Look Upon His Like Again.”  

 

At the top of the hill overlooking the cemetery, there is an imposing 10-ton bluestone monument set on a circular terrace that was created by sculptor Tomas Penning (1905-1982). The bluestone sculpture includes the inscription of Dr. James Shotwell’s words seen at the beginning of this blog post. Penning had settled in the hamlet of High Woods in Saugerties in the early 1930s and would become one of the leading sculptors in the village of Woodstock. He was an instructor for several years at the National Youth Administration Work Center in Woodstock. Penning honorably served during World War II from 1942 to 1946, including service in an army anti-aircraft unit in Tunis, North Africa.

 

The Woodstock Artists Cemetery is located at 12 Mountain View Avenue, just off Rock City Road, and only a short walk from the Village Green at the center of Woodstock. Visit the cemetery website at www.woodstockartistscemetery.org for more information.

 

RIP Clinton Woodbridge ParkerRIP Clinton Woodbridge Parker

Poet + Painter + PhilosopherPoet + Painter + Philosopher

RIP Albert GraeserRIP Albert Graeser

RIP AlekRIP Alek

RIP Richard E. TeeRIP Richard E. Tee

RIP Leonardo CiminoRIP Leonardo Cimino

ViolinistViolinist

At the EndAt the End

On the HorseOn the Horse

Many Blessings on Your Sacred JourneyMany Blessings on Your Sacred Journey

May All Beings Be Happy and Free From SufferingMay All Beings Be Happy and Free From SufferingRIP Carol Anderson, Woodstock Artists Cemetery.

PeacePeace

He was a manHe was a man

Seeds of LifeSeeds of Life

Cross of GodCross of God

Art at Woodstock Artists CemeteryArt at Woodstock Artists Cemetery

Our HomeOur Home

Crusader for PeaceCrusader for Peace

RIP Jenne Magafan ChavezRIP Jenne Magafan Chavez

The Song of LifeThe Song of Life

Two AcornsTwo Acorns

Reaching OutReaching Out

BugBug

Manhattanville College 1841Manhattanville College 1841

All I WantAll I Want

The Scenes of LifeThe Scenes of Life

LifeLife

RIP Hans J. CohnRIP Hans J. Cohn

 


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