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GEORGE AULT AND THE OLD AGRARIAN CATSKILLS: EARLY LIFE AND WOODSTOCK SUMMERS, PART 1

By Bruce Weber

Unknown Photographer

George Ault in Woodstock Studio, c. 1940

Ault Family Archives


George Ault was one of the finest 20th-century American artists to live and work in the historic Woodstock art colony. Ault first visited the Catskill Mountains town in the 1920s. He then spent summers there from 1933-1936, before settling close to the village from 1937 to his death in 1948. In 1978, the artist’s wife Louise authored the book Artist in Woodstock: George Ault, the Woodstock Years, which is a remarkable and heartfelt accounting of her husband’s life and career with special attention to his time in Woodstock, highlighting his struggles, passing successes, and delight in simple pleasures, as well as touching on myriad aspects of the town’s history.(1) The publication has been a rich and valued source for this three-part article, which will begin with a discussion of the early decades of Ault’s life and career, and then turn to his artistic achievements in the mid-1930s in Woodstock.

Ault Family House, Cleveland, Ohio,

c. 1890s

Ault Family Archives


George Copeland Ault was born on October 11, 1891 into a prosperous family in Cleveland, Ohio. He was the third son among four boys and one girl (his twin sister Esther) of Charles Henry Ault and Susan Ellen Doyle Ault. On his paternal side he was a descendant of French Huguenots who reportedly settled in New Paltz, New York in the 1720s (a subject of which the artist took pride), and of American Revolutionary stock on his maternal side.(2)

William Merritt Chase 1849-1916)

Portrait of Charles Henry Ault, 1895

Colby College Art Museum

Charles Henry Ault (1862-1929)

Le Chatelet, 1903

Private Collection


In Cleveland, Charles Henry Ault, the artist’s father, worked as a representative of Ault & Wilbourg, an ink manufacturing firm based in Cincinnati, for whom a cousin was a partner. In 1899, the Ault family moved to London, where Charles helped the Ohio company introduce American printing ink to England and the continent. Charles painted landscapes and marines as a sidelight, and was engaged in the American art world, particularly in the 1890s, when he exhibited in the annual exhibitions of the National Academy of Design, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and Art Institute of Chicago. He assisted in the founding of the St. Louis Art Museum, served for a year as president of the Western Art Association (headquartered in Cleveland), for which he was a charter and exhibiting member, and helped organize the fledgling Cleveland Museum of Art. While living in Cleveland in 1895, he was elected to membership in the Salmagundi Club in New York City, created by artists and patrons to support one another.(3)

George C. Ault in England, c. 1910

Ault Family Archives

George Ault (1891-1948)

January on the Thames, 1909

Private Collection

(with reflection)


George spent some of the happiest years of his life living at the family’s house on Haverstock Hill in North London, where he had his first studio. He passed summers with his family on a farm in Cap Gris-Nez on the Côte d'Opale in northern France. Ault studied In London at the University College School, the St. John’s Wood School of Art (with William Quiller Orchardson and George Clausen), and the Slade School of the University of London (with Henry Tonks and Philip Wilson Speer). He formed friendships in London with Slade School classmate C. R. W. Nevinson, and fashion designer and entrepreneur Lady Duff-Gordon. January on the Thames dates from 1909, and is reminiscent of James Abbott McNeil Whistler’s nocturnal views of the Thames at Battersea created between 1870 and the mid-1880s. The picture reveals Ault’s emerging interest in picturing the evocative half-light of nightfall.

George Ault (1891-1948)

Beatrice, 1923

Whitney Museum of American Art

Beatrice Ault in Garden,

Hillside, New Jersey, 1917

Ault Family Archives


In 1911, the Ault family returned to America. Charles became manager of the Jaenecke printing ink firm in Newark, New Jersey. Five years later he took charge of the business, and opened branches of the Jaenecke-Ault Company in New York, Chicago and Buenos Aires.

Charles wanted his son to learn the ink printing business, and Ault worked briefly at the Newark plant before returning to his pursuit of becoming a professional artist. In 1914, Ault married Beatrice Hoffman. With the financial support of the artist’s father, the couple settled in a house and studio of Ault's own design in Hillside, New Jersey.

George Ault (1891-1948)

Near Old Bridge, New Jersey, 1915

George Ault (1891-1948)

The Valley Lake, 1919

Woodstock Artists Association

and Museum

George Ault (1891-1948)

The Hudson from Riverside Drive,

1920-1921

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art


Back in America, Ault painted a variety of subjects, including country landscapes, harbor, and urban scenes. Some of these subjects prefigure his more mature interests, and reveal his initial enthusiasm for juxtaposing man-made geometric structures with the organic forms he discovered in nature. In 1920, Ault began showing at the annual exhibitions of the Society of Independent Artists in New York City. His pictures in the annual exhibition of 1921 were praised highly by English art critic C. Lewis Hind.(4)

Harold Ault, c. 1910-1915

Ault Family Archives


Between 1915 and 1920, the Ault family suffered the earliest of a string of tragedies and misfortunes. In 1915, Ault’s younger brother Harold and his wife Ethel committed a joint suicide at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City, which was covered in detail in the press.(5) Following the tragedy Ault’s mother Susan had a nervous breakdown, and was committed to the Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Morristown, New Jersey, where she died in 1920 of pernicious anemia.

Esther A. Ault, 1917

Ault Family Archives


Following Susan’s death, Charles married his secretary, Anne Katherine Zwigord, with whom he had three children. On Charles’ death in May 1929, Anne and the couple’s children received the bulk of the family fortune. After receiving a meager inheritance, and suffering fallout from the stock market crash in October that year, the artist’s brothers Donald and Charles Jr. committed suicide, one by gas in 1930, the other by poison in 1931.(6) The only siblings to survive this string of terrible events were George and his twin sister Esther, who recalled that there “was one funeral after another.”(7)


In 1922, Ault moved to Greenwich Village. By this time he was estranged from Beatrice; on and off for several years the couple alternated periods of living apart and becoming reconciled, with the separations lengthening in time.(8) Ault escaped the unhappiness of his marital situation in the company of roistering artists and models.(9) He paid visits to the Woodstock art colony, and later reminisced over the “Woodstock parties of the nineteen twenties and bohemian good times in Greenwich Village.”(10) His issues with alcohol increased at this time. Louise reported that in addition to his consumption of alcohol in New York, Ault would empty the supply of liquor in his father’s Summit, New Jersey house, and “then go in pursuit of bathtub gin till it was exhausted.”(11)

George Ault (1891-1948)

Factory Chimney, Brooklyn, 1924

Philadelphia Museum of Art

George Ault (1891-1948)

Greenwich Avenue, 1925

Vilcek Foundation

George Ault (1891-1948)

The Engine Room Door, 1922


Ault survived on the stipend provided by his father, and the occasional sale of his art. He now embraced New York City as his primary subject, often focusing on the architecture of the streets of Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan, and the clean, hard-edged forms of relatively low level buildings. In company with fellow Precisionists Charles Sheeler, Georgia O’Keeffe, Charles Demuth, and others, he painted smoothly without visible brushwork or textures, arranged colors in flat patterns without visible signs of atmospheric conditions, and a sharp, and pristine clarity of design. Occasionally his dynamic architectonic compositions verge on complete abstraction. Art historian Andrew Hemingway has noted that his works of the period are “clearly effected by a sensibility shaped by the camera in their cut-offs, odd perspectives, and fragmentary forms.”(12)


Ault exhibited in some of the most progressive spaces for American art in the city, including the Daniel Gallery, J. B. Neumann’s New Art Circle, the Bourgeois Gallery, Dudensing Galleries, and the Downtown Gallery. He also exhibited regularly at the Whitney Studio Club, which in the 1920s served as a rallying point for modern American art. Many club members were active in the Woodstock art colony, and this association likely led to his initial visits to the town. During the mid-1920s, two important figures in the art colony, Alexander Brook and Yasuo Kuniyoshi, were among his friends.


In 1923, Ault’s art was featured in the exhibition “Nine Americans” at the gallery of Stephen Bourgeoise, whom he considered his “first and greatest formative influence.”(13) The exhibition also included work by O’Keeffe, Oscar Bluemner, Emile Branchard, Edward Bruce, Vincent Canade, Arnold Friedman, Stephen Hirsch and Robert Laurent, all of whom were promoted by the gallery as “the primitives of a new modern American school of painting.”(14)

Unknown Artist

Situation of America, 1848

American Folk Art Museum

Unknown Artist

Roses, c. 1850

Watercolor on paper

Collection of the Ault Family


In the 1920s, American primitive or folk art had been discovered by modernists like Ault, Kuniyoshi, Sheeler and Elie Nadleman. Ault was an admirer and collector of folk art, which impacted his style and vision. Among the pieces of folk art he owned was a small 19th-century watercolor of roses, and a folk art portrait that originally was found by Kuniyoshi in Maine. In need of money, Kuniyoshi sold the portrait to Woodstock artist Dorothy Varian, and at some point when she was in need of funds she sold the unlocated likeness to Ault.(15)

George Ault (1898-1948)

House in Brittany, 1925

Portland Museum of Art,

Portland, Maine


In the early 1920s, Ault traveled to the Bahamas (1922) and France (1924). He spent several months in France, living for a period in the Parisian section of Montparnesse, attending exhibitions, and becoming more knowledgeable about the art of his European contemporaries. During his time in France he produced paintings, watercolors and graphite drawings. He became friendly with the American artist Andrée Ruellan (who by the end of the decade settled for life near Woodstock in Shady), and the two spent time together in Paris and Brittany.(16) Ruellan remarked that Ault “loved Paris like a grandmother, like an old thing. But America was to him the new, the future.”(17) In 1927, she returned to New York and discovered Ault was a changed man. Ruellan was shocked to discover he had become reclusive, and was drinking even more heavily. His neurotic behavior and excessive drinking, alienated him from artist friends Brook, Kuniyoshi, Louis Bouché, Maurice Becker, and William and Marguerite Zorach, all of whom chose to no longer associate with him.(18).

George Ault (1891-1948)

Edith Halpert, 1924

Graphite on paper

National Gallery of Art


Ault’s behavior resulted in growing difficulties with art dealers, and decreased opportunities to exhibit. In 1934, he broke with the Downtown Gallery. Following a series of solo exhibitions in the 1920s, gallery owner and director Edith Halpert continued to include his work in group showings. When she prodded him to paint works similar to those she had success selling, he “suffered shock and recoiled in suspicion.”(19) For several years the gallery asked him to prepare pictures for upcoming exhibitions, and Ault wasn’t happy producing under stress.(20)


During the first years of the Great Depression of the 1930s, Ault was desperately in need of income. He sold objects he had collected or that he inherited, including the portrait by William Merritt Chase of his father. He generally borrowed small amounts of money from relatives, including his stepmother Anne and twin sister Esther, and usually gave small paintings in return.(21) According to Louise, Ault considered himself to be a “bounder,” i.e. a cad or person of objectionable social behavior.(22) He usually borrowed small amounts from Esther. Louise related that he wished that he did not have to reach out to her for help, and that she had “little enough money herself.”(23) Louise recalled that each time Ault borrowed from Esther it was intended “to be the last.”(24)

Esther A. Ault, Woodstock, New York, 1939

Ault Family Archives


Esther’s financial help enabled Ault to spend the summers from 1933 to 1936 in Woodstock. His sister began spending summers in the town in about 1930 during her vacations from teaching kindergarten in the New York City area. In Woodstock she became active in the Overlook Methodist Church, and was a member of the Women’s Society of Christian Service.(25) In 1946, she married Bruce Herrick, a member of the church's congregation, whose first wife Etta passed away the year before. George announced the couple’s engagement in the Kingston Daily Freeman.(26)

Woodstock (Woodstock, New York: Chamber of Commerce

of Woodstock, 1928)

Bruce Herrick was a well-known figure in Woodstock, where he was active as a journalist, poet and innkeeper. He was a roving reporter for various publications, among them the Catskill Mountain Star, the Woodstock Press, the Kingston Daily Freeman and the Argus, covering celebrities and activities in town, including local art life. He was the first librarian of Woodstock, and a rare book and autograph collector. In his essay “Woodstock,” published in 1928 for the pamphlet produced by the town’s new chamber of commerce, he commented on the calm serenity of Woodstock, the mix of colonial houses here and there, artist life, and included a photographic image of an artist cottage at the Maverick art colony in nearby West Hurley.(27)

Former House of Bruce and Esther Herrick, 16 Tannery Brook Road, 2022


Former Herrick House,

18 Tannery Brook Road, 2022


Following their marriage in September 1946, Esther and Bruce moved into a cottage in the center of town on Tannery Brook Road, next to the Herrick House, which Bruce operated after the death of his father Thomas in 1928. The boarding house was started by Thomas, who enlarged the hostelry to accommodate the growing number of young artists coming to attend the Art Students League’s summer school in town, which was active from 1906-1922. He moved to Woodstock in the early years of the century, when he worked briefly as a photographer, making tintype portraits.


Esther and George were regularly visited in Woodstock by their nephew Leslie (son of their deceased brother Donald), who lived and taught in New Jersey. He and his wife Margaret also spent occasional summers in the town.(28) Following George Ault’s death in 1948, Leslie continued frequenting Woodstock, and enjoyed visiting artist’s studios and acquiring pictures, from Eugene Ludins, Doris Lee, Rosella Hartman, and others.

George Ault (1891-1948)

School at Riverdale, by April 1938

Watercolor on paper

Created for Works Progress Administration

George Ault (1891-1948)

Spring Landscape, c. 1939

Created for Works Progress Administration


Beginning in late 1933, Ault was employed by the Public Works of Art Project. From 1935 to its closing in August 1939 the agency was known as the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project. He served on the Easel Division, for which he received a twice-monthly stipend. This, plus Louise’s modest income, and Esther’s occasional aid, would help get the artist through the Great Depression. During his six years on the project, Ault created 67 pictures, including city scenes, country landscapes, and still lifes, in oil, gouache, watercolor, and graphite, which were then to be allocated to public buildings by the Federal government. While he was happy to receive government assistance, he was frustrated by the project’s demanding production schedule, which regularly failed to provide him with sufficient time to produce to his full satisfaction, or experiment with new directions.

George Ault (1891-1948)

Turn of the Road, Woodstock, 1935

Watercolor on paper

Private Collection

Photocopy of image of Unlocated

George Ault Painting “Tree Stump,” 1934

Ault Family Archives

George Ault (1891-1948)

Woodstock Landscape, 1938

Watercolor over graphite on paper

Brooklyn Museum of Art


During the summers of 1933-1936, Ault produced landscapes, townscapes and still life's. The meadows and stone walls of the village reminded him of the beloved English countryside of his boyhood. A number of his pictures of the time include tree stumps or dead trees, and these elements allude symbolically to nature’s cycle, the dark days of the Great Depression, personal psychological struggles, and rupture or loss. Among the works by Ault to incorporate tree stumps or dead trees is Came’s House, which will be discussed shortly, and his

canvas Tree Stump (known through a reproduction), which features the broken form of a silvery gray chestnut, a tree local to Woodstock, which dominated the Catskills forest canopy before it was devastated by a blight in the early 20th century.

George Ault (1891-1948)

Mexican Jug and Zinnias, 1939

Gouache on paper

Woodstock Artists Association

and Museum

George Ault (1891-1948)

Little White Flower, 1939

Adler Collection


Ault sometimes gave flower paintings as Christmas gifts, including to the female owner of a boarding house where he stayed in Woodstock, and a local taxi driver.(29) Many of Ault’s floral still life’s include zinnias, which he liked because “they have so much form.”(30) Little White Flower was given to Louise as a birthday present, and as a symbolic remembrance of a walk they had taken together in the woods where they had come upon an unusual six-pointed anemone. Upon arriving home after the walk, Ault found a five-pointed wood anemone near the house, placed it in a small clear glass, and painted this watercolor and gouache. The picture relates to the Precisionist aesthetic in its hard-edged style and reductive geometry. Color is applied flatly, and the surface has a silky texture. The palette of blue, green, brown, and shades of black, hearkens back to that of his earlier nocturnal cityscapes. The dim overall lighting heightens the solemnity of the still life.


During his time in Woodstock in the mid-1930s, Ault often depicted the area’s churches and houses. The architectural forms of the city gave way to those of the country, and his treatment of these structures was borne of an austerity, straightforwardness, and simplicity that is reflective of what he considered to be the essence or character of America. Louise concluded that the “''early Americanism' of some of his work (he painted many country churches—chaste, white, wooden, Puritanical) undoubtedly referred back . . . to the days of his mother, a pioneer woman in Illinois (for he quoted often the things she had to tell, using the colloquialisms of the time).”(31) A great lover of nature, Ault sought in his landscapes of the area “not to copy nature, but to make order out of nature and crystallize its beauty . . . .”(32)

George Ault (1891-1948)

Methodist Church, Woodstock, New York, 1933

West Side View of Former

Overlook Methodist Church, 2022

Unknown Photographer

Overlook Methodist Church,

Woodstock, New York, 1932

Front View of Former Overlook Methodist Church, 132 Tinker Street, 2022

George Ault Standing in Front of

Overlook Methodist Church,

Woodstock, New York, 1934

View from East Side of

Former Overlook Methodist Church, 2022

Shady United Methodist Church,

13 Church Road, Shady, New York

Willow Wesleyan Methodist Church,

Rt. 212, Willow, New York, 2022


Dating from 1933 is Ault’s painting of the Overlook Methodist Church at 132 Tinker Street (now the home of the local film theater). In 1832, the lot was purchased from Samuel and Elizabeth Culver, and the church was erected. The congregation grew rapidly, and became a center of religious activity in the area. A non-practicing Methodist, Ault also pictured the Methodist churches of Shady and Willow, which was his favorite church in Ulster County, because of its “frugal construction and Colonial chasteness.”(33)

George Ault (1891-1948)

Came’s House, 1933

Albany Institute of History and Art

Detail of Front of Former House

of Cambridge Lasher, 153 Tinker Street, 2022


In 1933, Ault painted Came’s House, which features the former parsonage of the Overlook Methodist Church. The white colonial style building, with its purple-red tin roof and dark green window shutters, is surrounded by trees and vegetation which sparkle in the midday sunlight. One of the trees appears to be in the process of dying. In addition to the tree's two stumps, and leafless branches, fungi is visible on the bark and on one of the limbs. The geometric slabs of the bluestone walkway form an oblique T with the veranda, and each spear of grass is carefully and meticulously rendered. The house is located at the western edge of the village at 153 Tinker Street, and was purchased by Cambridge Lasher in 1908 when he moved into Woodstock after selling his share of his family’s farm in Bearsville to his brother John.

Cambridge Lasher, n.d.

Lasher Family Genealogy, p. 240


Cambridge Lasher was born in 1856 in nearby Lake Hill. He had no formal education and could neither read nor write. Before moving to the village, he helped farm the family property in Bearsville, and bought and sold oxen over half a dozen counties. Lasher was respected in town as a man of strong principles, and one who could not be bested in a bargain.(34) Historian Alf Evers remarked that he maintained that oxen were just as intelligent as horses, and a lot easier to train.(35) After moving into town, Lasher became a large property owner and civic leader. He lived on the income from rentals, and the interest from his substantial savings.(36)


It was probably in the summer of 1933 that Ault first lived in a studio in one of Lasher’s converted barns.(37) The two became good friends. Lasher sold his tenant produce for next to nothing, including the prized sweet corn from the family farm. Came liked to rent his properties to artists, who also boarded in his home, whom he would often treat generously. He found most “were on their own and . . . not fancy.”(38) According to a reporter for the Kingston News, Lasher sometimes “didn’t bother to mention the rent. It was not long before the patron of Woodstock was known pretty well throughout eastern art circles. In fact Cam was a legend before he died.”(39)

Letter from George Ault to

J. D. Hatch, Jr., August 29, 1941,

George Ault, Came’s House File,

Albany Institute of History and Art


On Lasher’s death in February 1941 people came from miles around for his funeral.(40) Louise related that Lasher’s demise was the first instance since the string of deaths of family members that Ault “did not react by drinking. Instead, now in memory of Cambridge Lasher, he presented [his painting of Came’s house] to the Albany Institute of History and Art [in honor of his friend].”(41) The Ulster County News reported that Lasher “represented to the artist the highest and richest qualities of a true son of the old agrarian Catskills, and perfectly exemplified a period now all but past . . . .”(42). The writer also commented that “Cam would [have wanted] his house painted [the] way [Ault painted it]. He was not one for the ornate. Years ago, when he [originally] went to Woodstock as a handyman, he was pretty much on his own and plain.”(43)

George Ault (1891-1948)

Just a House, 1933

House at 66 Broadview Road,

c. 2000

Woodstock Artists Association Archives

George Ault (1891-1948)

Study for ‘Just a House”, 1933

Graphite on paper

Smithsonian American Art Museum


Just a House also dates from 1933 and pictures a still-standing three story high gabled house on the crest of a hill just outside the village at 66 Broadview Road. Ault was astonished that this solid and substantial house lacked extensive shrubbery or a surrounding ornamental garden and chose the title to emphasize this fact.(44) The artist’s drawing reveals that he eliminated some of the existing trees and shrubbery, as well as a telephone pole, save for the single tree standing in the rear. Art Historian Eila M. Kokkinen has noted that the “starkness of the setting as well as the opaque green foreground, contribute to an air of isolation akin to some of [Edward] Hopper’s paintings.”(45)


For conversation and friendship, Ault usually turned to farmers, neighbors, and other locals he met in town at various bars, especially at the Elwyn House on Tinker Street. Louise and he were friendly with the co-owner Fred Smith’s wife Jenny, whose father was the Lake Hill farmer Hercules Davis, subject of pictures by Anita M. Smith (no relation) and Adolf Dehn.(46) He enjoyed hearing conversations about such topics as the crops and drought, the beans drying up, the rattlesnakes coming off of the mountain seeking water, and the changeability of the weather.(47) He made friends with a local iceman, a frame maker and a house painter, whom Louise referred to as “people of innate dignity and simplicity of character.”(48) In the working-class people of the town Ault “found the attribute of sincerity and genuineness that appealed to him.”(49) In contrast, Ault was “critical of ‘preciousness’ in art and literature.”(50)

As shall be revealed, over the course of his time in Woodstock, Ault formed friendships with a small number of artists.


Over the course of their life in Woodstock, the Aults were also friendly with members of the Hasbrouck, Shultis, Cashdollar, Risely, and Elwyn families. Their country ways “charmed the [two] refugees from New York.”(51) Louise pointed out that native Woodstockers normally referred to newcomers as ‘them artists’, 'outsiders' – ‘furriners.’ The reason mainly had to do with the way in which artists made a living. Catskillers learned that some artists painted pictures which sometimes brought money, but even when they knew this to be true to a given artist, they couldn’t believe it altogether. They couldn’t say to an artist neighbor or artist-tenant that they had no real faith in what he did; to a man, however, they were skeptics.”(52) In the summer of 1936 Ault informed Cambridge Lasher that he had a job in the Works Progress Administration, and Lasher ”revealed his innocence concerning artists and what they do by nodding his approval vehemently and offered ‘Well that’s better’n paintin’, ain’t it.’”(53)

__________________________________________________________________________________


I want to offer my thanks and appreciation to the many people who have helped with my research and writing on George Ault. I wish to first thank the artist's niece Susan Ault for her generosity in discussing Ault's life and family background and sharing material in the family archives. Barbara Carlson was her amazing self, spending many hours literally combing the area with me just north of the village for links to Louise and George's life in Woodstock. The always helpful Jonathan Elwyn aided importantly in discovering various current locations, including Cambridge Lasher's former house, and, among other things, helped educate me about the Elwyn House. John Kleinhans generously helped me eye and explore the old Russell's Corners area and match up vistas. Others who have proven very helpful are Donald Lokuta; Alexander Nemerov; Karen Schleicher; Janine Mower; JoAnn Margolis; Will Nixon; Kim Apolant, Librarian, Woodstock Public Library; Emily Jones, Archivist and Collection Manager, Woodstock Artists Association and Museum; Alexander Katlan; Fred Baker; Mikhail Horowitz,

and W. Douglas McCombs, Chief Curator, Albany Institute of History and Art.


1-Louis Ault, Artist in Woodstock: George Ault, The Independent Years (Woodstock, New York: Overlook Press, 1978). The publication is dedicated to the Woodstock Artists Association, which may stem from Louise’s friendship with Betty Sturgis, who served as curator of the organization’s permanent collection from 1974-1990. The George Ault Papers at the Archives of American Art contain additional documents written by Louise Ault concerning her husband’s life and work (cited elsewhere).

2-“George C. Ault Funeral Services Will Be Private,” Kingston Daily Freeman, January 5, 1949, p. 2.

3-Email from Alexander Katlan to Bruce Weber, December 16, 2022.

4-Ibid., p. 2.

5- See “Murder and Suicide in Hotel St. Regis,” The New York Times, May 16, 1915, p. 7, and “Riddle of Ault Tragedy at St. Regis is Unsolved,” New York Sun, May 17, 1915, p. 4.

6-Louise Ault, Artist in Woodstock: George Ault, The Independent Years, pp. 68, 69. I reached out to Kuniyoshi authority Tom Wolf about the portrait, but he was unaware of the likeness, and Kuniyoshi's exchange with Varian. Louise Ault's book is full of tidbits of art historical interest.

7-Ibid., p. 69.

8-Ibid., p. 70.

9-Ibid, p. 70.

10-Ibid., p. 9.

11-Ibid., p. 74.

12- Andrew Hemingway, The Mysticism of Money: Precisionist Painting and Machine Age America (Pittsburgh and New York: Periscope Publishing Ltd., 2013), p. 169.

13- Louise Ault, “Questions and Answers,” George Ault Papers, Archives of American Art, microfilm roll D247, frame 14.

14-Ibid., frame 14.

15—Louise Ault, Artist in Woodstock, The Independent Years, p. 80.

16-George Ault kept a list of his “girlfriends” through the years. Ruellan’s name appears on the list for the year 1924 beside the word “Brittany.” “List of Girlfriends of George Ault,” Ault Family Archives. Upon discovering Ruellan’s name on the list I contacted the artist Daniel Gelfand, who represents the Ruellan estate and is very knowledgeable about the artist’s life and work. He responded that “that is the first I ever heard of George Ault, in that capacity. André never mentioned his name. . . . In 1924, Andree would have been 19. Still living with her mother.” Email from Daniel Gelfand to Bruce Weber, September 20, 2022. In 1941, Ault offered to donate a drawing of Brittany that he owned by Ruellan to the Albany Institute of History and Art. The institution evidently turned down the offer: no correspondence has been located in the museum's files pertaining to the rejection of the picture. From Daniel Gelfand's response it would appear Ault had little, or no contact, with Ruellan during his later time in Woodstock.

17-Ruellan is quoted in Susan Lubowsky, “George Ault,” essay in George Ault (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art at Equitable Center, 1988), p. 17.

18-Ibid., p. 24.

19-Ibid., p. 52.

20-Ibid, p. 24, ff. 28.

22-Louise Ault, George Ault: Artist in Woodstock, The Independent Years, p. 134.

22-Ibid., p. 120.

23-Ibid., p. 86.

24-Ibid., p. 85.

25- “Mrs. Esther A. Herrick,” Kingston Daily Freeman, April 1, 1970, p. 8.

26-“Bruce Herrick Will Marry Esther Ault of Woodstock,” Kingston Daily Freeman, March 5, 1946, p. 10.

27-Bruce Herrick, “Woodstock,” essay in Woodstock (Woodstock, New York: Chamber of Commerce of Woodstock, 1928), n.p.

28-Grant Arnold, "Woodstock, The Everlasting Hills," completed typed, p. 462. A copy of this manuscript is in the archives of the Historical Society of Woodstock. I would like to thank Bill and Marsha Arnold for sharing this important document, and for permitting a copy to made for the Historical Society of Woodstock.

29-Louise Ault, “George Ault, A Biography,” George Ault Papers, Archives of American Art, microfilm roll D247, frame 1224.

30-Ibid., frame 982

31-Louise Ault, “Questions and Answers,” frame 16.

32- Ault is quoted in "Annotated clipping of Lloyd Goodrich’s ‘Exhibition in New York,'" George Ault Papers, Archives of American Art, microfilm roll D237, frame 131.

33-Louis Ault, George Ault: Artist in Woodstock, The Independent Years, p. 165.

34-Ibid. p. 41.

35-Alf Evers, Woodstock: History of an American Town (Woodstock, New York; 1987), p. 360.

36-Tribute to Camebridge Lasher,” Ulster County News, November 27, 1941, p. 12.

I would like to thank Kim Apolant, librarian, Woodstock Public Library for helping discover publication details relating to this article. Published references to Lasher’s first name vary in spelling between Cambridge and Camebridge. He is also referred to as Cam and Came. Ault's painting of Lasher's house served as the source for his lithograph Came's House of 1934, which features a cropped, vertical view of the structure. The printer of this lithograph has not been identified. It may have been Grant Arnold, who was active as a lithographic printer almost continuously in Woodstock from 1930-1939, mostly in the basement of the Woodstock Artists Association. Ault is known to have visited Arnold there on occasion, and Arnold also served in 1930 as the printer at the Art Students League in New York of his lithograph #1 Lower Manhattan (Whitney Museum of American Art). Came's House and #1 Lower Manhattan are the only lithographs Ault is known to have created.

37-The exact years in the mid-1930s of Ault’s rental of a summer studio from Lasher are not known. In her book on the artist, Louise Ault refers to a rental in 1935 (p. 410), but it likely he also rented a studio from Lasher in other summers during the period as well.

38-“Painting, Art Institute Gift, May Have Legend,” Knickerbocker News, November 17, 1941, otherwise unidentified article, George Ault, Came’s House File, Albany Institute of History and Art.

39-Ibid.

40-“Tribute to Camebridge Lasher.”

41-Louise Ault, George Ault: Artist in Woodstock, The Independent Years, p. 42.

42-"Tribute to Camebridge Lasher.”

43-Ibid.

44- Louise Ault, George Ault: Artist in Woodstock, The Independent Years, p. 72.

45-Eila M. Kokkinen, “George Ault: The Woodstock Years,” essay in George Ault: The Woodstock Years (Woodstock, New York: Woodstock Artists Association, 2001). p. 12.

46-Louise Ault, George Ault: Artist in Woodstock, The Independent Years, p. 139.

47-Ibid., pp. 139-140.

48-Ibid., p. 139.

49-Ibid., pp. 68, 139.

50-Ibid., p. 51.

51-Ibid., p. 40.

52-Lubowsky, p. 40.

53-Ibid., p. 42.


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