Horseshoes on Uxbridge Common, 1937, oil on canvas board, signed lower right, 19 x 25 inches, inscribed “Horseshoes on Uxbridge Common/Uxbridge Mass. 1937”; provenance includes Vose Galleries, Boston; Collection of Peggy & Arthur Hittner
About the Painting
Louis (Ludvik) Durchanek's Horseshoes on Uxbridge Common depicts the main square of the small 6500 person town outside of Boston during the mid-1930s. The compact composition contains over twenty figures surrounded by community symbols and sites which connect Uxbridge's past and present. To the left of the work is the First Congregational Church (1833) and to the right is Soloman's Masonic Temple Lodge (1819). The canon and the sculpture in the background are part of Uxbridge's World War I memorial erected within a few years after the conflicted ended in 1918. Durchanek portrays a cross section of the community at the game of horseshoes with young and old, townspeople in suitcoats and hats and farm families in overalls and sunbonnets all being represented. The genre scene is a celebration of many of the pillars of small town America - religion, service, patriotism, sacrifice - which not only endured during the Great Depression, but helped to stabilize the nation through a shared sense of community and responsibility.
About the Artist
Louis (Ludvik) Durchanek was born in Vienna, Austria, and immigrated to the United States where he became a painter and well-respected sculptor. Durchanek studied at the New England School of Art, the School of the Worcester Art Museum, the Art Students League and privately with Umberto Romano and John Corbino. During the 1930s, Durchanek painted American Scene pictures of the Northeast, but by the 1940s, his attention shifted toward sculpture. He was a member of the Dutchess County Art Association and exhibited extensively at the National Academy of Design, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Rhode Island School of Design and the Museum of Modern Art, where is work is in the permanent collection. Durchanek is listed in Who Was Who in American Art and other standard references.