Famed Studio Falls Tomorrow

Last month, “06880” told the tale of Bernie Fuchs’ studio. It — and the entire Old Hill neighborhood home that once belonged to the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame inductee — was slated for demolition.

The studio was originally built by another famed artist, R. G. Harris.

Today, a bulldozer in place.

The famed studio is on the 2nd floor, upper right.

Tomorrow, one more link to Westport’s artists’ colony heritage will be lost.

23 responses to “Famed Studio Falls Tomorrow

  1. Jim Wheeler

    Money rules

  2. So sad to watch the beautiful place I grew up lose it’s charm and identity as an artist colony and historic gem…The only taste some folks have is in their mouth…

  3. Mary Cookman Schmerker

    This is a shame. So sad.

  4. Jens Buettner

    Here comes another ugly McMansion.

  5. It’s interesting to note how realtors are quick to point out the popularity, status and value of Westport based on it’s history as an artist colony. Many of the artists that made our town famous have passed on and new artists who might take their place cannot afford a simple cottage because “money talks”. The lack of diversity in this town is killing it.

  6. Bonnie Bradley

    The thing that’s hard for me to comprehend is how people appear to stand around wringing their hands, despairing what’s happening, seemingly without realizing that these losses are the canaries in the mine for the future of Westport – one old Westport house here, one iconic property there, until none are left. Meanwhile, the enormous hawk lurks and inches closer.

    The resolution of the Saugatuck Bridge foretells the future of Westport. As I understand it, if the state has its way a massive, monumental bridge, capable of carrying any and all traffic, will be the replacement. Anyone who thinks such a bridge will not lure a tsunami of traffic from 95 has his/her head in the sand. Saugatuck will be overwhelmed and consumed. Once the Saugatuck we know is no more, Westport will never be the same.

    To save the Bridge, what is missing, and sorely needed, is a determined and dedicated leader. Mike Calise and Morley Boyd know that and I do not fault them for not picking up the torch. You need someone young, someone fierce, who will not take “it can’t be done” for an answer. You need a Jo Brosious, who almost single-handedly saved Cockenoe Island from an atomic power plant. Jo was publicly mocked, reviled – and had to fight every inch of the way – by the big boys – who cared more for potential lower property taxes and the “new better” – than the average Westporter, who recognized the true value of this off-shore strip of sand. She persevered. Without her success the Westport you love would not exist today.

    Keep talking, keep fighting. Organize.
    I truly hope this leader will step forward.

    • Wendy Crowther

      Bonnie, perhaps you and others are not aware that there is a group of dedicated Westporters that have stepped forward and are actively involved in saving the Saugatuck Swing Bridge (a.k.a. Cribari Bridge). They are the Westport Preservation Alliance (WPA) and they have been working very hard on this effort for over two years now. The WPA leaders include Helen Garten, myself, Morley Boyd and John Suggs. You can find out more about our work to protect the bridge by going to our website (listed below). You you can also sign up for email updates. I hope this is helpful.


  7. That is very sad – he is/was ? a wonderful illustrator – an inspiration to many, including myself. Yes, one more piece of our artistic heritage lost, but happily there are many talented artists here in town. Westport Bart is alive and well!

  8. Nancy Hunter

    My only hope is that newcomers to any town care to learn about the history behind the road names. Meeker, Hitchcock, Sturges… even Main Street.
    And so, make a point of keeping just a hint of that history in their homes.

  9. Susan Huppi

    This is a shame. I bet that studio would be wonderful for another generation of artists. Once history is lost ,it’s truly gone.

  10. Abigail List

    I had the enormous great fortune to become best friends with Ellise Fuchs in first grade at King’s Highway Elementary School. Since then I have had the honor of spending much time in each of the ensuing 50 years in the Fuchs’ home at 3 Tanglewood Lane. Babe and Bernie created a unique gathering place in their sunny 1920’s – built home. Bernie’s studio was a magical place that was visited delicately and sometimes only on the sly. A painting in process on the easel, colored paint on a palette surrounded by tubes and brushes, slanted light from the giant windows and classical or jazz on the stereo. It was a sacred place.
    I think I can speak for Ellise and her siblings when I say that our hearts are broken as the house readies for demolition. Perhaps just a house, but a witness to much history, a member of the family, and a space in which it seemed endless amounts of beauty would be created.
    No, Westport isn’t what it used to be.
    My personal farewell to a treasured second home.

  11. Bonnie Bradley

    Thanks for the information, Wendy.

  12. Mary Cookman Schmerker

    Wendy’s information is encouraging and I know the group is hard at work. Bonnie does has a valid point. Those of us who were . around when I95 went in remember the loss of land, beautiful homes and the tears that were shed when eminent domain was enforced. Saving Cockenoe was wonderful and hopefully the Cribari Bridge will be saved along with Saugatuck as we know and love it.

  13. Thanks for the heads up, Dan. 50 years from now town officials presiding over a Westport that has been stripped of culture and heritage will realize that this art studio could have been a significant tourist attraction. They will wonder at the short sightedness of the misnamed “Westport Historic District Commission” which jettisoned the only features that once distinguished Westport from 100 other fungible New England towns. When that day comes, they’ll start to work building a replica of 3 Tanglewood Lane. I hope they’ve taken careful notes before they demolish it.

  14. Kathy Lanning

    Looks like a nice house to me, but what do I know from here in Worcester, MA!?

  15. Hanne Jeppesen

    I’m baffled by the tendency in America to tear old building’s down, and replace them with newer ones. Certainly some buildings and houses have no historic value, but many does. I grew up in Denmark, close to a historic old town Koege, with many buildings from 1700 and 1800 hundreds. Although all have been renovated on the inside, the outside integrity of the building has been preserved. The town square and surrounding streets still have the same buildings I remember from the fifties and sixties, even painted the same color, and look like they did when the were first build, hundreds of years ago. The same is true for Copenhagen and many other towns through Denmark and much of Europe. It provides a comforting continuity, and keeps us connected to the past.

  16. Hanne Jeppesen

    P.S. I would like to add that although the US does not have the same history that goes way back as Europe does, it does have historic sights and buildings worth preserving. I lived in Westport and New York City for several years back in the late sixties. I love Grand Central Station, the Cape Cod style houses are very charming and worth preserving. I now live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Throughout California we have many historic Missions, which again links us to the past. I just visited the one in Santa Barbara and have been to the one in Carmel several times. When my family was visiting from Denmark, I took them to the Carmel Mission, I wanted them to see a part of California’s history, and also point out that American’s do care about the past, which is something I often have to point out when I visit back in my native Denmark

    • Nancy Hunter

      Happily, the lovely Arts and Crafts Movement, in particular, is abundant and living well in California and all along the Pacific coast.

      • Nancy Hunter

        … and yes, as is Spanish Colonial style, more so. Shingle/Stick style on the East coast should also be preserved.

  17. Michele Smolen

    Dan. So very sad to see this picture with the bulldozer. Bernie and Babe were long and dear, dear friends. There was such delight in spending time after time with them in their beautiful home. Out of sight was the charming back area where so many parties were held with so many of the Artists we can only now remember with such privilege to have known them. And to be part of their world. Michele Smolen