Friday Flashback #83

As work proceeds on David Waldman’s latest project — converting the former Save the Children headquarters on Wilton Road into a retail/residential complex — it’s a good time to revisit Stevan Dohanos’ 1965 painting of the site.

Back then, it was home to Famous Artists School. Dohanos was one of those (very) famous artists who helped stay-at-home artists around the world discover their inner illustrator.

This painting — courtesy of Dohanos’ son Anthony — is a bit stylized. The house on Gorham Island is moved south, and Bedford Elementary School (now Town Hall) slides very close to Main Street.

But it provides a very realistic view of the days when Westport was the center of the illustration world. Even without Famous Artists, we were a town filled with — and honored by — famous artists.

11 responses to “Friday Flashback #83

  1. This Steven Dohanos painting is wonderful – I can relate to the era and it brings back so many youthful memories of the town. My neighbor worked at Famous Artists. My dad, Mel Tashian, commuted to NY daily for many years as an art director for agencies on Madison Avenue. We were family friends with people like like Bernie Burroughs, Ward Brackett, Austin Briggs, etc. Around that time, Westport was a named an “All American City.”

  2. Wow! Parking isn’t what is used to be! Although it does look like like the fancy car in the middle of the picture, by the Famous Artists School was engaging in some entitled parking practices, albeit very elegantly. Fascinating painting, though. Thank you for sharing, Dan.

  3. Enjoy Hope to see you soon

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  4. Love this painting. What time do you think this was from? Sometime in the 50’s? It looks almost like when we moved in – 1960 or so. The detail is great – Bedford El, my first school, in the background. Another great memory post.

  5. Barbara Sherburne '67

    The detail in this painting is quite amazing to me. Is that a Rambler in the forefront? I know nothing about cars, but my family owned a Rambler, and that car looks similar. Thanks for sharing this awesome painting from 1965.

  6. The car in front is a1959 Ford Country Squire.
    And Westport is NOT a “city., so any “All American City” award is, at best, a misnomer and, at worst, an insult.

  7. Some additional background from the excellent Exit17 Group on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10214913249170238&set=g.245470957140&type=1&theater&ifg=1

  8. A MALE MODEL AT THE FAMOUS ARTIST SCHOOL NAMED PIERRE NELLI, BACKED BY THE ARTISTS OPENED A FRENCH. RESTAURANT ON THE SECOND FLOOR OF144 MAIN STREET IN 1958 NAMED CHEZ PIERRE. A FEW YEARS LATER IT EXPANDED TO INCLUDE THE SECOND FLOOR OF 146 MAIN STREET. HE ALSO ERECTED A SECOND FLOOR TERRACE JOINING THE RESTAURANT BUILDING TO 142 MAIN STREET. JEWELER JASON RAUM WAS LOCATED ON THE SECOND FLOOR OF 142 MAIN STREET. THE
    RESTAURANT THRIVED FOR MANY
    MANY YEARS UNTIL PIERRE’S PASSING.
    THE SPACE IS NOW KNOWN AS TAVERN
    ON MAIN. THE BUILDINGS WERE OWNED BY DR.WILLIAM PHILLIP TEUCHER AND HIS WIFE MARJORIE;AND SUBSEQUENT TO THEIR DEMISE(S) BY THEIR SONS PHILLIP, JONATHAN AND JAMES.

  9. Wow nice painting. My father worked at Famous Artists and I can remember driving to pick him up at work with my mother. He was forced to leave when it went bankrupt. He finished his career at the Westport Bank & Trust. Sometimes I would meet him at work for lunch and we’d walk over to Main Street to eat. Good memories!
    Tim Hayes
    Staples Class of 1977

  10. “The house on Gorham Island is moved south” North, actually, as in to the left so toward Danbury inasmuch as we’re looking due east at the painting.

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