Tag Archives: Leonard Everett Fisher

Howard Munce Turns 100!

Westport’s famous artists — and Famous Artists School — have come and gone.

The “Mad Men” era — the real 1950s and ’60s ad agency scene, and the TV show celebrating it — are both just memories.

But Howard Munce endures.

Howard Munce, in his 90s. (Photo/Kristen Rasich Fox)

Howard Munce, in his 90s. (Photo/Kristen Rasich Fox)

In a town long known for its great artists, illustrators and painters, he’s a towering figure. Advertising director, graphic designer, sculptor, cartoonist, book author, teacher — and, above all, longtime and beloved civic volunteer — Munce turns 100 on November 27.

The Westport Historical Society — one of the many organizations he’s served so well for so long — has the perfect gift: his own show.

“Howard Munce at 100: A Centennial Celebration” opened June 29. A gala reception is set for this Sunday (July 12, 4-6 p.m.).

Howard Munce at work.

Howard Munce at work.

It’s hard to capture a century of life — and 8 decades of professional work and life in Westport — in the walls of one building. But the WHS tries.

The exhibit is curated by Leonard Everett Fisher, Munce’s longtime friend. In his 90s himself, he’s the perfect choice to organize the show.

There are 2 parts. The Sheffer Gallery showcases Munce’s paintings, drawings, illustrations and sculptures.

The Mollie Donovan Gallery chronicles his Westport connections as a young artist (he first came here in 1935); his military service, when he sent illustrated letters to his Westport artist friend Stevan Dohanos; Munce’s Pulitzer Prize nomination for his essay on the folly of war; his role in a legendary ad campaign for Rheingold beer, and his community involvement.

The exhibit includes documentary films, interviews, photographs by Laurence Untermeyer, and a lenticular photo of Munce by Miggs Burroughs.

It’s dedicated to Munce’s wife Gerry. She died in November, but her memory is vivid to all who knew and loved her.

Howard Munce has worn many hats. (Photo by Brian Ferry for Harry's)

Howard Munce has worn many hats. (Photo by Brian Ferry for Harry’s)

Munce’s resume is beyond impressive. Trained at Pratt Institute, he was a Young & Rubicam art director beginning in the late 1940s — after World War II, when he saw action as a Marine platoon sergeant at Guadalcanal.

Munce is professor emeritus at Paier College of Art; honorary president of the Society of Illustrators in New York City, and an honorary board member of the Westport Arts Center. For over 25 years, he volunteered as graphics director for the Westport Library, and — with Fisher — co-curated the black-and-white drawings by Westport artists in its McManus Room.

But those are facts. Far more important is Munce’s humanity.

Whenever he is asked to help — donating dozens of paintings and illustrations to the Permanent Art Collection; curating exhibits for the WHS; mentoring young artists — he always says “of course.” With a sparkle in his eye, a smile on his face, and a handshake as firm as a 20-year-old’s.

Until a couple of years ago, he clambered up ladders to make sure every exhibit he oversaw was properly hung.

At 99, Howard Munce no longer climbs ladders. Then again, he doesn’t have to.

He long ago reached the top.

BONUS FACT: In 2008, Howard Munce was grand marshal of the Memorial Day parade. Here’s his speech: 

 

Veterans Day: The Sequel

Veterans never tire of serving their country — or their community.

Each year, Bedford Middle School marks today by hosting veterans from the Y’s Men. They talk about what they did, why and how they did it, and provide an important link to yesterday for tomorrow’s leaders.

This morning’s event was lively. A number of veterans brought mementos of their service. Their stories were insightful, poignant — and often laced with a bit of humor.

Among the attendees were the 2 most recent grand marshals of Westport’s Memorial Day parade: Leonard Everett Fisher (left, below), and Bob Satter.

Leonard Everett Fisher and Bob Satter

(Photo/January Stewart)

Both are World War II veterans. Though — except for their uniforms — you wouldn’t know it by looking at them.

Memorable Memorial Day

The weekend clouds parted and the temperature rose, just in time for today’s Memorial Day parade.

From the Westport Y’s Men’s prize-winning Vietnam Wall float, to grand marshal Leonard Everett Fisher’s powerful speech — the 89-year-old recalled watching Civil War veterans marching in parades when he was young — it was a glorious, colorful (and sobering) tribute to our nation’s heritage.

And a much-needed reminder of the countless sacrifices that have been made so that we can enjoy a day — and a life — like this in Westport.

The Y's Men's float paid solemn tribute to Vietnam veterans.

The Y’s Men’s float paid solemn tribute to Vietnam veterans.

The Carpenters' house on Myrtle Avenue is a favorite spot for pancakes and parade-watching.

The Carpenters’ house on Myrtle Avenue is a favorite spot for pancakes and parade-watching.

What's a Westport Memorial Day parade without an imported fife- and-drum corps?

What’s a Westport Memorial Day parade without an imported fife-and-drum corps?

The parade is filled with kids, marching with every group: sports, Scouts, music and more.

Kids march with every kind of group: sports, Scouts, music and more.

A vintage car with vintage firearms carried veterans.

A vintage car with vintage firearms carried veterans.

A simple sign, along the parade route.

A simple sign, along the parade route.

Grand marshal Leonard Everett Fisher gave a strong speech, with a powerful message.

Grand marshal Leonard Everett Fisher gave a strong speech, with a powerful message. He also noted that he last wore his uniform officially 67 years ago — and it still fits.

Staples trumpeter Devon Lowman played "Taps." Adam Mirkine echoed the poignant notes.

Staples trumpeter Devon Lowman played “Taps.” Adam Mirkine echoed the poignant notes.

(Click below — or click here — for the Staples High School Band’s stirring “Armed Forces March.”)

 

The Art Of Longshore

Artists Neil Hardy (left) and Leonard Everett Fisher flank Helen Klisser, During, who curated the "Art of Longshore" exhibit. (Photo by John Hartwell)

The golf course.  Weddings.  Herb Baldwin.

It seems no aspect of Longshore is overlooked this year, as Westport celebrates the 50th anniversary of the town’s purchase of a failing country club — and subsequent redevelopment into a town jewel.

Now it’s art’s turn.

That’s art, as in oil paintings and photos.  Longshore offers almost unlimited opportunities — the tree-lined entrance, scenic marshes, handsome Inn — as well as historic subjects like the lighthouse and old apartment building that no longer exist.

Tomorrow (Friday, June 4, 6 p.m.), the Westport Public Library honors “The Art of Longshore” with an open-to-the-public reception.  Generations of artists’ works will remain on display through July 30.

Some of the prints, paintings and photos are old; some very recent.  Each presents a different facet of Longshore’s beauty.

None, thankfully, shows what might have been had Westport not acted so swiftly 50 years ago:  240 homes crammed together on what was  considered the most lucrative building site in town.