Monday, November 19, 2007

Artists of Lanesville - FELIX P. A. BOSCH

This excerpt is from A Village at Lane's Cove by Barbara H Erkkila recently reprinted and available through Ten Pound Island Book Company. Barbara was the best chronicler of Lanesville and also authored the book Hammers on Stone-The History of Cape Ann Granite available in bookshops around Rockport and Gloucester, and The Cape Ann Museum giftshop.

Felix Peter Anton Bosch, gentle Dutch-born landscape artist, came to Lane’s Cove summers for many years with his wife, Bernetta Burgess. They usually stayed in the Cheves cottage on Lane’s Point. Mr. Bosch, his charcoal tucked into his hatband, painted in oil and mostly at Lane’s Cove. He never seemed to tire of changing light and shade among the familiar fish houses, gaunt trees and vessels at anchor. Surely he knew every plank and knothole in each fish house.

Mr. Bosch was born in Amsterdam, Holland, July 1, 1872, the son of Anton and Catherine Johanna (van Straelen) Bosch. He studied art in Holland before coming to this country in 1897, settling in Stoneham, Massachusetts in 1909. He didn’t visit Holland again until 1947 although he painted scenes of his homeland from memory.

Visitors to the Cove always looked for Mr. Bosch. He had to be somewhere, busy at his easel. It was a real delight to watch him paint and to carry on a conversation, hearing his quaint Dutch accented English. His appearance was always impeccable, and he was very much the old-fashioned gentleman. When children came to see him working, he always pretended to be hunting for his charcoal crayon. And, in gleeful laughter, they always “found” it for him, perhaps tucked behind his left ear.

Once in a while he brought friends up to the cottage to take tea with his wife. After her death, he continued the custom, but his heart wasn’t in it. Before long, he found it easier to board with others in the village.

In 1947 George and Jinnee Demetrios had a bon voyage party for Mr. Bosch at their Folly Cove home. A few days later he later sailed home to Holland to see his sister after a thirty-eight year absence.

Many homes in the village have Felix Bosch landscapes hanging on their walls. He must have painted at least fifty canvases in many sizes ranging from one of the northeast breakwater looking across flat ledges twenty inches by fourteen to smaller sizes.

There were views of Stoneham where he stayed in the winter. It seemed that as the artist grew older, he painted smaller and smaller canvases. Whether the effort was too much, or he was becoming too frail physically to do larger ones, is not certain. But he never lost his welcoming smile for a friend.


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