Rochester’s Art Legacy – Rochester NY
Clifford McCormick Ulp
Clifford McCormick Ulp was born in Olean, New York, August 23, 1885. He died in Rochester, New York, on January 22, 1958. He attended East High School and following his graduation from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1908, spent a year of study at the Art Students League in New York City, on scholarship with William Merritt Chase and F. Walter Taylor. As a graduate of the Institute, he was instrumental in the founding of the R.I.T. Alumni Association and served as its first president. For several years he was a student of Charles H. Woodbury during the summer session at Ogunquit, Maine and of Emile Gruppe at Gloucester, Massachusetts.
He joined the staff of Rochester Institute of Technology in 1913, was made director of the School of Applied Arts in 1921, and served this institution faithfully until his retirement in May of 1952. During his 39 years of service at the Institute he gained renown as an art educator, introducing many innovations in art instruction. He played a vital role in the shaping of the lives of countless numbers of day and evening students who knew and loved him as an artist, administrator, teacher, and friend.
Clifford M. Ulp, died at the young age of 72, on Jan. 22, 1958 after he had collapsed on the sidewalk against the side of building at Rochester Institute of Technology where he had taught for 39 years. He died on the very foundation of the school that had brought life to his ideas and innovations. He died leaving his legacy of profound talent and innovative teaching methods in those hallowed halls.
Known nationally as an innovative professor of art, Ulp introduced the use of motion picture episodes in a course on drawing and sketching designated as Models in Motion. He developed the Rochester Art Scale, a method of evaluation of art competence. He was enthusiastic about bringing nature and pictorial motifs indoors by the projection of color slides. An article by Mr. Ulp reviewing this, appeared in the American Artist, 1942, entitled, “A New Leaf in the Artist’s Sketch Book.”
Ulp was a revered teacher and mentor of Carl Peters who has become well-known and much sought after artist. Ulp had been teaching at the Mechanics Institute for very short of time when Carl began studying under him, but already Ulp’s reputation as a diverse talent was evident because he taught illustration, composition, lettering, and perspective, and also because his skill in mural painting was being demonstrated as he worked on The Worship of the Magi, a major figurative painting for the altar of St. Monica’s church.
A religious man devoted to Christian Science, Ulp was dignified as a teacher. He owned the enviable reputation of being willing to share. ‘Time, information, help, anything he had to give to anyone sincerely interested in art, he gave.’38 Carrying on nineteenth-century traditions, Ulp was also a strong advocate of the pursuit of morals and ethics in art. (See Carl W. Peters: American Scene Painter from Rochester to Rockport By Richard H. Love)
He was a consultant on various civic art projects and participated in many national art education activities. He was instructor of drawing and painting at Chautauqua Summer School in 1920. In addition to his duties at the Institute he specialized in landscape painting. Many of his paintings are owned by private individuals in Rochester and various other cities.
Mr. Ulp was a Fellow of the Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences, a member of the Genesee Group, the Rochester Art Club where he held the post of president from 1926-1932, and an honorary member of the Kodak Camera Club. He served on the Board of Managers of the Memorial Art Gallery.
An artist of national fame, his work received a widespread recognition. His painting of British General Lord Allenby’s entrance into Damascus hung in the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. Locally his work is exhibited at the Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum, Rochester Institute of Technology, Eastman Dental Dispensary and St. Monica’s Church. As an illustrator, he was represented in such well-known periodicals as “The Saturday Evening Post” and “Country Gentlemen.” His paintings and drawings earned him many prize awards.
An active participant in community affairs, he was president of the Rochester Art Club from 1926 to 1932 and served as president from 1927-1943, member Board of Managers, Memorial Art Gallery 1923-1952, a member of the Christian Science Church, and the Rochester Ad Club. He illustrated the cover of the Book of the Rochester Centennial—A Century on Parade showing that he was highly regarded as an artist of local acclaim. He has won various prizes for his paintings and drawings in local exhibitions, among which was First Prize for his entry in the first Picturesque Rochester Competition in 1910.
Milton E. Bond
Milton E. Bond was born and raised in Rochester, NY, the son of Howard and Sophie J. (Calhoun) Bond. He studied at the University of Rochester (1909 – 1913), and at Mechanics Institute (now RIT), graduating in 1922. He later studied with American Marine Painter, Charles Woodbury.
He started his career at the Munsell Color Company, NYC (later Baltimore), where from 1922-1925 he worked as a color specialist. He developed a system to describe colors scientifically through reference to their position on the Munsell Color Scale. He then joined the faculty at MT School of Art and Design in 1926 as an instructor. He specialized in courses related to painting and design; but also taught modeling, history of art, et al.
The inspiration he got from nearby Bristol Hills and the Finger Lakes Region helped build his reputation as a painter of landscapes. In 1934 he started spending his summers at Honeoye Lake and many of his best work was done in these regions. Later he included seascapes to his repertoire with time spent on the Maine seacoast.
He professionally sketched and painted with: Charles (Don) Horn, Alling Clements, Fred Wells, Art Sinclair, Byron Culver, Ruth Gutfrucht, Elmer Happ, Tom Lotta, Gaylord Brewer, Betty Mesmer, Charles Sawdley, Dick Hosenfeld, Paxton Maffett, Adrian Maffett, among others. His work was exhibited regularly with the Rochester Art Club, the RIT faculty and at the Memorial Art Gallery. He occasionally held one-man shows at banks & similar venues.
Milton Bond also had a lifelong interest in Shakespeare drama and was a prominent actor in Rochester theater. He produced, directed, designed and acted in numerous productions of Shakespeare and occasionally other playwrights, including his own. He also was interested in Astronomy, he designed and built telescopes. He was married to Mildred Lewis Benedict who died in 1952 and then married his second wife, Alice Earls Moss.
Beginning in late 1930’s, Bond experimented with paintings of microscopic carborundum crystals reproduced on canvas, enlarged many times over as monumental architectural and geologic forms. This culminated in his production of the Kublai Khan Series. The series evolved from these crystal paintings but also incorporated his talents of depicting the human body. The series contained a multi-panel series of nudes floating in a magical crystalline landscape. Inspired by the Samuel Taylor Col. Ridge poem, “Kublai Kahn”. The series was projected as a twelve part series, nine panels were completed, one left incomplete, and included a watercolor triptych as part of series. Bond started the project in the late 1940’s and continued to work on it until (legal) blindness overtook him in the late 1960’s. For many years the series was not publicly exhibited as he had planned to introduce them at the (never achieved) completion of the series. The series was given to a friend of Bonds named Charles Howe who stored them in his attic. Howe was a dear friend of Bonds and he was an illustrator, photographer and an artist. He worked at Strong Memorial Hospital where he illustrated anatomy. He shared this talent with Bond who utilized it on his inclusion of dramatically realistic and anatomically correct human forms in the Kublai Kahn series.
In the early 1980’s, the Charles Howe family members called upon James Ross to come and purchase items out of their home as they were getting ready to sell it. Ross found the paintings hidden in the attic and instantly became enamored by them. He purchased the paintings, most that were not framed, and slowly had them framed and restored. Ross spent years trying to find out information about the paintings and the artist. By coincidence he was attending a dinner party and was introduced to an artist from RIT. The artist listened to Ross describing the paintings and pointed to some other people at the party and told him that he might want to talk to them. Much to his surprise, the couple were two of the models that Bond had used for the paintings. They were shocked and thrilled to know that the paintings still existed and told Ross about the series and it’s creation. It seems that the Bond family was also at a loss to where the series was. It seems that Ross had saved a treasure that everyone thought had been lost forever.
James Ross spent the next twenty years having the paintings cleaned and framed to ready them for exhibition.
Walter Thomas Sacks
Walter Sacks studied under Clifford Ulp and Carl Peters and adapted many of their styles into his own work. He lived on Quarry Road near Caledonia, NY where at times Rochester Art Club members met to paint and discuss the art community as well as the world events. He was a founding member of The Rationalists along with Ralph Avery, Ailing Clements, Milton Holm, John Inglis, Clifford Ulp and Arthur Loysen. He emphasized good perspective and effective use of light. Later in life he subsidized his painting by painting scenes on boats docked on Conesus Lake. He is best known for his landscapes and seascapes. Painted Quebec, Rockport, and Western New York.
Member: Genesee Artists Group, Art League of Buffalo, Salmagundi Club, Roch. Art Club. Exhibited: Rochester Art Club, 1938 (prize), 1939 (prize), Brodhead Gallery, 1934-1935, Nov. – Jan.
In collection of: Bevier Foundation; Rochester Athenaeum/Rochester Institute of Technology, and the Memorial Art Gallery
The idea for the Rationalist was not unique to western New York, and may have in fact been inspired by the action taken by Josephine Hancock Logan from Chicago who wrote a book, Sanity in Art, as a protest against the strong influences of modernism in exhibitions and art classes. Well-known Rochester artist, Carl Peters, aligned himself with a conservative group of artists from Buffalo and Rochester who called themselves the Rationalists. Peters and other members of the Rationalists met at Walter T. Sack’s studio in Caledonia. Here they proclaimed themselves to be artists who were ‘liberal conservatives.’ A far cry from Webster’s definition of a liberal conservative, they held that good painting just as good music and literature follow logic and order and that Shakespeare, Beethoven and Rembrandt always will be the yardsticks in their respective fields. Apparently, Peters was one of the artists from Rochester who founded the group; his fellow organizers included old friends Avery, Clements, Holm, Inglis, Arthur P. Loysen, Sacks, and Ulp.
(from: Carl W. Peters: American Scene Painter from Rochester to Rockport By Richard H. Love)
Wilson comes from an amazingly accomplished family of sculptors and is a full-time artist on Strong’s Exhibit’s team. Hundreds of thousands of museum guests annually enjoy many of his sculptures, among them a lovable Troll (along with the troll bridge), Mother Goose, and Peter Rabbit in Reading Adventureland. Wilson has had a lifelong love of wildlife and, as a child, spent many hours in the wooded areas of Genesee Valley Park in Rochester-a good source of turtles, frogs, fish, snakes, deer fox, raccoons, skunks and opossum-and excellent training ground for his later work. He has developed his own, unique technique of steel sculpture: “I make an elaborate armature with steel rods that are heated and welded together with an oxyacetylene torch. I then build more steel over the armature to get the textures and details I want.” His work has been commissioned for public and private collections including the John L. Wehle collection of Wildlife and Sporting Art at the Genesee Country Village and Museum and the Smidgall Collection in New York City.
Brian Wilson, the late brother of Craig Wilson, was a photographer who later turned to custom-scale model work and created “Fantastic Flying Machines” using copper spheres, brass-brazed steel riggings, sails, flags, and figures. His works were exhibited throughout the country and is in the homes of hundreds of private collectors, some as far away as Australia, Japan, England, France, Sweden, Holland, and Italy.
Albert Wilson, the late father of Craig Wilson, was a self-taught sculptor who created metamorphosed Steel I-Beams-a transformation of crude, rudimentary I-beams into figures, personalities, and unusual things. Through imaginative cutting of the simple I-shaped beam with an oxy-acetylene flame, Wilson created unusual pieces that have been variously described as sophisticated, contemporary, natural, primitive, personal, romantic, and whimsical. His sculptures have been commissioned for many public and private collections including the Memorial Art Gallery and the University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics in Rochester, New York; the Nelson A. Rockefeller collection at the Robertson Art Center in Binghamton, New York; and the United States Embassy Collection in Washington, D.C.