Friday, October 28, 2011
Morris Canal Photographs by Bloomfield's Best Known Painter
Born in Albany, New York, Charles Warren Eaton became a Tonalist landscape painter greatly influenced by Montclair's George Inness. His intimate, moody landscapes were known for subdued hues and muted tonal harmonies, and the subject was often the landscape in late autumn, evening time, or winter. His paintings were groundbreaking because they were relatively small scale intimate countryside views, which was a departure from the generally popular panoramic, romanticized views of Hudson River School painters. A reclusive bachelor, Eaton maintained a studio in New York City and painted throughout the Northeast.
Eaton also visited Holland where he painted many canal scenes. This may explain his love for Bloomfield and the Morris Canal. He lived most of his life on Monroe St. and left an extensive collection of photographs taken along the canal that were believed to have inspired many of his paintings. He lived in Bloomfield from the 1880's until his death in 1937 -- over a decade after the Morris Canal was drained and filled in.
Archivist Rich Rockwell recently added large selection of these photographs to the rapidly expanding website of the Historical Society of Bloomfield. Rich has done extensive research on many of the locations of specific photographs such as the one shown here: "Looking South towards the Liberty Street bridge. The houses on the right are the backs of houses on Spruce Street. The chimney is W M Cutler Coal on Spruce Street at the foot of Monroe Place "(click on photograph to enlarge)
Much of the original documentation on the Canal photos was done in 1976 by Robert Goller who is still active with the Canal Society of New Jersey.