An artist of legendary proportions, Delos Palmer was a prolific portraitist in Stamford’s art world between 1924, and his death in 1960.
Palmer was born in New York City and studied at the Art Students League where he had the good fortune to study with such distinguished American artists as George Bellows and William Merritt Chase.
After World War I Palmer set up his studio in Manhattan and developed a steady clientele among prominent members of New York Society. He sometimes held as many as six different subject sittings a day.
Following his marriage to Helen Smith Romme, they moved to Stamford in 1924. His prosperity continued until the collapse of Wall Street suddenly changed everything. He was fortunate to find a position as a commercial illustrator for Curtis Publishing Company and Liberty Publishing, to support his family.
In 1935 the nationally funded WPA Federal Arts Project began in Connecticut. The goal was to put artists to work. Palmer produced eight works of art between January – December 1936. His two murals “Boys Playing Baseball” and “Girls Playing Field Hockey” hang in the entry of this building along with the doorway mural, showing a boy and girl reading. Be sure to see these before leaving.
By the late 1930s Palmer returned to portraiture. Older viewers will probably recall his studio at Roxbury Corners where he promoted his work flamboyantly – hanging paintings outdoors on the building, porch and lawn to attract buyers and draw more students.
Justice, Painting by Delos Palmer in the Probate Court in the Old Town Hall
Sidney Dickinson was born in Wallingford, Connecticut, the son of a Congregational minister, and raised in various places, including upstate New York, and Fargo, North Dakota. Interested in art at an early age, he studied at the Art Students League in New York City under William Merritt Chase and George Bridgman, and at the National Academy of Design with Douglas Volk. Known primarily as a figure and portrait painter, he exhibited widely, was the recipient of numerous awards and prizes and is represented in many museum and private collections. An enthusiastic practitioner of alla prima painting, Dickinson often completed a portrait in a sitting of three or four hours. As versatile as he was prolific, he painted some of the most interesting personalities of his time, including such fellow artists as his cousin Edwin Dickinson, Raphael Soyer, and the sculptor Robert Aitken. While Dickinson composed his portraits and figurative works directly in the studio, his working method for landscapes seems to have remained the traditional one of painting studies to serve as the basis for finished works.
Image © Stamford Historical Society