An Angeloch sky

Beloved artist passes on

by Kate McGloughlin
March 24, 2011 12:17 PM | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Robert Angeloch drawing in Monhegan, in this John Kleinhans photo.
On Friday, March 18, 2011, on the morning of the full Super Moon, legendary artist and co-founder of The Woodstock School of Art Robert H. Angeloch, died quietly at home. To his professional credit, over 75 one man shows, 25 illustrated books, notable awards from the likes of The Pollack-Krasner Foundation, the founding of an esteemed Woodstock art gallery and art school, and the fervent admiration of generations of devoted art students. To his personal credit, he leaves a lasting legacy of art, beauty and a sustaining example, having led a life of purpose with unwavering determination and accomplishment.

Born on April 8, 1922 in Richmond Hill, New York, Angeloch served in the US Air Corps and Army during World War II where he was a pilot, studied to be an engineer and ended up in medical school. He studied at The Art Students League of New York from 1946-1951, where he first began painting with Yasuo Kuniyoshi and printmaking with Martin Lewis. He spent the summer of 1947 learning the craft of making woodcuts with Fiske Boyd and it was that summer that Angeloch first studied nature working out of doors. For this reason he recently credited Boyd as his most influential teacher.

In the summer of 1948, “painting fever” brought him to Woodstock, New York to further pursue his craft at the League’s summer school where he fell into the already thriving local art scene and met other young painters like Nancy Summers, the Plate brothers, Gladys Brodsky and others. In this milieu, Angeloch became the bridge between Woodstock’s magnificent history of landscape painters and the next wave of serious painters in this noted artists colony. It was also during his time at the League that he received the McDowell Traveling Grant, which enabled him in 1952-53 to study printmaking at The Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy. This trip sparked his love for travel and his belief that all questions regarding art could be answered in nature. Traveling over a great deal of Europe, mostly on an army surplus motor bike, Angeloch filled sketchbooks that would later be realized as paintings and graphic works, and collected a group of friends who would remain in his life to the present day.

Filling the need for a permanent art school in Woodstock, Angeloch founded The Woodstock School of Art with Franklin Alexander, Eduardo Chavez, Lon Clark, and Wallace O. Jerominek, and began offering winter classes in a small studio on Millstream Road in 1968. From its humble beginnings in a small studio with a few instructors teaching a handful of students, Angeloch’s laser-like vision, formed and gave substance to the now thriving Woodstock School of Art as it exists today, offering year-round instruction in painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture to some 400 students a year, employing over thirty artist/instructors and staff members.

In his personal life, Angeloch had the good fortune to marry twice; first to fellow artist Nancy Summers, with whom he had a son, Eric, and a daughter, Alex, both of whom are also artists. Eric is an accomplished and sought after painter and instructor, and Alex, a gifted actress and writer who recently acquired her MS as a Speech Pathologist. It was during the early years of this marriage that Angeloch designed and built his Woodstock home and studio on Summers Lane, and developed a following as an “Abstract Realist” painter, and a popular instructor of Landscape Painting.

In between marriages, Angeloch traveled again, often leaving Woodstock after midnight to catch the morning ferries to return to his beloved Monhegan Island. He made more than 40 crossings to this painter’s paradise, often taking other painters and friends with him, creating an inner circle of Woodstock painters on Monhegan. He took his children abroad to open their eyes to different cultures and vistas. At this time he also opened the Paradox Gallery, a long-standing Woodstock treasure, where he showed his own work and represented the work of leading artists from Woodstock’s golden age. On rare occasions, he gave emerging artists their first local exhibitions which has helped shape Woodstock’s current art scene.

In 1980, after nine years of courtship, he married dancer Mara MacDonald, and while maintaining his studio and the Paradox Gallery, Angeloch, along with MacDonald, Paula Nelson and a few other friends, garnered local support from many devoted patrons, and moved the WSA into the former studios of the Art Student’s League Summer School. These three, later joined by noted photographer and dear friend John Kleinhans, continued to oversee the management of this venerable institution with the help of a hand picked Board of Directors and Advisors, until the very recent past. Angeloch was present at the Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors two days before his passing.

Close friends and family will remember Bob as a passionate player of Ping Pong, a man who listened to Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass, who avidly watched tennis and the New York Giants from the comfort of his living room, perhaps enjoying a room temperature beer or a Jack Daniels (tall glass, two fingers, water, no ice). His students will remember the forthright guidance and keen eye of a consummate formalist; in his last years of teaching, well into his eighties, Angeloch could put his finger on a mark that needed to be eliminated, and have a picture snap together as if on command.

We’ll also remember an artist who served and inspired other artists by his example, his instruction, and by his perseverance in creating and sustaining an enduring legacy where the serious study of art will flourish, the tradition of fostering talented young artists will continue, and the keeping of a place where fellow artists can gather and share ideas will ensure a foothold for future artists to tell stories about the man who used to draw in the moonlight when nature presented an “Angeloch Sky.”

In addition to Mara, Eric, Alex and Nancy, four grandchildren; Christian, Ian, Anna, and Rebecca, two stepsons; Robert and Hilliard MacDonald, legions of dear friends and admirers survive Angeloch. Friends may call at Lashers Funeral Home 100 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY, Friday, March 25, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

A memorial scholarship fund has been has been created in his honor. Contributions may be made to the Woodstock School of Art, PO Box 338, Woodstock, NY 12498.

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