Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hanley House

Hanley House, 36x48, Oil on Canvas, Framed, Signed By Dick Burg, Courtesy of The City of Clayton, MO.

Squire Martin Hanley House, 7600 Westmoreland, was build in 1855. It is the oldest surviving structure and the only antebellum house remaining in the City of Clayton. The black oak that was in front of the house was known as “Lord Oak” by the family. It was about 300-years old. The tree has since been removed. Dick rearranged the composition to enhance the view of the house.

Hanley House Study, Richard O. Burg, 12x16, Oil on Masonite, Framed, Signed by Dick Burg, Courtesy of Pat Hughes

"The painting hung for years at the Clayton Club not the Missouri Athletic Club. The Clayton Club was a luncheon club basically for businessmen who worked in the Clayton area. It was located on the top floor of some office building in the city of Clayton. When the Clayton Club disbanded around 1990, my father retrieved the painting for our family. I think he either donated the painting to the Club or was responsible for the sale of the painting to the Club for your father. As I recall, the painting hung behind the bar at the Club. The original painting was a very severe stern looking Ralph Clayton, the namesake of the city and the Club. My father was a member of the Club and on the decorating committee. He said that he and other members did not like staring at this stern looking portrait while having a drink so my father convinced the Club to replace it with your dad's painting."
- As told by Bob Pommer

Finally it was donated to City of Clayton in July of 2010 by Bob Pommer and Peter Burg.

Hanley House as viewed in the early 1980's

Excerpt from letter to Dick Englesmann.
Cousin Bob Pommer and I took off for our 2:00 PM appointment with Sarah Umlauf, Community Resource Coordinator Parks & Recreation for the Center of Clayton, located at 50 Gay Ave. Sarah was impressed with the painting’s size and quality. She also liked the fact that my father took liberty in painting the house without the large black oak tree obstructing the view. She gave us her qualifications and background information and explained that the Hanley House only houses artifacts of the period pertaining to the Hanley family. This meant my father’s painting would not reside there. She further mentioned that the committee that would be considering accepting artworks was meeting that afternoon. She was confident that the Hanley House painting would be accepted and a great addition to the Saint Louis Artist’s Guild permanent collection. She assured us that the care of our item would be under strict museum quality control. In the end, the painting was donated and gratefully accepted. I took a quick digital picture and we exchanged all pertinent information regarding the artist and contact numbers and address for both Bob and I.

Historic Hanley House 2010 with Bob Pommer and Sarah Umlauf.

That being accomplished, Sarah invited us for a private tour of the Hanley House at 7600 Westmoreland Ave. Bob and I accidentally drove right past it because it is set back from the road and obscured by large black oak trees. I snapped a few candid shots of Bob and Sarah in the front yard. Apparently, descendents of Martin Franklin Hanley lived there until the 1950’s. The inside decor was typical of the mid 1800’s, tic bedding, coal fire place, painted pine floor, shot gun handy, portraits of family, etc… The kitchen was separate from the house for reasons of fire safety. This was also the quarters of the slave girl who cooked and maintained the house. Martin Hanley was a black smith by trade and a slave owner. He also constructed the Hanley road.

Bob and I thanked Sarah for the tour and looked forward to our future correspondence and we took leave. Our next stop was the Oak Knoll Estate which houses the Saint Louis Artist’s Guild and Galleries. It is a magnificent location with expansive grounds and majestic buildings…

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