Bromfield’s Home Artwork

The Foundation is funding ongoing work on the restoration & preservation of artwork in the Big House

Rehanging of the protrait of Louis and Mary in the red room after cleaning and restoration funded by foundation

In 2014, the Malabar Farm Foundation began funding a restoration and preservation project for Louis Bromfield’s extensive art collection in the Big House at Malabar Farm. Over 100 pieces of artwork have been identified as needing some level of restoration work, including oil paintings, watercolors, prints, sculptures, and documents. To date, 43 oil paintings, 3 watercolor paintings, and a series of French still-life prints have been restored by the Inter-museum Conservation Association (ica) in Cleveland. More than $90,000 has been contributed by the Foundation toward this effort, and work continues, with more than 50 pieces on paper (paintings, ink drawings, prints, documents etc.) still in need of attention. 

When the art restoration project is completed the Foundation hopes to turn its attention to the preservation of original Bromfield family textiles displayed in the Big House, especially the several bedspreads in Mary Bromfield’s Bedroom, the Black Guest Room, and the Honeymoon Room. 

Grandma Moses painting “Springtime”

The Grandma Moses painting is one of two given to Bromfield by Grandma Moses in appreciation of his having written the introduction to her 1947 autobiography Grandma Moses : American Primitive. 

Grandma Moses Portrait photo
Grandma Moses : American Primitive Painter, (Anna Mary Robertson Moses) was born in the state of New York in 1860. After getting married she moved to a farm in Virginia. Upon her husband’s death in 1927 she returned to New York, where she died in 1961. She began to paint in her mid 70s, after arthritis, made needlepoint difficult. She chose as her subjects her memories of the happy rural times she had experienced during her long life. She painted nearly 1600 pictures, 25 after turning 100. She was a self-taught folk artist, by far the most famous and popular folk artist of the 20 th century. She was “discovered” in 1938 when an art collector saw her paintings on display in a local drug store. She had her first one-person-show in New York in 1940. The painting in the Red Room is titled “Springtime” the second painting a winter scene is titled “the Postman Cometh“.

Grandma Moses painting “Postman Cometh”
J. Anthony Wills painting
J. Anthony Wills. Portrait artist James Anthony Wills was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1912. Many times, he only used the initial of his first name when signing his work. In addition to Louis Bromfield’s portrait, painted in 1946, Will’s list of prominent subjects includes: George C. Marshall, Henry Kissinger, and Presidents Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Richard Nixon. The Anthony Wills portraits of Presidents Truman and Nixon hang in the stairway leading to the East Room of the White House. Wills always painted in oils and rarely painted on canvas, preferring Masonite, which he said was more durable. However, the Bromfield portrait, which includes his favorite boxer Prince, was painted on canvas. This painting was one of the first of two pieces of artwork that the Malabar Farm Foundation had restored at the beginning of their multi-year Big House art restoration project. This is a project that continues today with the help of the professional staff at the Intermuseum Conservation Association (ica) in Cleveland, Ohio. James Anthony Wells died in 1993.