Barbara Hadden, a realist painter, has lived in Sag Harbor for 30+ years. She paints the harbor’s architecture – homes, streets, shops, and farmscapes. Her landscapes and architectural portraits of Sag Harbor and the East End of the 1800 and 1900’s, reveal a vanishing quaintness. Hadden’s pieces bestow honor on the town’s historic stature through her poised lines and crisp color combinations. From buildings painted in color-block style to the rustling of a flag flying on the windmill flagpole, simple at first look – attention is paid to detail and positions and endless and effortless shading.
A devotee of Edward Hopper, her style is crisp and clean. Her live models are the architecture, streets, and shops of Sag Harbor, painted in a style solitary, stark, and pure. Her scenarios are devoid of human figures, emitting a mysterious and even haunting sense of drama. Longtime residents will recognize an otherworldliness from times past. A mood created by nuanced soft light and shadow, the paintings are subdued with an inner even mystical light. Silence is allowed to seep in. Contrary to the lonely and empty moods she creates, she counteracts this melancholy with her often bright palette, capturing sunlight on the architecture and fields.
Favorites in the show, icons of Sag Harbor are the red brick “The American Hotel,” with its absolute whiteness with white clothed tables awaiting their hungry patrons. Ranking high on the list of icons is the pristine pure white Sag Harbor Cinema facade, complete with neon signage and miniature posters of currently playing movies – her favorites. A deep breath and sigh are emitted in looking at this painting done after the fire. One can see in her painting, it has been painstakingly restored to its original glory! “Bucking’s 5¢ & 10¢,” complete with its coin operated galloping horse waiting for its local cowboy or cowgirl outside its windows is the gem of gems in the crown of her Sag Harbor renderings. She depicts the sweeping and graceful “Sag Harbor Bridge” under dark clouds with a delicate blending from gray and moody to emerging sunlight. “Romany Kramoris Gallery” jolts the viewer with its daunting 1850’s stoop, used by carriages to drop off Main Street shoppers (back then the streets were mud). In the gallery window she captures the exhibit of the time, literally painting a miniature Barbara Groot abstract and a teensy tiny miniature of Jorge Silveira’s “Fisherman.” There are several renderings of the well-kept and pruned colonial homes as well as the mansard home on Main Street.
Sometimes wandering off to the North Fork, she has captured the Hampton’s potato fields, plots of cauliflower, corn and red cabbage, and the Riverhead beds of lettuce with vast perspective, now mostly diminished. Hadden’s large canvas portrays the four seasons in panels side by side, reminding us that Sag Harbor is a living village passing through the seasons year after year after year.
Barbara Hadden is a self taught artist whose works can be found in many collections. Settled in Sag Harbor, she is a long time resident of the Hamptons who finds the architecture and landscape of Eastern Long Island a continuous source of inspiration. A source of inspiration, definitely influenced as she says, by Edward Hopper’s style and moods. Beginning to paint in the late 70’s in a primitive style using acrylic and ink, she made a departure to watercolor in recent years, and now enjoys working with oils.
Barbara’s swan song exhibition is at Romany Kramoris Gallery from November 4 through November 29, with a reception on Saturday, November 13, from 5-6:30 PM. Refreshments.
41 Main Street
PO Box 2664
Sag Harbor, NY 11963
Open 7 days from 11am -7pm
Closed some Tues & Weds
Open later weekend nights