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New England Massachusetts Barn
1920-30 Engraving



From The Dauer Collection

Engraving on Paper
12.5"x14.5" framed, 3.5"x5.25" unframed

This 1920-30 engraving on paper New England Massachusetts barn scene is by the artist William Caldwell Bowlen. Excellent vintage condition. Framed in a restored vintage hand-carved wood frame with carved leaf details and a dark wood finish, bottom right leaf is missing a small piece but has been stained to harmonize with the rest of the frame. The piece is matted using archival matting behind conservation clear glass.

About the Artist

William Caldwell Bowlen (1868-1934) was born in Newburyport, MA on May 10, 1868. He lived in Greenfield, and later in Holyoke, MA. At the age of twenty-four, Bowlen went to work with Anthony Towle, a skilled designer and engraver of fine silver, in Greenfield. When Towle went bankrupt ten years later, Bowlen and several others purchased the factory and founded Rogers, Lunt & Bowlen Company. Bowlen became the vice-president and supervisor of manufacturing until his retirement from the company in 1929. W.C. Bowlen, as well as his son Nord, both designed a number of timeless and highly collected silver patterns. But W.C. Bowlen was also a talented artist who captured the landscapes and people around him in his artwork. As a skilled etcher, he produced the images in limited editions of etchings. On May 17, 1934 Bowlen died suddenly in Greenfield of a heart attack. He was sixty-six years old.

About the Collector

John A. Dauer (1933-2017) was a collector of many things, the vast majority of which convey stories of hard work, craftsmanship, industry, unsung histories, and associations with those he loved and respected. 

Born and raised on Staten Island, New York in 1933, John grew up among a close-knit family of entrepreneurial bakers, wood carvers, and leather merchants. He graduated in 1954 from Columbia College with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology.  He went on to work with his father John Sr., at the New York City-based John A. Dauer Leather Company.

During and after his undergraduate studies, John enrolled in painting, print making, and sculpture classes at Columbia, the New School for Social Research, and Greenwich House. Many of his teachers (including Margot Kempe and Peppino Mangravite) were recent European emigres and WPA artists, sympathetic to the themes of social realism and late modernism.

Although he made his living and supported his family as a leather salesman, John consistently maintained an interest in, and passion for, the creative work of artists and craft people throughout his life. The subjects and scale of his collecting varied over the years (from large 18th century cupboards to hand carved fishing lures), but let’s just say his houses and barns often resembled mini-Mercer Museums.

During his last 2 decades, John focused his collecting efforts on the work of print makers and painters who reminded him or were directly associated with those who influenced him during his New York youth. Images and the stories of sailors, stevedores, factory workers, craftsmen, pushcart vendors, musicians, stoop sitters, and artists abound.