Welcome to this Centennial Exhibition: Artifacts, of a life, well lived. It contains the works of William Clark Vreeland presented in seven galleries representing the decades of his life.
The galleries of this exhibition contain oils, watercolors, prints, silk screens, photographs, wood and stone sculptures, technology and other installations.
The exhibition begins in Woodlawn Heights, New York, where Bill Vreeland was born on 20 February 1916. He was raised in Woodlawn and Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and spent time as a child at his grandfather’s farm in Pawling, New York.
Bill’s family worked in construction and his grandfather owned a construction company that built elegant examples of the Gilded Age. When the Great Depression came the Vreeland family was hit hard.
In his early high school years Bill discovered art and his talent for it. At DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx he took art courses and illustrated the Literary Magazine.
After graduation, Bill started his own business, a sign shop. One day at the neighborhood bakery he met Hazel, his wife to be. It was love at first sight for the two of them.
Shortly after Bill and Hazel were married, the world was plunged into World War two. Bill enlisted in the United States Navy.
From 1943 to 1945 he served in the South Pacific as a Radar Operator. His travels took him to Guadalcanal, Vela LaVela, New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands and Fiji.
After the war, Bill returned home to his job at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He and Hazel started a family and built their dream home in Yonlers, New York.
During the fifties, Bill sketched and painted frequently, while raising the children Donna and Thomas. Some of his most accomplished work was done during this period.
Bill worked in the Display Department at the Museum. He started hand lettering all of the gold leafed labels put on works of art. Later he became a Master Calligrapher.
His other responsibility was to design and print posters and sign cards using the silk screen process called serigraphy. Over the next 42 years at the museum he created over a thousand posters.
The Seventies were a decade of building and culmination. With houses in Yonkers, Hillsdale, and Copake there were always building projects. Bill renovated a Greek Revival house in Hillsdale as an antique shop for Hazel.
He also expanded the garage at the house on the lake in Copake for their eventual retirement. All the while he painted local scenes and community landmarks.
Retirement came in 1977 and Bill could finally focus exclusively on his arts and crafts. During this period he worked extensively in many different media.
On his 70th Birthday, in 1986, Bill’s lifelong dream of flying came true. He flew in a powered aircraft, a glider, a hot air balloon, and flew a hang glider in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. For many years therafter he could be seen flying his hang glider on local hills around Copake.