MARGARET LEVESON
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THE PAKATAKAN ART COLONY

The following material was adapted, with permission, from an article in the Catskill Center News, April, 2008.

The Pakatakan Artists Colony was a turn-of-the-century gathering of artists who spent time in the small hamlet of Arkville, NY. The colony began prior to 1886 when a prominent landscape painter from New York City, J. Francis Murphy, found accommodation in Arkville and urged Peter Hoffman, a local businessman and proprietor of the house where he boarded, to build a hotel, today called the Pakatakan Hotel. Murphy brought his painter friends to visit the area. In 1887 Alexander H. Wyant arrived here from the Adirondacks. Others who came on a regular basis were Parker Mann, E. Loyal Field, Frank Russell Green, H.D. Kruseman Van Elten, George Smillie, Walter Clark, Arthur Parton, Ernest C. Rost, and J. Woodhull Adams.

Many artists stayed in the hotel, but some purchased property and built their own studios. They did not want their houses to dominate nature, but attempted to blend them with the rounded tree-covered mountains of the Catskills. What were built on a grand scale were the artistsí studios, with windows often rising two stories in height and facing north to bring in the light. The artists of the Pakatakan colony were different from their predecessors, the Hudson River School. Their brush strokes emphasized delicacy, coloring and light.

In 1988, after five years of research and documentation, the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development was able to obtain the nomination for the Pakitakan Artists Colony to be recognized by the National Register as a historic district.

Margaret Leveson, who now owns and has been using the studio of J. Francis Murphy since 1977, has painted extensively on the grounds of the Pakatakan Artists' Colony. In 2008, she was invited by The Catskill Center's Erpf Gallery to exhibit more than 25 of her paintings of the Colony's cottages and interiors.

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© 2012 Margaret Leveson