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University of Connecticut University Libraries

January 22 - March 7, 2008


Newburgh - Beacon ferries, 1932, by John Fleming Gould

Newburgh - Beacon ferries over the Hudson River, 1932,
by John Fleming Gould

Rail, Rural and River: The Art of John Fleming Gould

Dodd Research Center Gallery
Curator: Laura Katz Smith

This exhibit features paintings, prints, ceramic tiles and railroad spike sculptures by the noted artist and illustrator John Fleming Gould (1906 - 1996). Born in Worcester, Massachustts, Gould exhibited an early aptitude for drawing but hoped to pursue a career in engineering rather than as an artist. When his math abilities proved insufficient to gain him entrance to engineering school, he decided to exploit his natural artistic talent and enrolled in the Pratt Institute in 1923. Following his graduation in 1927, he taught in the Pratt evening division for 22 years.

Rail, Rural and River focuses on three aspects of Gould’s work: his fascination with railroading, his watercolor landscapes of rural areas, and his love of the Hudson River.

The rail portion of the exhibit features images of the New Haven Railroad’s historic and modern passenger and freight trains crossing the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie, New York. Among many other railroad scenes are those depicting the New York Central Railroad. Gould captured the power and grandeur of railroading in compelling and spectacular detail. Ceramic picture tiles and railroad spike sculptures created for the General Electric Company display the diversity of his artistic skills.

Gould’s watercolor paintings of rural landscapes in New York and New England show another facet of his talent, and images of the great Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge and the Newburgh-Beacon Twin Spans delight the eye with their depiction of the magnificent Hudson River and the engineering splendor of these structures.

Gould’s career spanned more than 70 years. From 1927 to 1941 he produced an estimated 15,000 illustrations for the pulp paper industry and, from 1941 to 1948, he accomplished a vast amount of work for Saturday Evening Post, Redbook, Colliers, Good Housekeeping, Popular Science and Outdoor Life. For the next 37 years, Gould created art and advertising illustrations for the General Electric Company in Erie, Pennsylvania, and Schenectady, New York. He was also associated with the BBD&O and Young & Rubican advertising agencies in New York City.

In 1957 John and Mary Gould established the Bethlehem Art Gallery in Salisbury Mills, New York. Information about the gallery can be found at

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