continued Morris, who was married to artist Fred Gardner, was 54 years old when she created the image of Durston’s with its 1884 cornerstone clearly visible in the structure’s cornice. For a watercolorist, Morris’ imagery is incredibly crisp. Her fun-loving sense of scene transformed this otherwise dull urban parking lot into a playground of possibilities.
On the other hand, oil painter Beatrice Wose-Smith gazes deeply into the dark in her 1937 painting “Winter Night, Fayette Park.” The artist was just 29 years old when she put this image to canvas, a noir-ish cityscape suggesting a depth of melancholy and foreboding rare for one so young.
Barren tree limbs curl like malicious fingers toward the center of the painting framed by the park’s wrought-iron fence in the foreground and East Fayette Street in the background. The University Club’s welcoming columns call out as a possible safe haven as an unseen evil overshadows all. The black trees loom above autos on the street and throw murky shadows on the otherwise pristine snow.
Within two years of Wose-Smith’s work, nine Syracuse firefighters would lose their lives in the Collins Block fire on Feb. 2 and 3, 1939. A memorial was later erected by the city on the east side of the Fayette Park, now known as Firefighters’ Memorial Park.
Although created just a few years after the magical realism of “Winter Night” and a decade before the scenic hyperrealism of “The Durston Building,” Wilfred J. Addison Jr.’s 47x30-inch “DL&W Depot” revels in impressionism. His feathery brush strokes depict the train station that was located on West Jefferson Street roughly where the OnTrack station now stands. The same year he painted the depot, Addison embarked on a personal journey when he married his North High School sweetheart, Jennie DiStefano. The couple later studied fine arts together at Syracuse University.