Artists of Lake George: Thomas Furlong
Of the husband and wife who established the artists’ colony at Golden Heart Farm in Bolton Landing in 1921, Weber Furlong is now the better known.
Bur during Thomas Furlong’s lifetime, he was the more prominent of the two artists.
According to James Kettlewell, a former curator at The Hyde, it was only after Thomas Furlong’s death in 1952 that Weber Furlong emerged as an artist in her own right.
The two met in Mexico City in 1913. Weber Furlong was working as a translator for the president of Mexico, Porfiro Diaz. Thomas Furlong was also in the service of Diaz, but in a somewhat different capacity. The company founded by his father, the Thomas Furlong Secret Service Company of St. Louis, assisted the president with security and intelligence.
In 1921, the couple purchased a Civil War-era farm in Bolton Landing, a town which Weber Furlong had come to know through opera singer Louise Homer.
Both Furlongs worked at the Art Students League in New York , and the artists and students whom they met through the school, people such as David Smith, Dorothy Dehner, Max Weber and John Graham, all came to Bolton Landing to spend weeks or months at Golden Heart Farm.
The Furlongs supported themselves in part through their teaching. Thomas Furlong’s commercial work earned them additional income.
Thomas Furlong’s jobs included designing fabric for Wanamaker’s department store in Philadelphia.
But his best client was Bethlehem Steel, for which he created murals, advertisements, packaging and portraits.
Despite the fact that Bethlehem Steel was one of the most powerful corporations in America, Furlong produced work for the company in the style of the left-leaning social realists of the 1930s and even the in the Constructivist mode of post-revolutionary Russia.
But, as was the case with Rockwell Kent, Diego Rivera and the many artists who painted murals for the government during the New Deal, political ideals were rarely allowed to interfere with a much-needed commission!