Saturday, January 23, 2010

Junius Allen (1898 – 1962)

Known for his realistic and moody paintings depicting coastal landscapes and harbors of New Jersey, New York and New England, Junius Allen was one of New Jersey's most promising artists of the twentieth century.

Junius Allen was born in Summit, New Jersey, in 1898. While a student at Kingsley Preparatory School, he was mentored by national academician, Arthur Woelfle, who encouraged him to hone his artistic skills. After many close calls in the First World War, Allen returned and took a job with a lithography firm in New York. While there, he studied at the New York School of Fine and Applied Art. At Woelfle's urging, he decided to enroll at the National Academy of Design. He also studied under Charles Hawthorne, Francis Jones, George Maynard, Ivan Olinsky and George Elmer Browne. Woelf1e also encouraged Allen to become active in the Salmagundi Club where he eventually played a distinguished role.

He was an academician of the National Academy of Design (vice president and chairman of the School Committee), and a member of the Salmagundi Club (vice president, corresponding secretary and chairman of the Art Committee).

He exhibited at the New York World's Fair (1939), the Audubon Artists, the New Rochelle Art Association (1952 prize), the American Artists Professional League, the Plainfield Art Association (1951 prize), the Montclair Art Association (1951 medal), the National Academy of Design (1933 prize, 1955 purchase award), the New Jersey Gallery in Newark (1934 prize), Allied Artists of America (1943,1949 prize) and the Salmagundi Club (1939, 1941, 1944), among others.

His work is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Montclair Art Museum, the Art Museum of the New Britain Institute, the State Teachers College of Trenton, New Jersey and in many private and institutional collections.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


20...SCOTCH PLAINS TIMES, January 6, 1966


A God Given Talent And A Love Of Art

Mildred Ponzio at work in her studio, (Photo by James E, Brooks)

By RUTH B. GILBERT - Staff Writer

Today, many of us are apt to"ground-hog it" when we see our own shadow,...somehow refusing to see ourselves or the day we live in. How often an artist stirs us out of ourselves and through his eyes we find laughter In what we thought dull and joy in what we thought gloomy.

In a makeshift garage studio,Scotch Plains resident Mildred Ponzio, produces artistic gems in oil, water colors, casein, etchings,black and white sketches and silk screening. It is with the latter medium that this story primarily concerns itself, and with Mrs, Ponzio1 s ability to bring pleasure to the eyes of the beholder through her God given talents.

Her love of art was evident even as a child, though it was then financially Impossible fop her to receive any instruction.After marriage to Scotch Plains native, Carl Ponzio, she took lessons in color and design from the famous muralist, Joachim Loeber, and these lessons were actually inspired when she received a first prize award for an oil painting at the Plainfield Art Association Show.

The next year, another oil,"New York Night", took first place again, followed by a series of awards at both plainfield and Westfield shows. She was in a three women show at the "Silo"in Morris Plains several year sago, and In 1961, had her own one woman show at Swain's In Plainfield,This past September, an exhibit of Mrs. Ponzio's works enhanced the interior of ScotchPlains' First National Bank.Curious as to how she became involved in the process of silkscreening, I was told her lessons with Seymour Lansman commenced soon after she saw, and became fascinated by, an exhibition at the Newark Library.

Silk Screen, or "Serigraph",is a perfection of the early type of stencil printing used by the ancients. It is based on the fundamental principle of the stencil that if paint or any other colored fluid is rubbed over a stencil,it will readily penetrate the unprotected portions and will be unable to pass through the masked portions. The stencil is place don a silk screen which acts as its support (made from stretching a piece of stencil silk across a wooden frame), A squeegee, simulator the kind used for cleaning windows, is used to force the ink or paint through the open areas of the stencil. Because of the versatility of the process, silkscreen printing may be used on almost any surface including cloth, metal, wood, glass, plastic and paper,

A semi-abstract design entitled"Ivy Castle" was Mrs.Ponzio's first attempt at silkscreening. While many artists use a different stencil for each color, she uses a different stencil to emphasize the design. "I like to work with the whole colorscale in one operation", she noted, "and my paintings reflect what I feel not necessarily what I see," In some instances, the picture is completed before she decides what it looks like and names it,

A series of three scenes depicting the "Story of Christ"hangs in the Sycamore Street living room. In free form black and white, the story of the Annunciation,the Birth of Christand St. John foretelling the coming of the Messiah, testifies tothe depth of feeling created in Mrs. Ponzio's religious works.Her "The Cathedral" took a Plainfield Art Show award and"The Madonna" hanging nearby,is a remarkable example of an abstract form, for you can see something different in it each time you look at it.

Her oil paintings, all of which are encased in frames made byher husband, include "The Lord's Supper" (magnificent!), "The Scourging of Christ" and "Madonna".My favorite is entitled"Flowerpiece",.,.done in polntilistic style in which every stroke is applied separately with a knife to o b t a i n a tapestry effect,"Flowerplece" was exhibited several years ago at the Library of Congress in Washington, D,C,Daughter, Linda, a Senior atScotch Plains - Fanwood High School, is following closely in her mother's footsteps and has already won awards at Girl Scout exhibitions and in St. Bartholomew Christmas card design contests.Some of her works were shown with Mrs, Ponzio's in the Swain Art Store exhibition in Plainfield, Aspiring to become a caricaturist, Linda is active in high school art activities and won first prize for her car decorations for the pre-football game motorcade before the Hillside game,

Mildred Ponzio devotes every spare moment to her hobby and has taught classes of Girl Scouts,C.Y.O, groups and offered some private Instruction as well. She firmly believes that anyone with enough drive and ambition can achieve a degree of success in art work.

She particularly enjoys silkscreening because one step can be done' at a time, and for a busy homemaker and mother of four children, this is a definite advantage.Exhibiting at the Montclair Art Museum, the Hunterton County Art Show, the Art Show of the Oranges, The American Artists*Professional League andBambergers' Show of the Year,has resulted in awards which fill several scrapbooks.

The lives of countless friend shave been enriched by her generous gifts of art. Even this lucky writer is now the proud possessor of a lovely silk screen abstract.My crystal ball predicts Mildred Ponzio's name will appear high on the list of New Jersey's foremost artists!