The photo is familiar.

Gertrude Seiberling is wearing a hat and an overcoat, working on a landscape painting on the grounds of Akron's Stan Hywet Hall.

The black and white image has been used countless times in publications and educational displays at the estate that was once home to the founding family of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

For the first time visitors will have a chance to not only see the photograph, but also the actual painting Gertrude — wife of Frank (F.A.) Seiberling — was working on that depicts the estate's famed Carriage House.

It is all part of this season's theme, Lasting Impressions, that features Gertrude's artistic side.

The family matriarch dabbled in painting as a child but didn't seriously work to hone her skills until age 64.

"She just decided one day she wanted to paint again," said curator Julie Frey.

Gertrude went on to study and paint for the next 16 years, until her death in 1946. It is estimated that she created about 150 paintings in that time, some left unfinished.

Thirty of the artworks are on display at the estate. Frey said many of them will be on public view for the first time, as they are on loan from descendants.

Stan Hywet has 101 of the paintings as part of its collection of family possessions. Another 40 belong to family members.

Frey said friends of the estate in recent years acquired a painting that showed up on eBay. It depicted the Bath Township home of a friend of Gertrude.

This estate's collection includes brushes and the actual paint boxes she used, with paint still in the tubes. There are two such boxes in the collection, but just one is on display because the other wooden box is so large.

Most of the artworks depict the estate and its grounds that at the time included some 1,500 acres.

Her first painting — depicting the then-unspoiled Cuyahoga Valley from the estate's backyard — is among those on view, along with six others of the nine she created that first year.

Perhaps her most famous work is "Closing In," which won an art prize in New York and is also included in the exhibit. It depicts encroaching progress, with cars of the era outside of the 124 Acme store at the corner of West Market and South Maple streets in Akron, with a large tree and a home in the background.

Frey said painting was a serious endeavor and not just a hobby. "She did a little bit of everything," she said. "She tried to stretch herself."

Like "Closing In," some of the works were set beyond the stately gates of the North Portage Path estate. One depicts an industrial plant in Barberton, and there are sketchbooks of the sights she captured while touring Hawaii and Italy.

There are also paintings of the family's cottage retreat in Michigan.

"Most of these have never been shown at Stan Hywet since the family owns them," Frey said.

The 2019 season begins April 2. Starting in June, other artists inspired by Gertrude's works will have their own outdoor creations on display in the estate's gardens through September for "Fused: Garden Gallery of Art & Metal."

The estate is offering a book, "The Art of Gertrude Seiberling," to commemorate the artwork and garden installation. It's the fifth in a series about the estate and the family.

A new event this summer is Off the Vine, an evening of pairing of food and wine on July 19. Guests can tour the Manor House and sample more than 60 varieties of wine paired with small bites while musicians perform in the gardens.

The Molto Bella Auto Show will be Sept. 8 featuring exotic and rare automobiles. The theme for this year's Deck the Hall celebration in November and December is a "Classic Comic Hero Christmas" in the Manor House.

Inside the Manor House, new informative rails will be installed in 10 rooms, offering educational tidbits.

Frey said they have revamped this year's visitors guide to make it more reader friendly and easier to navigate, so guests can better find their way on the accompanying map.

For the first time last year, they invited guests to offer feedback at the end of tours. The comments were "outstandingly positive," but Frey said some guests on the self-guided tours pointed out that the each room is assigned a number on the map but there were no corresponding numbers inside the home.

Numbers matching those in the guidebook map have been added so guests don't get lost in the Manor House, which has 18 bedrooms, 23 fireplaces and 64,500 square feet of space — the equivalent of a football field.

 

Craig Webb can be reached at cwebb@thebeaconjournal.com.