Visitors to the newly reopened Lake Placid Lodge in Lake Placid, New York, may be surprised to encounter a large collection of paintings, comprised mostly of works by members of the Hudson River school depicting Adirondack scenes. While many of the works are by artists whose names are probably not familiar to most-William Richardson Tyler, John Olson Hammerstad, Nelson Augustus Moore, James Brade Sword, Augustus Rockwell, and G. H. Boughton-there are some surprises. Among them is a small but beautiful Sunrise, Lake George painted in oil on canvas by Sanford Robinson Gifford in 1877, which hangs near the reception desk. The Philadelphia painter Benjamin Champney’s Whiteface Mountain, Lake Placid of 1878 depicts a scene that is nearly identical to what one sees today just outside the hotel and was likely painted a few hundred yards down the shore of the lake. It hangs in the hotel’s grand stairwell, which was designed to serve as a sort of gallery for the paintings. Hidden away in a vestibule outside one of the guest rooms is another highlight, Arthur Fitzwilliam Tate’s Long Lake of 1875, which features in the foreground a group of three deer-including a majestic six-point buck-gazing up at a group of soaring birds.
The lodge’s owner David Garrett began assembling the collection, which once numbered some sixty-five paintings, more than two decades ago for another of his hotels, The Point at Saranac Lake. When he sold that property last year, he retained some twenty-five of his favorite works to be installed at the Lake Placid Lodge. He purchased most of them from small auction houses and from the New York dealer Lou Salerno and the dealer Dennis Chernyshov, who used to live in Garrett’s home state of Vermont but has recently moved to Minnesota.
While Garrett has mostly limited his acquisitions to nineteenth-century American works, he has strayed on occasion. The real showstopper of the collection is Baby Bootlegger, a large horizontal scene painted by the French painter Philippe Conrad about 1925. It depicts the speedboat Baby Bootlegger-which, according to Garrett, won the American national champion speedboat title in 1921 and 1925-cruising around Lake Placid. Garrett says that some of the locals have told him about seeing the boat when it toured the area in the 1920s; today its home is Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire.
Lake Placid Lodge
129 Whiteface Inn Lane
Lake Placid, NY 12946
All images courtesy of Lake Placid Lodge.