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The Fred W. Noyes, Jr. Centennial

May 14 - September 4, 2005


(above: Fred Winslow Noyes Jr., Self Portrait at Age 20 Years, oil on canvas, 18 1/2 x 15 1/2 inches)


The Fred W. Noyes, Jr. Centennial, running from May 14 - September 4, 2005, presents a unique collection of Noyes' artwork to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth. The Fred W. Noyes, Jr. Centennial features the artistic expressions of entrepreneur, artist and arts enthusiast Fred W. Noyes, Jr. who founded the Noyes Museum of Art along with his wife Ethel in 1983. Mr. Noyes was academically trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and continued his studies at the Barnes Foundation. He prolifically created art throughout his life. His work is well represented in the Museum's collection of American fine and folk art and is periodically rotated on view in the galleries.(right: Fred Winslow Noyes Jr., Cedar in Summer, oil on board, 14 1/4 x 16 1/4 inches)


Wall text from the exhibition

Fred W. Noyes, Jr. Centennial

Fred Noyes' passion for the arts coincided with his accomplishments as an entrepreneur. His life took many turns and twists from his early years in Philadelphia to his final homestead in Port Republic, NJ. Noyes' journey in the realm of painting reflects influences from artists active at the turn of the century both in America and France, and later he exhibited lessons garnered from early American modernists such as Arthur Dove and Stuart Davis. His early works exemplify an interest in the Post-Impressionists, Cézanne in particular, and the Pennsylvania Impressionists from Bucks County Daniel Garber, Edward Redfield and John Folinsbee.

Fred Noyes, at the early age of 21, studied at The Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art, now the University of the Arts, and enrolled in 1928 at The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He approached the arts, at this point, as if it were his life's mission. However, his stay at the Academy was brief, because he wished to experiment outside the strict classical painting styles that were fostered there. He would subsequently, at the invitation of Albert Barnes, study at the Barnes Foundation in Merion, P A, along with several other students who left the Academy in the 1930s seeking new and fresh means of expression. The Barnes curriculum was very different from that of the Academy. Albert Barnes had amassed a significant collection of Post-Impressionists, Modernists, African, Greek, Roman and Native American art and artifacts by this time, and sessions with students were held in galleries containing his collection. Barnes fostered a student-centered program emphasizing the development of critical problem solving skills. Art making was not taught at the Barnes Foundation. Students did not make drawings or paintings of the work in the collection; they experienced the work and discussed various theories of composition and design. Barnes promoted the art of seeing and the instructors at the foundation cultivated the development of perceptual skills in their students. Immediately preceding his tenure at the Barnes Foundation Fred Noyes began to experiment with abstraction. The Museum owns a number of works on paper of these free form exploits in composition and design, constructed with various assortments of lines, forms and shapes. (left: Fred Winslow Noyes Jr., Green Apples, 1931, oil on canvas, 28 x 32 inches)

In the early to mid-1930s, Fred Noyes painted still lifes of fruit, fish and assorted objects. It can be assumed that his paintings of nudes and "Self Portrait at Age 20 Years." were works from his days at the Academy. However, what is most notable about these works, through application of paint and palette, is that Noyes' approach was influenced by his study of the art of Paul Cézanne. Volume and spatial relationships were based on selective color choices and application of paint in patches. Prevalent were illuminated central areas within his compositions in which objects and form were defined by shadows, formulating distinctive shapes, often with the objects accentuated in dark or black outline. The brooding backgrounds of his paintings of floral arrangements are visceral and expressionistic. One could conjecture if works such as "Composition #73" and "River Lilies" alluded to the impasto paintings of European masters or were created later in Noyes' career, when he may have encountered the work of Chaim Soutine.

His landscapes were more realistically rendered than his still lifes; yet, the tenets of Impressionism can still be felt. It was in 1933 that Fred Noyes moved to southern New Jersey with his mother and ailing father. Most of the landscapes on display, with the exception of the painting of the Philadelphia Art Museum, were based on locations close to the Mullica River in the Pine Barrens. It was this region and Noyes' love for the river, cedar trees, fish and fowl and other aspects of the bucolic landscape that would inform his later work; albeit, instead of realistically rendered elements from his rural surroundings, his subjects would be highly stylized decorative motifs. He spent most of his time during the mid-to late-1930s fishing with the locals, painting and drawing. Noyes attended the Barnes Foundation between 1936 -1938 and was drafted into the Army in 1941. After World War II, Noyes married Ethel Lingelbach and established an antique business in Absecon, NJ, one of his first capital ventures. He also, during this period, taught individual art classes. (right: Fred Winslow Noyes Jr., Sailboats, acrylic on board, 22 x 17 inches)

Fred Noyes' greatest inspiration was the out-of-doors. He repeatedly referenced fish, fowl and sailboats with compositions that contained burning red suns. With his recurring use of the fish motif that dominates many of the works created between the 1970s and '80s, one can speculate that he may have been symbolically alluding to the personae of Christ. "Untitled" has innumerable representations of vertical fish forms with overlapping thick black lines, possibly a fishing net, across the surface with a setting sun in the background. In the upper left hand corner is a channel marker that could also serve as a crucifix. Noyes may have been more involved with religious concepts than he revealed.

Fred Noyes vacillated between diverse modes of abstraction in paintings on board, canvas and paper. His dominant repertoire of shapes and forms included bars, circles, squares and oblong forms. His landscapes and still lifes were highly stylized, reducing objects to basic geometric shapes. Many of his works could be considered prototypes for textiles. Of note, Noyes' father was involved in the textile industry and this may have had a lasting influence on his imagery. "Untitled," on loan from the Mary Ann and Jim Robson collection, and "Triple Triptych" from the Museum's collection, were created early in Noyes' career. They were precursors to experiments in design that would become bold and colorful during his later years. From his forays with geometric design evident in the painting "Star/Checkerboard" to the stylistic lyricism of "Ballet, 1976" and gestural pieces such as "Swirls (Black, Lilac, and Green)" and "Swirls," Noyes created paintings and works on paper that celebrated his multivalent investigations of abstract form. Throughout his life he seemed to be on a quest to bring to the surface his unique vision, responding to internal whims and directives, arriving at an eclectic body of work that was exclusively his own.

A. M. Weaver
Curator of Exhibitions and Collections


Biography of Fred and Ethel Noyes

Mr. & Mrs. Fred W. Noyes, Jr. are best known as the developers of Historic Smithville Inn and the surrounding Towne of Historic Smithville Inn. They also created the Ram's Head Inn restaurant in Absecon, and were the founders and chief benefactors of The Noyes Museum of Art.

Fred Noyes was born in Philadelphia in 1905. His early education was at the John Marshall School in the Frankfort section of Philadelphia, where he displayed an inborn talent for art and design. He pursued and developed his artistic interest at the Industrial Arts School of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Barnes. Foundation in Merion, Pa. His paintings appeared in many one-man gallery shows,and one of his paintings is owned by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Over 200 of his paintings are in the Noyes Museum collection. (right: Fred Winslow Noyes Jr., Portraits and Gloves, oil on canvas 36 x 54 inches)

He served as chairman of the Galloway Township Tercentennial Committee and on the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Restaurant Association. He was also active in Kiwanis International, the New Jersey Travel and Resort Association, the Southern New Jersey Development Council, the Atlantic County Historical Society, the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce and the Association for the Arts of the New Jersey State Museum. .

Ethel Noyes, born Ethel Marie Lingelbach, was raised on an old southern New Jersey farm. She was proud of the fact that her father's great-great-grandmother was a full-blooded Native American and lived near the Mullica River. Under her father's guidance, she learned the folklore of the region. From her mother, whose parents lived in Dresden, she acquired her taste for lovely things. At an early age, she began her first collection of primitive American folk art.

Ethel served as Vice President of the New Jersey Restaurant Association, on the Governor's Commission on the Status of women in New Jersey and on the Board of Governors of the Atlantic City Medical Center. She was a member of the daughters of the American Revolution, the New Jersey Historic Trust, the American Businesswomen's Association and the Citizens Committee for National Library Week in New Jersey. She was named one of the 10 Top Business Women in New Jersey by the New Jersey Manufacturers' Association, the Good Scout Award by the Boy Scouts of America and in 1996 was inducted into the Atlantic County Women's Hall of Fame.

The Noyeses established the Mr. and Mrs. Fred Winslow Noyes Foundation on June 8, 1973, with the intention of forming a museum that would reflect their interests. Upon the sale of the Towne of Historic Smithville to the American Broadcasting Company in the summer of 1974, the Noyeses began plans for the museum. Those plans were delayed by Mrs. Noyes' untimely death in January 1979. Mr. Noyes and the remaining trustees of the foundation saw the completion of the museum building and its inaugural exhibitions in June 1983. Mr. Noyes continued to oversee operation of the museum until his passing in 1987. (left: Fred Winslow Noyes Jr., Swans, 1979, acrylic on board 28 x 35 inches)

Fred Winslow Noyes Jr (1905 - 1987): An Overview of His Life

Fred Winslow Noyes Jr. was born in Philadelphia on April 19, 1905, the youngest child and only son of Louisa K. Bond and Fred W. Noyes, Sr.

Fred Sr. was a successful textile designer from Melrose, Massachusetts and Louisa was from the wealthy Bond family of Philadelphia. Early on, Fred was interested in his father's textile designs, sharing his love of composition and color.

In the summer the Noyes family often traveled to.Longport at the South Jersey shore to spend time with Louisa's family. Handsome Fritz, as Fred Jr. was sometimes called, was photographed flirting with a neighbor girl, Fernanda Wanamaker. Fred painted a fine portrait of his grandfather seated in a rocking chair on the porch of the Longport house.

At the age of 21, he began taking art courses at night at The Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art (now the Philadelphia College of Art), and two years later, in 1928, he entered the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In his admission's essay Fred wrote:

"So after consideration of my love for art and nothing else in particular, my father has consented to send me to your day classes."

The combination of the Great Depression and Fred Sr.'s illness forced Fritz to apply for a scholarship for his fourth year at the Academy in 1931. With the scholarship came the restrictions of administrative review that favored a classical approach. Fred and several of his colleagues, influenced by the abstract movement of the day, were given the chance to comply or to leave the Academy.

At the same time, Albert Barnes attempted to donate his extensive collection of contemporary European art to the. Academy and was rejected. When he heard about the rebellious students, he invited them to stay and study with him at no charge. Fred and several others accepted.

Next occurred one of the most formative periods in Fred's life. Fred Sr.'s health worsened and his doctor advised he find a quiet place in the woods to live out his final years. The family moved to Lower Bank on the Mullica River, an area known as the Pine Barrens. They settled in a small unheated summer house with no indoor plumbing and took up a simple life on the river. Days were spent fishing, trapping and shooting the breeze with neighbors. Fred concentrated on drawing and painting and looked to the surrounding landscape and wildlife as inspiration for his pallet.

It was here that Fred first met his future life partner, Ethel Lingelbach. Ethel and her sister helped their father with his bread and milk delivery route, and one of their stops was the Noyes place in Lower Bank.

In January 1941, three months before his 36th birthday, Fred was drafted into the infantry to train and fight in World War II. He served in France and was wounded there. He returned home to recuperate and spent six months in the England General Hospital in Atlantic City, the largest amputee hospital in the world and formerly the Chalfonte Haddon Hall Hotel. On weekends some of the wounded servicemen were brought to a cabin on Lily Lake, across from the present location of the Noyes Museum, for barbecues and entertainment. Here Fred and Ethel met again and this time the sparks of attraction ignited. Ethel advocated successfully for Fred's leg not to be amputated. With only a few hours notice to family and friends, Fred Noyes and Ethel Lingelbach were married on March 21, 1945 at St.. Andrews Lutheran Church in Atlantic City.

This was the beginning of a dynamic union. Together the couple scoured the countryside for antiques and opened a shop in their first home in Absecon. Fred gave art lessons, restored antique furniture and painted whenever he could. He started to collect carved bird decoys. When the city fathers forced the Noyes to close the antiques shop, they moved the business to the Absecon Hotel on Route 30.

"There was no water, no toilet. If you had to take a leak, you had to come home.. We sat there for 92 days, I think, before we made a sale. We were so close to giving up, it was funny. "Then a guy came over from the Boardwalk and bought $300 to $400 worth of stuff. My God, we almost died"

In 1951 Fred and Ethel bought an overgrown, ramshackle structure on Old New York Road (Rt. 9) in Smithville. Ethel masterminded the renovation of the 1787 three-room inn and Fred contributed sweat equity. The Smithville Inn opened a few months later as a lunch and tearoom with an antique gift shop. Fred shucked clams, mashed potatoes, washed dishes, tended bar from a card table, whatever was needed.

Fred and Ethel parlayed their interest in art and history along with their business acumen into developing the Historic Towne of Smithville. By 1973 the complex included several restaurants, dozens of shops, and an historic village. At the same time, new trends in leisure travel, the gas crisis and failed stock options led to the sale of Smithville in 1974. Not wanting to retire, Fred and Ethel bought another restaurant in the area and transformed it into an elegant dining establishment, The Ram's Head Inn. .

In the midst of all this activity, Fred never stopped painting. He set up an easel and painted in his office. He drew and colored on the back of dinner menus. He painted at home in Port Republic on his sun porch. He had several shows at the Newman Gallery in Philadelphia and at the Quail Hill Inn in Smithville.

He also continued to amass an outstanding decoy collection, the largest on the East Coast. He and Ethel began to plan a multi-purpose museum to house the decoys, to preserve local history and to feature local artists.

Ethel had long suffered heart problems. She died unexpectedly on Sunday, January 21, 1979. Fred was left to carry on, and that he did. Working daily with friend and protege, carver Gary Giberson and his wife Niki, the decoy collection was photographed and catalogued. After a search for a site, the Noyes museum was built and opened in June, 1983.

Three years later, a chapel at the Mainland Division of the Atlantic City Medical Center was dedicated to Ethel Marie Noyes. The focal point of the chapel is a stained glass window of fish in primary colors designed by Fred.

Without Ethel to oversee his diet and his drinking and to keep him on some kind of schedule, Fred indulged himself. He was diabetic and his health soon deteriorated, his old war wound often requiring him to use a wheelchair. Fred was hospitalized and on June 2, 1987, he died.

Art was the heartbeat of Fred Winslow Noyes, Jr. He painted until he could no longer hold a paintbrush. His painting reveals his joy in life and his delight in his surroundings. His perseverance to produce a body of work, no matter what the other demands in his life, leaves us with his legacy today. we celebrate Fred Noyes on his 100th birthday.

Judith M. Courter

Sources of Quotes:

Application for Admission to The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, September 12, 1928.
"The Stump Jumper Who Made a Million" by Edward Hitzel, The Sunday Press, April 12, 1981 ,Atlantic City, NJ. Section E, pp. 1-2.


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