by Cornelia Hartman Rosenblum, Chair Emerita

The name “Maverick” came to be used over the years for the collaborative colony for artists that Hervey White established on the outskirts of Woodstock. In Colorado in the 1890s, while visiting his sister, he had been told of a white stallion living in freedom in the wild known locally as the “Maverick Horse.” In 1911 the Maverick Horse appeared as the hero of a oem Hervey wrote, “The Adventures of a Young Maverick.” It was a fitting symbol for everything that Hervey held dear—freedom and spirit and individuality.

John Flannagan, a brilliantly talented, iconoclastic (and penniless) sculptor, came to join the artists who spent summers in the Maverick. In the summer of 1924 Hervey White commissioned Flannagan to carve the Maverick Horse. Believing that all useful work was of value and the work of an artist no more to be rewarded than any other, he paid the prevailing wage of fifty cents an hour. Using an ax as the major tool, the entire monumental piece was carved from the trunk of a chestnut tree in only a few days. The sculpture depicts the horse emerging from the outstretched hands of a man who appears in turn to be emerging from the earth. Hannah Small, who lived at the Maverick during the carving, remembers:

“Everyone on the Maverick was watching. They were fascinated. We loved everything that Flannagan did and we were terribly excited about it. I remember seeing him working; he was working frantically and he was doing the whole thing with an ax. It was the fastest work I’d ever seen. When it was finished he went off and had another drink.”

The heroic sculpture standing eighteen feet high marked the entrance of the road to the concert hall (and the now-vanished theatre) for thirty-six years. For a while the sculpture had a little roof over it as protection from the elements but it began to weather alarmingly and artist Emmet Edwards, a painter who knew Flannagan well, moved it into his nearby studio to protect it.

It remained there, hidden from view, for twenty years. In 1979 through the generosity and cooperation of Edwards, the horse was moved on large wooden skids from Edwards’ studio to the stage of the Maverick Concert Hall. Woodstock sculptor Maury Colow undertook to stabilize the sculpture and mount it on a stone base. It is most appropriate that this mysterious and magical sculpture presides over the last and most enduring expression of Hervey White’s original Maverick.

Copyright © 1990, Maverick Concerts.
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