Bucks County Gets First ‘Art Hotel’
Forty-two pieces by the New York impressionist Albert Van Neese Greene “checked in” to the Centre Bridge hotel and restaurant for an extended stay.
Art checked into Centre Bridge Inn hotel and restaurant this week.
Art hung in the lounge, made a scene at the bar, and framed the day with an evening by the fireplace.
Forty-two pieces by New York impressionist Albert Van Neese Greene are expected to lodge here in Solebury, at Bucks County’s first “art hotel,” through the summer.
Except, this is no vacation. These artworks are working the rooms from noon to 9 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday, as art mixes businesses with pleasure.
In the modern world, art surrounds us, so much so, we often fail to appreciate it, or even leave it stacked in a closet, as Paul Gratz had done with dozens of treasured paintings.
The owner of Gratz Gallery & Conservation Studio in Plumstead has been buying, conserving and selling art for nearly four decades. And, too much beauty can be a problem.
“I have a disease,” he joked. “I sell one painting, and I buy four more.”
This month, many of his works left the racks of a storage warehouse, and made a jaunt up Solebury’s River Road. Floor boards creaked as decorators bustled about the inn built by the British back in 1705.
Sounds of hammer and nails filled the halls, which some say are haunted, as Gratz, assistant Stephanie Lisle, and inn keeper Jerry Horan, picked out the perfect spot for each painting.
Van Nesse’s “Golden Maple,” took a prized position on the main staircase. The landscape of a magnificent old tree with leaves turning autumnal shades red and yellow seemed a perfect match for the natural light streaming down onto walls of wheatfield orange.
Above the fireplace, Van Neese’s “Art of Spring” shows a rural farmhouse flanked by flowering trees; their bright leaves seeming to pop off the canvas.
For a brief while, Van Nesse’s works will hang at the hotel and in the collections of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the National Gallery of Art. There’s no firm date on closing Bucks County’s first “art hotel,” Gratz said.
“The whole idea is to have fun,” he said. “Hopefully, sell a painting and bring people into the inn for dinner.
“I have a lot of paintings in inventory, and we were just looking for a great place to exhibit them,” Gratz continued. “We’ll have an opening with hors d’oeuvres and wine, and bring people into the Centre Bridge. It gives us both exposure.”
Owner Jerry Horan said art lovers are welcome to come view the artwork with no obligation of buying a meal or staying at the hotel.
Van Nesse was known for landscapes and hanging by the Delaware River in Bucks County. Living for a time in Chester County, he also was a member of the Philadelphia Sketch Club, the Society of Independent Artists and the Philadelphia Art Alliance. Other works include the “Old Swede’s Church in Winter,” the “Belgian Market,” and “Autumn on the Canal.”
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