Arthur Woelfle Information and Inventory

Arthur Woelfle

(1873 - 1936)

Arthur Woelfle


Grill Room, Salmagundi Club is certainly Arthur Woelfle’s masterpiece. Rarely does one painting by a given artist so significantly surpass all others by that artist that it achieves a singular, iconic identity. Painted in 1929, it brilliantly captured the atmosphere of a Friday night of drink, talk, and shooting pool. Woelfle took his daring idea a significant step further by representing specific artist members seated around the tables and having each of them sign a slip of paper affixed to the stretcher. To aid in the recognition process, an outline of the figures appears on the reverse side of the canvas, with each head numbered to correspond to the signature sheet, thus the viewer can identify artist members such as Hobart Nichols, Walter Granville-Smith, and George Elmer Brown (all represented in thecollection) among several others. Woelfle exhibited this picture over a half-dozen times between 1929 until his death, and that exhibition history also appears on the back of the canvas. It is not only a valuable piece of history but also a really well- painted picture. The story behind the purchase is equally interesting. The owner of the picture frequently sponsored prizes and made cash donations to the Salmagundi and offered this painting as a gift to the club. Apparently, always in need of money, the club rejected the painting and requested a cash donation in its place. Irate, the owner offered the painting to Erwin Barrie, Director of the Grand Central Gallery, who eagerly bought it and featured it in Grand Central’s 1971 Founders Show. My father was a member of Grand Central and, as such, was entitled to participate in the annual selection process for a free painting… that’s right, free. He won this picture. I still remember those twelve magnificent pool tables at the club and more than one night shooting pool until the wee hours of the morning—and the Salmagundi Club survived a very bad decision.

Arthur Woelfle Gallery

No paintings by this author