Down Memory Lane, February 22, 2019

Village in the Valley by Hyman Shapiro. 25_c33clachanart16

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Out of the blue the daughter of an artist, who painted Kintyre scenes, called the Courier from Bordeaux.

Violinist Judith (née Shapiro) Nemtanu has lived in the famous wine region since marrying a Frenchman in 1981.

Mrs Nemantu called having discovered the Courier’s Down Memory Lane feature online, published on August 24 last year, about an oil on canvas, shown at Clachan Art Show, which caused much debate.

The provenance of every work on show was well known to the organisers, except one, which had been donated to help boost restoration funds for the village hall.

That painting, in a battered gold-coloured wood frame, was titled Village in the Valley, by H Shapiro and priced at £50.

It was decided that the village looked most like Glencoe and due to the absence of television aerials it must have been pre-1965.

The artist’s identity opened another discussion, with Arthur Duff taking centre stage.

Clues to the painting’s age lay in the method of stretching the canvas.

It was nailed to the stretcher rather than the modern method of stapling. At some stage a further bar of yellowed wood had to added to keep the canvas taut.

Further internet research revealed a painter known as H Shapiro, who was born in 1933.

A painting with a similar style, titled Loch Long, appeared on eBay and was described as: ‘Oil on canvas, possibly an early work by the artist Herman (Hermon) Shapiro.

That theory was debunked last year when Molly Smith from Tarbert wrote the following week.

She revealed that the painting, was by the late Hyman Shapiro, who had a holiday house at Dippen Cottage, by Tarbert.

His wife, Gretel, was a potter.

Mrs Nemantu said the painting, Village in the Valley and most likely of Clachan, was by her father Hyman, who passed away, aged 71, in 1979.

She added that he often sold his works on the spot to finance the family holiday and harboured a dream of retiring to Kintyre.

Mrs Nemantu, 61, told the Courier the cottage was sold in 1981 and she had not spoken to Molly, who lived nearby for at least 30 years.

‘My father Hyman was brought up in Glasgow but his parents were from Latvia and Lithuania.

‘In his working life, Hyman was a teacher of English, history and politics at Stow College and painted as a hobby.

‘Our family always holidayed in Dippen Cottage and my mother Gretel, a potter, often sold works in Tarbert.’

Mrs Nemantu has a brother, David Shapiro in Glasgow and a sister Jessica Shapiro in Cheltenham.

Arthur Duff reveals the back of the painting at Clachan Art Show. 25_c33clachanart16

Village in the Valley by Hyman Shapiro. 25_c33clachanart16