Boonton Staging Special 150th Anniversary Exhibit of Russ Conn Works 

The Town of Boonton, during the months of August and September as part of its 150th Anniversary observances, will stage a public
exhibition of 19 watercolor originals and prints painted by prolific 20th Century artist Russ Conn. Many of the works feature Boonton edifices, capturing the changing face of its Main Street.

Russell J. Conn (1897-1983) came to Boonton in early life, graduating from Boonton High School in 1915. After college and decorated military service in WWI, Conn joined a family business of inventors making their fortune in supportive automation for Wall Street. Retiring at 40 years of age, he gave himself to his passion of painting, traveling the world to paint and teach while amassing some 5,000 pieces painted. He was noted and commissioned locally for his splendid paintings of town residences. Many of his subjects were Boonton’s historic houses and public buildings, the railroad and retail stores along Boonton’s Main St. Since 1984, the Russell Conn Award provides a cash prize awarded to a winning Boonton High School senior who captures the face of Boonton in visual media.

In 1983, Conn added over a dozen paintings to his series of Main Street businesses during the summer, seen often sitting on a stool under a straw hat at his easel across the street from a retailer. On September 21 of that year, as part of Boonton’s first Community Day, he offered a clothesline exhibit of those matted works outside the Post Office. Several owners were fortunate to purchase their paintings that day, as Conn died suddenly two days later on September 23. His daughter Gloria, an only child charged with relocating her widowed

mother and settling estate affairs, invited St. Clare’s Hospital administrative director Sister Mary Urban to come to Conn’s studio and make a selection of 100 paintings of their choice. Confronted by almost 3,000 paintings, the hospital chose the readily available Main Street series along with others. Since 1983, the Main Street paintings have hung with other Conn watercolors on the walls of the hospital’s Urban Wing 1st & 2nd floors.

The Conn works will be exhibited in cooperating storefront windows from August 1-September 21, able to be viewed at any hour along the length of Boonton’s Main St. A brochure locating the paintings will be available from participating businesses or online at Friday, September 22, all the exhibited works will be at the Boonton Station 1904 as part of Boonton’s 150th Birthday Reception event; and on the following Sunday for the Boonton Day event (successor to Community Day), a replica of Conn’s clothesline exhibit will be staged at the Post Office. The 16 prints from St. Clare’s Health collection and of two privately-owned pieces made by John Castronovo of Technicalphoto will subsequently hang permanently on the walls of Town Hall.

In addition to permitting prints be made from their collection, St. Clare’s Health has contributed $1,000 to assist with expenses of the project. St. Clare’s Denville Hospital plans to offer an open house for viewing its entire Conn collection at a later date.

Location of each Russ Conn Art Work 

201 Main Pharmacy 
210 Main St. Dr. John Taylor House 
310 Urban Dweller 
Railroad freight station platform 
Morris Ave., Boonton 
402 Peter Borbas, Surveyor 
317-321 Main St. Boonton 
413 The Art in Therapy 
402 Main St. Flatiron building 
602 Bob's Mens Shop 
602 Main St. Boonton 
606 Don's Sandwich Shop 
Chicago Western Railroad passenger car 
616 The Bloomery 
Boonton Railroad Station 
618 Bobby's News & Gifts 
620 Bob's Mens Shop 
701-705 Main St. Boonton 
704 Wm. Lawrence Agency 
Chicago Western Railroad passenger car 
712 Heavenly Temptations 
713-715 Main St. Opera House & Maxfield VFD 
715 Robin's Closet 
Houses in Boonton Hollow 
715 Evie's Eyewear 
Railroad engine & four passenger cars 
811 Street Chic 
Railroad trestle over Rockaway River 
816 Speakeasy Art 
General Store/P.O. Mendham-Chester Rd. 
819 Broadfoot & Broadfoot 
Music Collage 
820 Black River Gallery 
1st Presbyterian Church of Boonton 
906 Claire Ann's Antiques 
Erie RR freight car at Morris Ave. freight station 
908 Quality Consignment 
922 Main St. Boonton 
922 Papyrus Home Design 
906-910 Main St. Boonton

Anthony Pisano,
Jul 29, 2017, 7:58 AM
Anthony Pisano,
Jul 29, 2017, 7:58 AM