Pochade Club — Hackensack River

Pochade Club — Hackensack River

The Pochade Club was an artists club based in New York City active ca. 1910-1920’s? Only one reference found online as of this post, (July, 2015) listing American artist Francis William Vreeland (1879-1954) a member. (1.) An unidentified man walks towards the camera in this pictorialist study with a large stone structure seen behind him-most likely the summer quarters for the club on the Hackensack River in New Jersey.

Update: January, 2019

New information below, including a 1940 newspaper article, (attached) reveals a rich history for this New York City area arts club, which lasted for 35 years from the Spring of 1903 to around 1938.

The Pochade Club- A Brief History

In the Spring of 1903, a group of artists from the New York City area rehabilitated a Bergen Dutch sandstone cottage dating to around 1794 located in New Milford, New Jersey next to the Hackensack River. For the next 35 years, the structure and grounds would serve as a clubhouse for the artists “where they could do outdoor painting and sketching and leave their kit and belongings there until the next time instead of lugging them in and out of town each week-end.”

Pochade, meaning rough sketch or quick drawing, was the name of the club, which drew an impressive roster of artists specializing in a diverse body of disciplines. The Bergen County Historical Society has a small archive from the club, including snapshot photographs and a ledger listing members as well as dues and expenses. One of the more famous was Rudolph Dirks, (1877-1968) who first created and drew the comic strip The Katzenjammer Kids beginning in 1897.

Margaret Demarest Blauvelt purchased the property and the French Cemetery in July 1939 and turned it over on August 8, 1940 to the Demarest Memorial Foundation, Inc. Later, between 1955-6, the stone structure was entirely dismantled and relocated to River Edge, where today it is known as the Demarest House Museum– owned by the Blauvelt Demarest Foundation and joining other Pre-Revolutionary War buildings at Historic New Bridge Landing maintained by the Bergen County Historical Society.

Below, courtesy of the Bergen County Historical Society, is a newspaper clipping from October 25, 1940 published in The Bergen Evening Record which gives a full and fascinating history of the Demarest House as well as the Pochade Club:  “The Old Demarest House Wouldn’t Be There If The Artists’ Club Hadn’t Seen It First”. Depending on your monitor, please use your Command and + keys to enlarge article.

A pochade (from French poche, pocket) is a type of sketch used in painting. As opposed to a croquis, which is line art, a pochade captures the colors and atmosphere of a scene. Generally, pochades use a small, portable format. Robert Henri and James Wilson Morrice, for example, painted such sketches on small wood panels that would fit in a coat pocket along with oil paint tubes. Others artists, such as landscape painter John Constable, made pochades the size of the intended painting. (2.)

The word pochade has several other meanings in the world of art: a Pochade box is an all-in-one artists box typically used by plein air painters on location, and the art of pochade is sometimes used to describe the technique of quick sketching a landscape study.

print details secondary mount verso: written in black ink cursive in unknown hand- (same as verso of Ida Blessin portrait by Hellmuth with link below) :

Pochade Club
Hackensack River
New Jersey

This work is being attributed to American artist and photographer Charles Hellmuth, as it was purchased along with a small archive of known signed works by him displaying similar photographic and matting style.


1. Holly Leaves (weekly newspaper): Hollywood, CA: Sept. 2, 1922: p. 9
2. Pochade: from: Wikipedia: accessed July, 2015

Pochade Club — Hackensack River

Image Dimensions24.9 x 19.0 cm corner-glued

Support DimensionsDetail: 28.0 x 21.2 cm thick, beige laid paper | 36.6 x 29.5 cm uncoated, cream-colored cardstock