(Article changed on October 18, 2013 at 16:51)
An Era That Has Gone
By Peter Duveen
On reading of the death of his longtime friend and acclaimed painter Leon Dabo, Ned Caswell sat at his desk at the Chelsea Hotel for a few moments to conjure up some sentences of condolence to the artist's wife. A prolific illustrator, Ned had never lost touch with Leon, even though the days during which they greeted each other almost daily had long passed. Still, Ned continued to attend his friend's exhibitions over the years, and the notice of Leon's death startled him.
Into the latter's imagination emerged a harbor scene, perhaps the locale of one of the artists' colonies they had visited together, and Ned Caswell quickly captured its image with his fountain pen on the paper before him. It was his custom to create a sketch at the beginning of his correspondence, and the idea for this one was generated by his close relationship with Leon over the years, and their common appreciation for the past they shared.
November 9, 1960
I was shocked and saddened when I saw Leon's picture and story of his passing.
How many memories came back to me through the years! Happy ones--and knowing how he enjoyed those days I enclose this drawing--a picture of that era that has gone.
My thougths are with you at this time and I wish you to know that both of you have been in my thoughts.
Sincerely your old friend,
What follows is the story of those "happy" times from an "era that has gone."
The dry windswept leaves of autumn made a soft crunching sound under young Nancy's feet as she skipped up West End Avenue on her way home from school. The late October air was brisk and chilly. Clinging precariously to the otherwise barren branches of the majestic trees that flanked either side of the street were some shriveled and almost colorless remnants of an earlier season, each prepared to drop to the ground before the onslaught of the approaching winter. It was an abrupt transformation from the red and yellow canopy of changing colors that had graced the thoroughfares only a week or two earlier.