PLATTSBURGH — As a young boy, Clint Weber placed a collection of paintings his family had inherited from Weber’s great-great-aunt Wilhelmina Weber Furlong underneath his bed.
The youngster had no knowledge of the importance of those paintings, but he kept them — hidden and well-preserved — always with the belief that they would someday reveal the significance of Weber Furlong’s contribution to American art.
Now, Weber has written a biography of his great-great-aunt and is currently working on a documentary that will bring him to the North Country in search of information on the years Weber Furlong lived in Plattsburgh while her husband, Thomas Furlong, taught at Champlain College on U.S. Oval.
“This woman (Weber Furlong) holds a very significant place in art history,” Weber said recently from his home in Alpine, Texas. “This project originally started in 2003 when there was very little information (on Weber Furlong) at that time.
“I realized that history was about to be lost on one of the most significant women in the Modernist Movement,” he added. “There has since been a wealth of information (generated on Weber Furlong) and a huge amount of interest in this exciting story.”
The Furlongs lived in the Glens Falls area for decades during the first half of the 20th century. Weber Furlong continued to be a significant presence in the region’s art community following her husband’s death in 1952 while a member of the Champlain College faculty.
From 1946 to 1952, when they lived in Plattsburgh, the couple became especially close to George Barber, a student at Champlain College who was recently featured in a Press-Republican article about the 60th anniversary of the final graduating class at the college.
Learning of the article enhanced Weber’s interest in his upcoming visit to the North Country. He has already interviewed several people in New York City, where the Furlongs owned an art studio in the early 1900s, and continues to look for more contacts in Glens Falls and Plattsburgh.