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Depicting Fairy Tales: Artwork at White Branch Library

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • October 31, 2012

It’s impossible to miss the three large paintings hanging in the Children’s Room at the White Branch Library. The art nouveau pieces in shades of orange, navy, green, and brown set the scene for three classic fairy tales: Cinderella, the Pied Piper of Hamlin, and Jack and the Beanstalk. Beautifully painted with fun details (the fairy godmother in Cinderella wears a headdress of peacock feathers dripping with pearls), the magic of these stories pushes the boundaries of imagination—no matter your age.

The panels were painted by Syracuse’s own Margaret Huntington Boehner, an award-winning painter. Born in Oneonta, New York in 1894, Boehner attended Syracuse University’s College of Fine Arts and began teaching there shortly after graduation in 1922. Early in her career Boehner painted the three panels that were given to the White Branch Library by the Friends of Reading of Onondaga County. The fairy tales remain on permanent display in the Children’s Room.

Although a Syracuse resident for much of her life, only a handful of Boehner’s works actually remain in the city. The three panels at White Branch Library are an important part of our local history, but also our personal history on the Northside, as patrons fondly remember the pictures from their childhood.

Visit the White Branch Library in order to appreciate all the details of Boehner’s vision. How do these fairy tales compare to your own imaginings?

 

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