Portrait of Lou Frink

J. Alden Weir, Portrait of Lou Frink, 1910
Akus Gallery, Eastern Connecticut State University

Weir’s 1910 Portrait of Lou Frink depicts one of his farm employees, a caretaker described by Weir's daughter Dorothy, as a "crony" and friend who accompanied the artist on fishing, hunting, and painting excursions. 
“Lou” was as enthusiastic as Weir in his love of fishing and hunting and was never too busy to find time to accompany Weir on a fishing excursion during the spring and summer months, whether it was a few hours on some neighboring pond or of a week or so down at Henryville, while in the autumn he was always ready for a days shooting through the woods. Often also he would act as driver for Weir when some pictures such as the Building of The Dam or the Spreading Oak meant a trip of four or five miles with all the paraphernalia such as an outdoor painting easel, a painting umbrella to keep the sun from the picture or out of Weir’s eyes, not to mention a sizable canvas and the necessary paints etc. Weir was devoted to him. 9
The Frink family inhabited Windham Center for over two centuries. Lou Frink’s father represents at least the fourth generation of Frinks born in Windham. Frink was born in Ohio, but was living in Windham a year later in the household of his grandparents, together with his parents and older brother. Lou never married and when he died, so did the centuries-old family line. Those who knew him remember Frink, always called “Lou”, fondly, and idiosyncratically. In fact, he is somewhat of a local legend. He wore knickers long after they were out of style (into the 1950s). He lived in the 1781 farmhouse, part of the Baker/Weir estate, located across the road from the Baker home, and previously inhabited by the artist Emil Carlsen during visits with Weir. Frink appears in at least two other Weir paintings. In Hunter and Dogs (1912, Smithsonian American Art Museum) Frink poses in the woods with two of Weir’s favorite hunting dogs, Prince and Pedro.
South St, Windham Center

Lou Frink, South Street, Windham Center, c. 1937
Windham Free Library

Lou Frink’s Bedroom

Lou Frink’s Bedroom
Akus Gallery, Eastern Connecticut State University

Frink never sold his works, but painted “for pleasure.” 12
Frink’s watercolors are valuable documents of Windham Center, its people, covered bridges, historical architecture, railroad depot, stone walls, trees, fish and animals and his own house covered in snow.
Two of his paintings are on display at the Windham Free Library. 13
 He painted several views of the Willimantic Mills, surely inspired by Weir’s depictions, as well as Weir’s Windham house in snow and Weir painting outdoors at Branchville. He also completed several paintings of Weir’s two Windham studios.
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