Harold & Elizabeth Lawrence*, in October 2021, gifted Chandor Gardens Foundation Inc. a 1945 photo of Douglas Chandor’s sketch titled “Big Three at Yalta”. The sketch was intended as preliminary work for a larger painting which was unfortunately never completed. This framed photo can be seen hanging in the Great Room of the Chandor home at Chandor Gardens.
The “Big Three at Yalta” sketch depicts British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin (with Stalin’s interpreter in the background) during World War Two at the Yalta Conference held February 4-11, 1945 in Russia. The leaders met to discuss the postwar reorganization of Germany, and the re-establishment of nations torn apart by the war. Though not formally commissioned, the work endeavored to memorialize the historic event on canvas, and to celebrate the spirit of cooperation many hoped would emerge between allies after the war ended.
Both Roosevelt and Churchill sat for study portraits by Douglas Chandor, but Stalin refused. Probably because of Stalin’s refusal, a completed painting of the “Big Three at Yalta” never materialized.
In Douglas Chandor’s portrait of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1945), on display at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C, the drawing in the lower-left corner of the painting (see red arrow) is a sketch of the “Big Three at Yalta”. This portrait is a study for the larger painting “Big Three at Yalta”.
The study painting Douglas Chandor completed of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1946, is also on display at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.
Thank you Harold & Elizabeth Lawrence for your generous gift of the "Big Three at Yalta" sketch, which opens the door to the fasinating story of Douglas Chandor's part in capturing this important event in history and the key figures who took part.
* Harold & Elizabeth Lawrence are long-time residents of Weatherford, TX. They own and operate the Museum Of The Americas in downtown Weatherford, recognized as one of the foremost and diverse North and South American folk art museums in Texas. Harold taught English at Weatherford College for 32 years, and wrote the definitive book Douglas Chandor An English Artist and His Texas Garden (1999, Antler Press). Elizabeth is a founding member of Chandor Gardens Foundation Inc., served as President from 2013 to 2021, and continues to serve as a member of the Board of Directors. Both are actively involved in State-wide organizations as diverse as public community services and historic preservation.
Mrs. Joseph R. Pelich, Jr. (Olive Pelich), of Fort Worth, Texas gifted, on two separate occasions, Douglas Chandor art items to Chandor Gardens Foundation Inc., with the desire that these items be preserved and put on display for the public to enjoy. She wanted her late husband, Joseph R. Pelich Jr. also known as (aka) “Joe Boy” , and Douglas Chandor’s friendship with the Pelich family, to be forever remembered.
In February 2016, Olive gifted an illustrated letter that Douglas Chandor had written to Joseph R. Pelich Sr. on June 22, 1935. The intricately illustrated letter originates from the time that Douglas was in the midst of having his studio/home designed by the prominent Fort Worth architect, Joseph R. Pelich Sr., who happened to also be his friend, as Douglas starts the letter “Joseph, mon vieux” (Joseph, my friend) . The letter not only shows Douglas’ attention to detail, but to his wit and humor. It as well gives a nod to Joseph’s young son, also named Joseph, as Douglas notes below a postage stamp affixed amongst the various illustrations “Stamp for Joe Boy” (see red arrow in photo below). This illustrated letter has been framed and hangs in the Great Room of the Chandor home at Chandor Gardens.
Then in January 2021, Chandor Gardens Foundation Inc. learned that Olive had bequeathed the portrait by Douglas Chandor of her late husband, Joseph R. Pelich Jr. “Joe Boy” to Chandor Gardens Foundation Inc. The Foundation is extremely honoured that Olive entrusted us with this exquisite example of Douglas Chandor’s artistic talent.
The portrait is of the then twelve year-old Joseph R. Pelich Jr. "Joe Boy" of Fort Worth, Texas, which Douglas Chandor painted in 1936-37. It only seems fitting that this portrait now resides in the artist’s home, a home which was designed by the subject’s architect father, Joseph R. Pelich Sr.
Thank you so much Olive for sharing your "Joe Boy" through these beautiful pieces of Douglas Chandor's art.
NOTE: Chandor Gardens Foundation Inc. also wishes to acknowledge and thank Greg Dow of Dow Art Galleries, LLC, Fort Worth, TX for the generous in-kind donation of frame restoration and appraisal report on the Joseph R. Pelich Jr. portrait.
Jeff Barnett standing between the two Foo Dogs that he donated.
Jeff Barnett, well known life-long resident of Weatherford, and keeper of stories and memories, gifted Chandor Gardens Foundation Inc. a pair of antique Chinese Foo (Fu) Dogs, which were part of Douglas Chandor's original garden.
The Foo Dogs are 19th century, carved granite, and were probably purchased by Douglas Chandor in Chinatown, New York City, New York in the late 1940's. Jeff bought the pair of Foo Dogs at an auction held at Chandor Gardens in the mid-’80s.
Foo Dogs are actually lions. They originated in China, shi, meaning lion or shishi or stone lion. Yet they resemble the Chow Chow and Shih Tzu, which led them to be called foo dogs (or fu dogs) in English. Foo Dogs are symbolic, protective statues which always come in pairs – one is female and one is male, and are manifestations of yin and yang. You can tell their gender by examining what’s beneath the paws. The male has a ball beneath his right front paw that represents the world. The female has a small cub under her left paw, which represents nature or the cycle of life.
In the summer of 2017 Jeff decided the time was right for the Foo Dogs to return home to Chandor Gardens. So once again these Foo Dogs are sentinels protectively standing watch at the very spot where the Chandors first placed them, on either side of a footpath, steps from the porch of the Chandor home. Jeff gave the Foo Dogs in memory of his parents Worth Wilford Barnett and Lou Ola McEntire Barnett.
The Foundation hopes to encourage the gradual return of original art by Douglas Chandor, furnishings, and antique garden features as part of our mission to preserve Chandor Gardens for future generations.
Thank you, Jeff, for your generosity.
In 2015, not long after the formation of Chandor Gardens Foundation Inc., the Board determined that a formalized, and professionally designed, Vision/Conceptual Plan was the next step needed to start the process of determining how Chandor Gardens could become more of a destination, attracting more visitors to the area and capitalizing on the unique history and beauty that Chandor Gardens has to offer. All while respecting and preserving the history of the gardens and Douglas Chandor's original artistic vision.
The plan would focus on the concept of constructing buildings and accessible open space on the vacant 13.5 acres located immediately to the west of the current Gardens and mansion. With the buildings meant to significantly reduce the stress on the Chandor mansion which was not intended for large scale events, provide space for cultural and social endeavors, and include facilities for a visitor center/gift shop, parking, amphitheatre, nature trails and maintenance building. All to enhance the quality of life for the community.
Thanks to two significant donations, made by Parker County Heritage Society and Parker County Historical Commission, Chandor Gardens Foundation was able to contract Bennett-Benner Partners, Architects + Planners from Fort Worth in July of 2015 to complete a Vision/Conceptual Plan.
The completed Bennett-Benner Preliminary Vision Plan for Chandor Gardens was presented December 10, 2015
Much appreciation and gratitude goes out to Parker County Heritage Society and Parker County Historical Commission for helping forge the future vision of Chandor Gardens.