|Collection||Howard Fogg Collection|
|Title||Industrial switching on Ohio River Branch at Kobuta Works of Koppers Company.|
New York Central System
Road to the Future
The Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad Company
Industrial switching on Ohio River Branch at Kobuta Works of Koppers Company. From original painting by Howard Fogg.
For further information on Howard Fogg and the P&LE RR see "Notes"
Howard Fogg: 1917 - 1996
There are very few railroaders, railfans, or model railroaders who have NOT gotten that far-away-look in their eyes while looking at one of Howard Fogg's paintings and paused for a few moments to study the details in the scene and then give an admiring smile of appreciation for the work or maybe get a tear in their eyes from a memory of days gone by. The 79-year-old Fogg - the greatest railroad artist of our time - died October 1, 1996, in his adopted home of Boulder, Colorado.
His eyes and his hands were blessed with the ability to capture the essence of railroading and the romance of the rails. Although his primary love was the steam locomotive, his attention to details was equally captured in his scenes of diesel locomotives, especially those that he painted as freelance company artist for the American Locomotive Company. And while the tools of the artist may have been cleaned and put away for the last time, Howard Fogg has left an indelible brush stroke on American railroading.
The Little Giant
"Born" on May 11, 1875, the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad became affectionately known as "The Little Giant" during the years when "steel was king" in the Pittsburgh region. With its relatively tiny 65 mile main line from Connellsville, Pa. to Youngstown, Ohio, the P&LE hauled an awesome amount of tonnage to support the steel mills and other industries that it served. From 1889 to 1979, the P&LE was owned by the New York Central Railroad and then Penn Central. In 1979, the P&LE was purchased by several of its corporate officers. But with the collapse of the steel industry in the mid-1980's due to cheap steel being "dumped" in the United States, the P&LE's struggle to survive was hopeless. In 1991, 61 miles of its main line were sold to CSX. On September 12, 1992, CSX bought the remaining trackage. Operations on the P&LE ceased on September 13, 1992. Luckily, the memories of "The Little Giant Years" were captured in the scenes that were painted by Howard Fogg, thanks to the genius of then-P&LE president, John Barriger.
Howard Fogg comments on his portfolio of P&LE paintings
On a crisp October day in 1956, not long after he became president of The Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Company, I sat in John Barriger's office in Pittsburgh while he outlined an idea that was to be my greatest challenge as an artist. He spoke of the drama of the steel mills and coal mines, the cement, chemical and manufacturing plants that line the P&LE, and of their location among the wooded hills and along the winding rivers so characteristic of Western Pennsylvania. With verve and imagination, he suggested a series of paintings that would depict this industrial empire of the P&LE, particularly the key industries that feed it traffic. Would I, he asked, undertake a commission to translate all this into color for him? I said "Yes" to this chance of a lifetime as quickly as I could get the word out of my mouth.
….. Since that time, I have acquired an intimate knowledge of the P&LE and its industries. I have walked many a rail-length along its main line, climbed its signal towers and bridges, visited its yards, offices, shops, and sidings in all kinds of weather and at all times of year - from Youngstown to Connellsville and from Sharon to Brownsville.
….. Now that the assignment is completed, none can appreciate as much as I do, having these reproductions bound together under one cover. I actually saw the mills, felt the heat of the furnaces, dodged the trains, and heard the heartbeat of the industries, so the paintings undoubtedly mean more to me than to others. Whether I have succeeded as an artist depends upon how much of what I felt is communicated.
It's been a great experience for me, and I shall never forget any of it, nor the man who had the idea, sold it to me, and then - since painters must eat - actually bought the results. So, a thrice-repeated bow to John Barriger, as friend, critic, and patron.
( signed, Howard Fogg, Boulder, Colorado, July 15, 1964 )
John Barriger comments on his retirement and on the Howard Fogg portfolio of P&LE paintings
All things eventually come to an end, whether it be the series of paintings by Howard Fogg of the principal industries of the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad or my tenure as the president of that railroad. Both the series and the tenure will end in December of this year with the distribution of the P&LE's Christmas card reproducing a scene painted by Howard and my attainment at the end of that month of the dubious honor of being graduated-on-account-of-age.
.…. We hope that these pictures will serve to remind you, not only of the grandeur and beauty of the industrial and railway activity along the lines of the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie and its parent company, the New York Central, but also of the excellent service available via the railroad lines themselves.
( The publishing of the Howard Fogg series of paintings will )….. terminate, for the time being at least, the business aspects of a long and pleasant association with Howard Fogg, a painter par excellence.
( signed, John Barriger, President, August 1, 1964 )