Harry F. Long: Folk Artist Of Reinholds

March 8, 2019

Folk artist Harry F. Long was born April 13, 1895, and died Jan. 27, 1970. The son of Jacob and Amanda Long, he lived in the West Cocalico Township, northern Lancaster County village of Reinholds, Pa. Harry served in WWI and was later employed at Eberly’s Hardware Store at the corner of Mechanic Street and Main Street (Route 897). Long was a self-taught painter and woodworker. His nickname was “Shorty.” Antiques dealer Mary Snyder also had her first antiques shop in the Eberly’s Hardware Store building, prior to moving her shop down East Main Street toward Trinity Chapel (Reinholds Station Trinity Chapel). Harry lived next to the chapel.
Harry’s younger brother (by one year), John F. Long (1894-1984), was a carpenter and house painter by profession but also a self-taught artist. John was a profilic painter and worked on reverse glass. Harry did not, primarily working in oil-on-board and also gouache-on-paper. Also, Harry was not an active painter, unlike his brother, who outlived him by 14 years. His output likely numbered under 100 paintings. By comparison, John produced nearly 1,000 paintings on reverse glass during his lifetime. Harry was just as known for his woodworking as he was in town for his paintings. He constructed and paint-decorated children’s chairs and toy boxes. Harry also did cane seating repair, according to relative Dennis Stephen.
It is not known if Snyder or neighbor, artist, and antiques dealer Hattie Klapp Brunner sold Harry’s work in their shops, but Brunner did market and sell John Long reverse paintings on glass. It is known, however, that New York City antiques dealer John Gordon bought Harry’s paintings directly from him in the 1960s. Gordon was also a customer of both Brunner and Snyder. Gordon had a large sale in 1999 through Christie’s. A number of Harry Long paintings (typically signed “H.F. Long”) were in the auction, and several were passed, failing to sell. One lot, a farm scene together with a scene of the Saal buildings at the Ephrata Cloister in winter sold together for $2,990. A country landscape sold at a Slotin Auction in 2015 for $300. It was ex. John Gordon. His work seldom comes to market due to a limited output and many remaining with family members. Like the artwork of Hattie Brunner, neighbor Luke Gottshall, and, of course, brother John, Harry ranks among the accomplished folk artists of Reinholds deserving of recognition.


More Articles