BELFAST – With sadness, we announce the death of Neil Welliver on Tuesday morning, April 5, 2005. He was 75 years old and died of complications from pneumonia at the Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast. He was born Neil Gavin Welliver, July 22, 1929, in Millville, Pa. He is survived by his wife, Mimi Martin Welliver; three children, Titus B. Welliver of Los Angeles, Ethan A. Welliver of New York City and John W. Welliver of Rockport; three stepchildren; and two grandchildren, Eamonn L. Welliver and Quinn M. Welliver. He was predeceased by three of his children, Ashley B. Welliver, Eli L. Welliver and Silas B. Welliver. Since the mid-1970s, Neil Welliver captivated audiences with his monumental oil paintings of the Maine woods. The subjects of the large-scale studio works were the plein-air studies created on his more than 1,600 acre property along the Ducktrap River in Lincolnville. In addition to his work, which is in many major public and private collections, he leaves a generation of painters who studied with him at Yale and, later, the University of Pennsylvania. Welliver said about his own work: “Courbet looked very hard and had a method. Bierstadt did not look very hard and had a method, and deKooning makes it up as he goes along. I look very hard, and then make it up as I go along.” The critic Robert Hughes has said: “(His) landscapes are ‘all-over’ paintings, slices taken from a boundless field of pictorial incident. They pay homage to the materialism of Courbet, to the large-scale nineteenth-century American landscape, and to Abstract Expressionism, all at once. His large paintings of Maine woods could only have matured in the 30 years after Pollock.” A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Friday, July 22, 2005, at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Belfast. This date would have marked Neil’s 76th birthday. In honor of the loving care and kindness shown to him by the entire hospital staff, Neil wished, in lieu of flowers, that contributions be made in his memory to: Waldo County General Hospital, P.O. Box 287, Belfast, ME 04915. Arrangements are with the Robert E. Laite Funeral Home, 9 Mountain St., Camden.
Posted Sept. 25, 2008, at 11:18 p.m.