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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BARNARD, MAXWELL ("MAX") VOSPER

BARNARD, MAXWELL ("MAX") VOSPER

BARNARD, MAXWELL ("MAX") VOSPER (6 April 1884-3 Feb. 1978) became known through his primitive artwork as the "Grandpa Moses" of CHAGRIN FALLS. Born in Auburn Twp., Geauga County, he was the son of Jay and Lena Barnard and grandson of one of the early settlers of Chagrin Falls. He quit school after the 6th grade to take up his father's trade of housepainter and paperhanger, being credited with covering most of Chagrin Falls during a career of more than half a century. Following the death of his first wife, Margaret, Barnard and his 2nd wife Carlotta (Lottie) in the 1930s moved back to his grandfather's house on Orange St. in town. In the 1940s he began painting primitive scenes recalled from his childhood on spare pieces of lumber and plasterboard. Completely unschooled in technique, he won a first prize in the prestigious MAY SHOW for a scene painted on a windowshade. Using ordinary housepaint for the most part, he turned out more than 2,000 primitive paintings over a period of 30 years, pricing them according to the size of the picture. He also covered the walls of his home with landscapes. His work was shown at the Chagrin Valley Art Club in 1973 and the Heartland Museum in Harvard, Mass., in 1986. Barnard also made uniquely designed birdhouses which were highly prized. He left a sketchbook containing 300 pen-and-ink drawings, with written commentaries, of early Chagrin Falls residents. He died in Millersburg, O., and is buried in Chagrin Falls. Having outlived both his wives and a daughter from the first marriage, Jane Budnick, he was survived by a granddaughter, Beverly Myers.