1919 - 2014
Barbara, Isabelle Hall Fiske Calhoun
(American artist, 1919 - 2014)
Barbara was actually born Isabelle Daniel Hall in Tucson, Arizona, where she grew up.
When Barbara Hall married Irving Fiske, they bought 140 acres in Vermont called Quarry Hill (later called Quarry Hill Creative Arts Center) and made it an artists’ and writers’ retreat and gathering place for creative and freethinking people. Barbara Hall was a pastel and egg tempera painter. The Fiske's had two children, Isabella (Ladybelle) and William. Hall eventually divorced Fiske and in 1989 remarried Dr. Donald Calhoun, a writer and sociology professor.
Prior to meeting Barbara Hall at Quarry Hill, I was visiting Tucson, Arizona. While in Tucson I met Ted DeGrazia, an artist. This was for me a time of artistic existential dilemma. DeGrazia liked my work and let me use the back table in his studio to make art for the summer. His kindness was a turning point in my artistic direction and determination. A year or so later when I first met Barbara Hall at Quarry Hill in Vermont I was astounded to see a beautiful large egg tempera portrait* she had painted of Ted DeGrazia. Of course, she grew up in Tucson, Arizona and knew him. The painting depicted DeGrazia as beatific. When I got to know Barbara I realized she saw everyone that way. She had a profound reverence for her fellow man. Through her my purpose for making art was clarified and I confirmed to myself that the most important thing I could do in life was make art.
*I am hoping I can find a photo of that portrait for this journal.
Barbara died April 28, 2014
Neil J. Colligan created a beautiful film of her memorial:
QH2 Celebration of Barbara