Welcome to the Artist's Room of the Cultural Museum. Artists and works of artists begins with a New York artist who found his way to middle Key Largo.

Artist Harry Sonntag
By Jerry Wilkinson

     These are the lost (now found) works of Harry Sonntag, now known as "The Hermit Artist of Key Largo."  In the early 1950s, Sonntag painted watercolors for his Key Largo Art Gallery which he ran from broke down wooden building in Rock 

As best determined he departed with his unsold paintings for the Caribbean around 1954.  His painting were first found under a bed in the Virgin Islands, then in a storage bin in Kissimmee, Florida.  Chuck Faulkner now has about 160 of his paintings of which these are a few.  Not many have titles, but if given they will be noted.

      As shown above, Harry Sonntag was pictured standing in front of 
the door of his gallery in the Miami Daily News newspaper dated Sunday, July 6, 1952.  Now for his work.
      Rock Harbor was known for its commerical and private fishing business. The businesses were on the ocean side. Harry's titled "Rock Harbor" painting is below.

      Below is another painting, although not titled by Harry, is probably the Mandalay Marina in the community of Rock Harbor. A clue is the derrick depicted near the bait shack. Actually, a number of other painting can be identified by the derrick. This style derrick is known as a stiff-legged derrick. 

       Continuing with the theme of Rock Harbor, the  following is specfically titled "Snack Shack, Rock Harbor (51)." Here Harry utilizes considerably more color.

      Look below at another untitled watercolor  which is no doubt a general perspective of the waterfront of Rock Harbor in the 1950s. The building in the center-right is probably the above snack shack.

      The following is Harry's rendition of his rustic studio. Harry lived "Back in the woods" according to the oldtimers who knew him. Small structures built of driftwood was not unusual.

      The next community south of Rock Harbor  was Tavernier. To the south of Tavernier is Tavernier Creek. The following watercolor is titled "Tavernier" and both sides of the creek is visible. Those are nets, probably mackerel nets, in the foreground.

     Rusty's was a bait, tackle and food  business on Tavernier Creek near the highway bridge. The curve is not as pronounced as shown; however, it could be in the canal that enters the creek near the highway. The electric poles in the background are the concern.

     Harry sold his art along the side of the  highway in Rock Harbor. However, as most artists do, he particated in art shows. This watercolor is titled "1st outdoor exhibit Key West (52)." The stone monument is well known in Key West.

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