Meet Alfred Cohen, Famed Bluegrass Muralist

Above, a young Martha Stewart trying her hand at painting a mural at her historic Turkey Hill farm

When marketing a historic home, we are always interested in a home’s decorative details. We document all the unique features as we help our clients seek a new steward. One detail we always appreciate is the lively murals often seen in Central Kentucky’s historic estates.

Panoramic murals were highly in vogue during the Federal period. Bluegrass residents, seeking to replicate the feel of imported scenic wallpapers (like the Zuber seen in this listing), commissioned local artists to bedeck their walls instead.

The most famous of these artists was Alfred Cohen, a sign painter originally hailing from the South of France. Cohen was likely untrained, with little understanding of perspective. His murals are primitive but filled with charm. Many French-inspired elements dot the landscapes, including trees, monks, Creole-style houses, & more, harkening back to his youth in Marseille.

The National Register enumerates three Cohen murals, each found in Woodford County- Airy Mount, Wyndehurst (The Gen. James McConnell House), and Pleasant Lawn. Airy Mount and Pleasant Lawn both lost their original murals due to fires. Fortunately, the Pleasant Lawn murals were recreated from earlier photos. Under the supervision of architect Robert McMeekin, artists replicated the original scenes on canvas that were then applied to the walls.

Kirkpatrick & Co. is known for our sensitive approach selling historic properties like the ones seen here. We’re matchmakers working to pair a buyer who will honor the family’s wishes & developing favorable terms for all. Read more about how we we gracefully manage the sale of a living family heirloom.

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