“Neck Road Farm House, Brooklyn, N.Y., painted by Louis Saphier, July 1942″ (Collection of Joseph Ditta)

At a glance, it may seem as though this is a painting of a small country house in a rural area. Perhaps in upstate New York, or maybe somewhere in the mid-west.

But actually, the painting above is one of a farmhouse on Gravesend Neck Road in Brooklyn, completed by an artist from Brooklyn, Louis Saphier, in July 1942, 70 years ago.

Funny how much Brooklyn has changed over the years! Now, instead of farmhouses surrounded by trees, we have coops, condos and narrow houses built close together.

Artist Louis Saphier lived in Brooklyn for around 30 years, until his death in 1954. In honor of this painting’s 70th Anniversary, Gravesend Gazzette historian Joseph Ditta is trying to figure out where this farmhouse was situated. Ditta said that design of the house indicates that it is “clearly [of] Dutch-American design, instantly recognizable by its ski-sloped roof overhanging the front porch.” He, along with the help of “Old Dutch Houses of Brooklyn,” a work of the historian Maud Esther Dilliard, narrowed it down to the four Dutch houses that stood on Gravesend Neck Road.

Only one of these four houses, the Van Sicklen House, still stands today. The three others, the Abraham Emans House, Agnes Lake House, and Voris-Shepard House, were destroyed and replaced in the mid-1900s. Ditta believes that the Agnes Lake House was of similar layout and appearance as the house that Saphier painted.

Readers, are any of you familiar with the Agnes Lake House? Does this picture remind you of it? Perhaps you recall one of the other three houses listed above, and have reason to believe that this painting of one of them.

Or do you think that this could be a painting of another house altogether? Share your thoughts in honor of the painting’s 70th anniversary.

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