The first time I met Robert Dash, the painter and gardener, was for a shoot for House and Garden magazine commissioned by editor Babs Simpson nearly 27 years ago. Since then I have photographed the two houses and garden which make up ‘Madoo’ in its various stages of development. Bob Dash has now passed on, but Madoo is now held in a trust under the skilled management of Alejandro Saralegui. Both the houses and gardens require considerable attention to keep the spirit and creative nature that Bob Dash carried. It is truly a jewel in Sagaponak and an important part of the American cultural heritage.
Bob Dash was extraordinarily creative and used his painter’s eye in the garden as much as in his studio. He painted the different structures in the garden strong colors and they would often change each year. He was part of the artistic community in the Hamptons. There was always social gatherings involving gardeners and artists with the constant flow of ideas and critical thinking on any subject. Bob’s use of color in the garden was always cutting edge and he loved to push the boundary in thinking the garden was another canvas to paint with.
He kept two houses on the property, a summer house and a winter house, and both were distinctly different in inside and out, but the use of color was so strong that it was always an adventure returning in a new season to see what he had done.
Madoo is open to the public on certain days and well worth visiting.