The Rockport Public Library maintains a wonderful art collection. When visiting the temporary Once Upon a Contest: Selections from Cape Ann Reads in the children’s room and the special Betty Allenbrook Wiberg installation, don’t miss the genius Mother Goose 1938 bronze by Richard H. Recchia, and the Sam Hershey WPA-era mural, Rockport Goes to War, 1939.
The new Josh Falk mural (2019) is behind the Rockport Public Library.
Genius design bronze by Richard H. Recchia, Mother Goose, 1938
at the Rockport Public Library
This impression is annotated by the artist as a “sketch model sculpture by R. H. Recchia” (1888-1983). The sculpture rotates to illustrate the rhymes and beautifully expresses how children are captivated by stories. The sculpture is a tribute to his wife, Kitty Parsons (1889-1976), artist & writer, and one of the original founders of Rockport Art Assoc. It was originally situated within the library’s former smaller digs: the Rockport’s Carnegie Library established in 1906, a Beaux-Arts beauty around the corner, now a private home. It was one of 43 Carnegie libraries built in Massachusetts. In 1993 the library moved to its current site in an 1880s mill building, the Tarr School, thanks to the Denghausen bequest.
Parsons & Recchia resided and worked at their home “Hardscrabble” at 6 Summer Street in Rockport. (Rockport was their permanent address from 1928 till his death.) Recchia was born in Quincy. His dad was a stone carver from Verona who worked for Bela Pratt and Daniel Chester French. Later, Recchia was Pratt’s assistant.
For more bas relief examples by Recchia, see his Bela Pratt in the Yale collection, digitized entry here ) Recchia public sculptures are on permanent display at the Rockport Art Association & Museum. More photos below.
snippet video of Recchia Mother Goose sculpture rotating
click/double click on photos to enlarge photos to actual size (or pinch and zoom) | hover to read caption
Sam Hershey WPA mural, 1939
Sam Hershey Rockport Goes to War featured Rockport Public Library; W. Lester Stevens WPA mural Preparing Rockport for Granite dating from the same year is across the street in the Post Office
There is much exciting work in progress along Stacy Boulevard including welcome tributes to women. Incremental aesthetic improvements, public access, ease of movement, and celebration of culture require many hands and deliver a huge impact. Here is a brief description of the special current projects and some people involved.
Two revitalized and enhanced gardens beyond the tennis courts will emphasize generations of care
“Remarkable support comes from volunteer expertise like award winning designer Ann Geraldi Johnson and Susan Kelly and the Generous Gardeners who have stepped up as the city’s groundskeepers on the boulevard.” Mike Hale, Director of Public Works
The Elizabeth Gordon Smith (Betty Smith) garden was cleared and the small Picture garden past the boulevard tennis courts was unearthed. Because Gloucester garden groups pre-date 1900, it’s especially moving to see the work in progess shoring up inspiring legacy connections. Incredible volunteers past and present serve the city’s Department of Public Works (DPW). Stacy Boulevard & Stage Fort Park advocates like Betty Smith, Louise Loud & the Gloucester Civic & Garden Council tended and protected Gloucester’s natural beauty — the very same grounds that are so lovingly served now by dynamos like Ann Gilardi Johnson and Susan Kelly & the Generous Gardeners. Plaques for Lucy Brown Davis, tribute by her sister Catalina Davis, and for Lucy P. Rogers ” president of the Gloucester’s Woman’s Club 1927-29″ are nearby.
photos: Betty Smith garden IN PROGRESS February (overgrowth and clearing underway–poison ivy was found) vs. March and can’t wait to experience the AFTER!
March 2019 work continuing across Stacy Boulevard – read details HERE about these projects– Hancock Sculpture, Betty Smith Gardens & Tennis Courts to the East, and Blynman Bridge & railings to the West- additional stunning work and investment thanks to Gloucester MA Department of Public Works, Ann Gilardi Johnson, Generous Gardeners, CPA, Department of Transportation (DOT), and more. Stacy Boulevard Part 8
March 24, 2019 photos of Walker Hancock Triton and grounds prep before/in process.
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The Manship Artists Residency + Studios aka MARS is a finalist for the 2019 Commonwealth Awards. Announcing the thirteen 2019 finalists, Mass Cultural Council Executive Director Anita Walker said “The Commonwealth Award is the highest honor in the arts and culture in Massachusetts. It is a celebration of the best of the best and a demonstration of the Power of Culture to enrich us all. This extraordinary group of awardees exemplifies our state’s unique cultural fabric. Their collective and individual achievements have made us a better Commonwealth.” The Manship Artists Residency + Studios is recognized as an exemplary grassroots effort that brought together the skills, talents, and resources to save a local treasure with national importance as an innovative cultural resource for today and for future generations.
Established as a national and international, interdisciplinary artists residency and cultural hub, MARS has been developing partnerships and alliances with local, regional and international organizations in order to enrich and enhance existing public offerings, as well as to introduce new and exciting creative opportunities. For example, the first cohort of artists that worked at the Manship site were selected by a curator of the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy in Andover and were included in an exhibition there on sculptor Paul Manship’s legacy this past fall and winter. Local artists also will benefit in many ways – indeed, the first “visiting” artist in January 2017 was Gloucester resident Diane KW. And, among the first “resident’ artists who will begin to stay at the Manship home as soon as renovations are completed on the residence this Spring is Lara Lepionka, a Gloucester artist and social justice activist, who has achieved wide acclaim for her award-winning nonprofit, Backyard Growers.
In addition to visiting and resident artists, MARS welcomes other innovators and cultural leaders. Thus far MARS has hosted a Smithsonian museum conservator, a Metropolitan Museum curator, an independent Maine filmmaker, as well as a dance troupe from New York City. In July 2018, MARS’ hosted its first public event: Quarry Dance VII, a collaboration with Windhover Performing Arts Center attracted over 1000 guests to four free public showings of the site-specific performance. MARS will offer similar signature public events each summer, including exhibitions, installations and performances. The first exhibition at MARS will open the house to the public with artwork by Willie “Loco” Alexander. While Willie is known internationally as a musical pioneer, few have had the pleasure of experiencing his paintings and collages first-hand. MARS is also engaged in educational outreach. Thanks to a generous donor, MARS purchased an original Folly Cove Designer Acorn Press and has loaned this cultural treasure to the O’Maley Innovation Middle School for the use of local students and artists. This loan compliments the Folly Cove Designer (FCD) curriculum that was established in the schools by the Cape Ann Museum several years ago. MARS Advisor Catherine Amidon commented that “It is always exciting and inspiring when a young organization such as MARS receives recognition for their achievement along with a prominent list of seasoned and accomplished cultural colleagues. MARS’ success is a tribute to the support and guidance of the Mass Cultural Council, and to the generosity of local artists and collaborators, of donors who have invested wisely and who wanted to support the hard work of MARS’ board members, their advisors, and the incredible volunteers who have brought MARS this far in such a short time. Were it not for this collective effort, MARS would not be here today. ”
● For more information on the MCC Commonwealth Awards contact Carmen Plazas, Communications Manager, 617-858-2738.
● For the Manship Project, contact Rebecca Reynolds, Founder and Board President, (978) 290-8438. MARS’ web site is www.manshipartists.org Follow @manshipartists on facebook, twitter and instagram
Boston Massacre Crispus Attucks patriots memorial by sculptor Robert Kraus
“In the Granary Burial Ground, in Boston, rest the remains of Crispus Attucks, Samuel Gray, Jonas Caldwell, and Samuel Maverick, who, together with Patrick Carr, led by Crispus Attucks, were the first Martyrs in the cause of Amerian Liberty, having been shot by the British soldiers on the night of the fifth of March, AD 1770, known as the Boston Massacre.”
Crispus Attucks was a longshoreman and whaler regarded as the first casualty in the Boston Massacre (‘the first to defy, the first to die’). In 1888, the state appropriated $10,000 for the commission. Robert Kraus was the sculptor and he worked with the foundry, Henry Bonnard Company of New York. The base and obelisk are Concord granite.
“The monument is of Concord granite, twenty five feet six inches high, and measures ten feet six inches at the base. The pedestal, which is round, except where a rectangular projection is made tosupport the statue and receive the relief is eight feet two inches high. The bas-releif on the face of the pedestal represents the Boston Massacre in King street. In the foreground lies Crispus Attucks, the first victim of British bullets; the centre of the scene is the old State House, behind which may be seen the steeple of the old brick or First church, which stood on Cornhill, now Washington Street. In the Upper left-hand corner is the following inscription: “From the moment we may date the Severance of the British Empire. Daniel Webster;” and in the upper right hand corner, “On that Night the Foundation of American Independenc was laid. John Adams.” Under the relief on the base appears the date “March 5, 1770.” Above the bas releif stands “Free America.” With her left hand she clasps a flag about to be unfurled, while she holds aloft in her ‘right hand the broken chain of oppression, which, twisted and torn, is falling off the plinth. At her left side, clinging to the edge of the plinth, is an eagle. Its wings are raised, its beak is open, and it has apparently just lit. Its pose is in unison with the fiery spirit of its mistrees, shown in the serious, determined, and heroic gaze of her upturned face.”
( And crushing the crown under her ‘Spirit of America’ foot.)
Robert Gould Shaw Massachusetts 54th Regiment memorial
Joshua Benton Smith pushed for a memorial beginning in 1865. It took another 20 years for a sculptor to be commissioned. A dedicated committee selected sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The tribute was unveiled and dedicated on Memorial Day May 31, 1897 (called Decoration Day at the time). Frederick Douglass was in attendance; two of his sons were in the 54th regiment. The memorial was cast by the Gorham Company foundry in Providence, R. I., at a cost of $7,000. The Gorham Company was contracted for Gloucester’s Fisherman at the Wheel memorial by Leonard Craske, and the Joan of Arc WW1 memorial by Anna Hyatt Huntington.
from the National Parks:
“Saint-Gaudens always strove for perfection regarding realism. In this relief he wanted to show a range in facial features and age, as found among the men of the regiment. This was the first time a monument depicted blacks realistically, and not as stereotypes. He hired African American men to pose, and modeled about 40 different heads to use as studies. His concern for accuracy also extended to the clothing and accoutrements.
“Saint-Gaudens, however, worked slowly. A committee member complained in 1894, “. . . that bronze is wanted pretty damned quick! People are grumbling for it, the city howling for it, and most of the committee have become toothless waiting for it!” It would still be three more years until the unveiling. In answer to criticism, Saint-Gaudens wrote:
“My own delay I excuse on the ground that a sculptor’s work endures for so long that it is next to a crime for him to neglect to do everything that lies in his power to execute a result that will not be a disgrace. There is something extraordinarily irritating, when it is not ludicrous, in a bad statue. It is plastered up before the world to stick and stick for centuries, while man and nations pass away. A poor picture goes into the garret, books are forgotten, but the bronze remains to accuse or shame the populace and perpetuate one of our various idiocies.”– Augustus Saint-Gaudens
“Many of them were bent and crippled, many with white heads, some with bouquets… The impression of those old soldiers, passing the very spot where they left for the war so many years before, thrills me even as I write these words. They faced and saluted the relief, with the music playing ‘John Brown’s Body’…. They seemed as if returning from the war, the troops of bronze marching in the opposite direction, the direction in which they had left for the front, and the young men there represented now showing these veterans the vigor and hope of youth. It was a consecration.” – Augustus Saint Gaudens
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Over the April 2017 school vacation, Gloucester High School students and chaperones traveled to Spain and Portugal. Report from the trip:
Mr. Celestino Basile, World Language Coordinator at the High School, led the group through visits to Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, Costa del Sol, & Granada, as well as many other fascinating spots in Spain before heading to Lisbon, Portugal. Basile has brought many groups of GHS students to Europe over the years. While in Seville, on Easter Sunday, some of the Spanish exchange students who had visited Gloucester in September 2016 (staying for 3 weeks with GHS students and their families, and attending GHS with their hosting student) were able to meet up with and visit the Gloucester group. What an amazing opportunity for these kids, thanks to Mr. Basile! Highlights included a flamenco evening, an evening cruise, visiting the beach at Costa del Sol, and re-connecting with the exchange students who had visited Gloucester.
In Gloucester,MA, one must experience Fisherman at the Wheel, the iconic bronze memorial by Leonard Craske installed in 1925. While in Madrid one must visit Oso y El Madrono– the bear and strawberry tree– the 1967 monument to the symbol of Madrid by artist Antonio Navarro Santafé. Bears are common symbols worldwide but a bear leaning on a strawberry tree and eating the fruit heralds solely Madrid. Before that sculpture commission, Santafé modeled Madrid’s Bear of Berlin as well as sculpture gifts for dignitaries based on Madrid’s memorable coat of arms. Madrid’s bear was modeled on a local one* captured in the Picos de Europa mountains and sent to the zoo in El Retiro. “The bear, more than Difficult, it is ungrateful, because it is animal in a heavy way, and the sculptor has to guess its anatomy through its imposing fur coat. Anyway, like everything done by God, and for Nature, it is beautiful.”
“My bear, which is the Bear of Madrid, in the fabulous wheel of the Puerta del Sol!” Antonio Navarro Santafé
The Gloucester High School students were there! And the Prado, and…
Antonio Navarro Santafe, Parque de Berlin Oso de Berlin, Madrid
Spanish language teacher and chaperone, Heidi Wakeman, sent two photos and summarized the trip for Good Morning Gloucester:
“37 students, 6 chaperones, 2 countries and 1 Spanish tour guide = ONE AMAZING TRIP! The GHS trip to Spain and Portugal was an exciting, educational and exhausting excursion! We landed on Wednesday, April 12 and started sightseeing right away (El Prado museum, to see Las Meninas, el Greco, among other masterpieces). There were cathedrals, churches, plazas and palaces. A highlight was the reunion with Spanish students that lived here in Gloucester last fall. Students spoke and listened to a lot of Spanish, then Portuguese as we finished in Lisbon. As a middle school Spanish teacher at O’Maley, I was so grateful for the experience: my first time chaperoning an overseas trip, and my first time to Spain! The kids will never forget this trip, and neither will I!”- Heidi Wakeman
Sevilla, Spain from Heidi
Chaperones, Toledo Spain, from Heidi
Anna Hyatt Huntington modeled Joan of Arc at her Annisquam home Seven Acres in part from poses of her niece, Clara, and Frank, a ‘magnificent Percheron’ from the Gloucester fire department. The Gloucester cast is a monument to the WW1 heroes of Gloucester. Leonard Craske’s Gloucester Fisherman at the Wheel is a debated composite.
oral history transcript 1969 A Hyatt Mayor Adores his Aunt Anna Hyatt Huntington (read by Marie Demick)
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Anne and Chris Lewis wanted us to share their Whale sculpture with you and Good Morning Gloucester.
They had a little gathering at their home this past Sunday for the purpose of naming the new addition to their family. "Wally" was picked out of the 20 or so names. So, per their request, I’m attaching a photo of Wally the Whale sculpture for you to post on your site.
It’s hand forged/welded and made entirely of Bronze and also has a water feature spouting from top.
Anne and Chris commissioned this piece from local Essex sculptor, Chris Williams (my husband, you probably imagined that).