Mother Goose genius design | 1938 rotating sculpture by artist Richard H. Recchia and Sam Hershey WPA mural Rockport Public Library #RockportMA

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

Samuel F. Hershey WPA era mural 1939 at Rockport Public Library Rockport Mass. ©c ryan

Samuel F. Hershey Rockport Art Assoc catalogue members from 1940

Stevens 1939 mural Rockport Mass post office
W. Lester Stevens 1939 mural in Rockport Post Office

Josh Falk street mural outside

Josh Falk 

Once Upon a Contest

is displayed on the same floor as Recchia and Hershey works February 3 –  February 29, 2020.

clone tag: -6903914027485544744
Once Upon a Contest exhibit of children’s picture books is presented by the four libraries of Cape Ann with support from Bruce J Anderson Foundation | The Boston Fund . In this photograph, carved box by Lars and Betty Wiberg. Illustration by John Plunkett for Prince of Winter on left and illustration of dog by Mary Rhinelander on right.

 

Art Conservation at City Hall Gloucester MA

image002

Catherine Ryan writes-

Hi Joey

SAVING ART CULTURE HISTORY

Besides the Public Art Challenge that is happening as we speak, the Gloucester Committee for the Arts (CFTA) has other exciting news in January 2013!

Part of the work of the Committee for the Arts (CftA) includes mapping the way for appropriate and comprehensive ongoing preservation plans for the City’s art holdings. The CftA is committed to the preservation of Gloucester ’s irreplaceable cultural legacy for future generations.

Art conservation involves the cleaning, preserving, and occasionally the repairing of works of art. Art conservator, Peter Williams, will be setting up scaffolding in City Hall to commence cleaning on some of our stellar WPA murals by Charles Allan Winter (1869-1942). Williams, who has worked with museums and galleries for over 40 years and began his career as conservator with the MFA, was chosen to perform the restoration and preservation work and to complete the work in Phases as funding allows. The restoration work will be a great chance for everybody to see a very cool crossover of science and arts up close, all the while eyeing some of the very best New Deal art in the country. If you’re visiting City Hall, look up, look around! We know art can be a touchstone for so many learning disciplines. Take this chance to get a behind the scenes look at the preservation of our beloved murals. It’s a real joy to be able to look at art like these special murals, learn more about them and now, too, this opportunity to share awareness about the science of conservation.

Before any restoration work could begin, the CftA for several years spearheaded a fundraising effort and applied for grants for the painstaking process of cleaning and restoring these giant murals. Among the contributors were individuals and foundations/grants, including seARTS/Massachusetts Cultural Council, the City of Gloucester CPA funding, and the Bruce J. Anderson Foundation. Perhaps some readers may have purchased postcards at City Hall on Middle Street walk or coasters at another event all of which have contributed to this fund. With over $28,000 raised, the CftA now has the support necessary to begin Phase I for the first few murals, and will continue to raise more funds to finish the projects. We are so fortunate for these contributions. Thank you!

Here are details from two murals. This series by Charles Allan Winter wraps around the doors and architecture surrounding the lobby just outside the Mayor’s office. City Council in Session fills the space above the collector’s windows (approximately 7 feet high by eleven feet wide). City Government covers the opposite wall. Tucked in and around the arch-topped lunettes, the two-part mural, Civic Virtues, spreads across the two other opposing walls. This Winter series focuses on government themes as befitting their location, and the test of time. They offer special glimpses of our community in the 1930s as they include many portraits from life, great detail, artistry and ideas. Note the boys (youth) in the “planning” section of Civic Virtues clasping pieces from a model of the Gloucester High School .

image001

ABOUT THE GLOUCESTER COMMITTEE FOR THE ARTS

Made up of citizen volunteers appointed by the Mayor and City Council, The Committee for the Arts was established by City ordinance in 2000 to promote and celebrate Gloucester ’s cultural heritage.  The Committee recently has worked to preserve and increase awareness of Gloucester ’s WPA murals and other City-owned art. Additionally, the Committee develops and promotes educational programs and establishes awards and honors to recognize local artists. It implements a city-wide public art policy.