Rockport Art Association

Under the name Winslow Wilson, Wilson was an active member of the Rockport Art Association (“RAA”), in Rockport, Massachusetts.  Wilson applied for Artist Membership on July 25, 1946.  Wilson’s Application for Artist Membership reflects a permanent address of Carnegie Hall, New York, and a Rockport, Massachusetts address as the Granite Shore Inn.  The application was approved on July 29, 1946 by Bernard Klonin and Iren? Rose.  Wilson was involved with RAA through 1972.

At Rockport, he maintained a studio and taught portraiture.  Bing McGilvray of the Cape Ann Museum was fortunate to communicate with a local artist familiar with Wilson.  Her thoughtful and insightful communication and recollections are reprinted below:

BETTY LOU SCHLEMM ON WINSLOW WILSON. June 28, 2015:

Dear Bing, when you brought up Winslow Wilson’s name my mind was flooded with the warm and wonderful life at the Rockport Art Assoc.   Even before I moved to Rockport my week end trips to Rockport became the center of my life.   It was the figure painting groups in the afternoon.  Never, even in art school was there such a group of dedicated artists.   These groups were lead week after week, year after year by Winslow Wilson.  A group is only as good as its leader and Winslow was truly a professional at this.   He was very quiet, strict in keeping the room quiet, the model was always felt to be important and honored by us.   He got all the models for us or most all, they were Cape Ann people.  It was portrait groups.

Winslow always sat in the middle front when painting, did oils but never too large.   He had those of us that wanted to paint large ones paint in the extreme corners of the room or in the back.   No one ever as far as I know ran groups as good, professionally and he made sure everyone was given a good place to see the model, no one could take too much room that would be unfair to another.

Now when I think of him all that really comes to mind is his always reminding us when we talked or walked around, “the model is posing”.

He was good friends with the painter-lawyer Earl Merchant and Isabel LaFrieniere a fine figure and landscape painter.   Isabel became I believe the first woman president of the RAA and its first curator.

All are gone now but I remember each one, their paintings and where they worked in those days.  It was my life, it was their live and our leader was Winslow Wilson.  The only one left besides me now is Martha Farnsworth, a member of RAA and another good painter.

Each day at break time we would go down to the old kitchen, sit at that great round oak table near the cast iron cooking stove and tell stories.  One of these was of Winslow being the only artist to exhibit at the Vose galleries.   I do not know if this were true or not.   It would have been an honor to do so.   And so Bing this is all I know of him and yet consider him and everyone in that group my friend.   It was a family held together by the art.      Betty