Nine by Six: Introduction


Gurari Collections is pleased to present NINE BY SIX , an exhibition by six artists who all have a love of plein air painting.

It all started with a grant. When Stephen Harby got the Gabriel grant he suddenly worried that his technique would not be up to the challenge, and his colleague Tina Beebe came up with the brilliant idea of hiring a watercolor teacher. The watercolor group they formed with Buzz Yudell expanded, retracted and traveled, painting and visiting architecture, from California to Morocco, Sicily, Provence. Stephen soared through the Gabriel grant, only once being required by his rather severe but gimlet-eyed French advisor to rinse his too colorful painting beneath the robinet.

Tina and Buzz were protégés of Charles Moore, then Dean of Architecture at Yale, who inspired Buzz to to pursue architecture, Tina to devote herself to architectural color, and both of them to follow him to California. Thinking it would be fun just for a year, they have now been there for thirty-five, married, with thriving firm and followers.

When Alec Purves was offered the possibility of teaching a Yale graduate architecture program in Rome, he said he had one condition: that former student Stephen Harby share the post. Each summer for ten years with dozens of students in tow through the busy streets, the two have examined Rome inside out, inspiring and making beautiful watercolors of its architectural wonders.

When Wendy Artin met Russ Gerard, she was already based in Rome, having set foot in her future husband’s travel bookshop and thus turned her own traveling into the ephemeral sort. Russ, formerly Associate Dean of Roger Williams School of Architecture, was delighted to show Wendy’s work in his new gallery, as years earlier he had brought his students to draw inspiration from her show at the Boston Public Library.

The following year while Stephen was a Fellow at the American Academy in Rome, he set out to look up the niece of his former colleague Robert Harper. It turned out that president of the Academy, Adele Chatfield-Taylor, was doing the same. The two joined forces and took turns lavishing upon Wendy, in her very small apartment, great kindness and support.

Recently, prominent Boston architect and talented landscape painter Jeremiah Eck came to Russ Gerard’s gallery to look upon the work of Wendy Artin. He reminisced about one of his first great teachers at Columbia who had been a major influence. Russ said “but here he is!” and presented him with his former professor Alec Purves, who had just written the brilliant introduction to the show’s catalogue.

As chance may have it, these six artists’ encounters have now provided us with this exhibition, NINE BY SIX .