News Column

Rockport Art Association hosting Wayne Morrell Retrospective

July 17, 2014

By Gail McCarthy, Gloucester Daily Times, Mass.

July 17--A retrospective in tribute to Wayne Morrell, a Cape Ann artist of more than 50 years, will open Friday night at a public reception at the Rockport Art Association.

Morrell, who was born on Christmas Eve in 1923, died last year just weeks shy of his 90th birthday.

An impressionistic painter and award-winning artist, thousands of his paintings are in public and private collections around the world. Morrell ran a Main Street gallery in downtown Rockport for nearly five decades.

Carol Linsky, executive director of the historic Rockport Art Association, said the association is eager to host this major retrospective of his work.

"Wayne was an iconic figure around town," Linsky said. "He was a loved and well-known artist on Main Street, and it's nice we can do this for him. A lot of people are looking forward to seeing his work and having a chance to say goodbye to him. It is a way to honor the artist. His work offers something for everyone in this wide-ranging selection of paintings that reflect the changing moods of New England's natural beauty."

In 1967, his painting of an angler fishing in lily pond was on the cover of Reader's Digest.

Morrell's paintings boast layers of thick paint, and in some places, the paint noticeably protrudes from the canvas.

His artistic legacy began with drawing. He would sketch on any paper within arm's reach, whether on an envelope or napkin. Any visitor who would sit for a few minutes would leave his colorful gallery with a small sketch.

"Sketches are my spark of creativity," he said a few years back during an interview at his gallery.

Morrell worked in the field of commercial art in aero and space industrial design before he devoted his life to painting full-time, and opened an art gallery. He became a member of the Rockport Art Association, now in its 93rd year, which is among the oldest and most active art organizations in the country.

Morrell once said: "The key to art is the botany of plants, the physics of light and the geometry of nature."

Linsky noted that many in Rockport remember Morrell as "filled with joy," always immersed in painting, and being a man of wide interests, who always enjoyed meeting new people.

"This exhibition is filled with paintings that reflect his vibrant personality," she said.

Others remember Morrell for his generosity -- he often gave prints of his colorful work to neighbors, acquaintances and even the local post office. He would send correspondence about his varied interests to his friends, and often enclosing copies of his smaller prints.

William Hahn, a close family friend, said the show also will include a few works by his daughter, Lisa Morrell, who is gifted in portraiture.

Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-675-2706, or via email at

If you go

Who and what: Wayne Morrell Retrospective exhibition.

When: A free public opening reception takes place Friday, July 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. Show runs through Aug. 19

Where: Maddocks Gallery of the Rockport Art Association at 12 Main St.

How much: Free. For more information, visit


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Source: Gloucester Daily Times (MA)

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