A collection of works by artist
Aug. 6, 1920 / Feb 9, 1955
of Newport, Rhode Island
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Fine Art from The Drawing Room of Newport
MT2. The is a very strange picture. Matted, size: 13" x 19". Signed on the mat: 'Mary Teehan'. Pastel on paper. Humorous yet depressing. Was Mary seeing local residents thorough her eyes? I have a feeling that the subjects were in the Friends Meeting House in Newport. Price: $400.00
Mary Pauline Teehan was an unusual Newport artist who was born August 6, 1920 and died when young on Feb. 9, 1955. She fell at her home and died a couple of days later. She is buried at St. Colombia's Cemetery in Middletown, Rhode Island. She was not only an artist but an art teacher. She owned and taught at The Teehan Art School on Narragansett Avenue in Newport. She lived at 114 Broadway in Newport. The portfolio that we have available is all on paper. The collection includes about 40 works. Many are just sketches. Her images are very strong. To the best of my knowledge, very little of her work has survived. Only one item has been sold out of this portfolio, a picture to a collector in South Africa. I am not aware if her works were ever exhibited . She was a loner. She has been described an an unhappy person who experienced depressions quite often. Though there are persons with her last name in the Newport area, I can find no one who says that they were related to her.
The following information was emailed to us from someone who knew Mary Teehan: " I just saw your listing of Mary Teehan's work on Google. Mary Teehan was a close friend of mine but we lost touch after I married during WWII and moved away from Newport. You mention Mary's depression. She had a very unhappy childhood . She told me both her parents were alcoholics. She lived in an area near the harbor which was then called "Blood Alley" and is now known as Bowen's Wharf. Mary and I were classmates in Mary Harvey's art classes at Rogers High School/ We both won scholarshiops to the Rhde Island School of Design which we entered in 1938. Adter graduation Mary studied in New York City under Yasuo Kuniyoshi- I believe this was at the Art Student's League. I had to drop out at the end of my sophomore year to help my mother and younger sisters, another reason why we lost touch. I was told that Mrs. van Beuren who studied with Mary was a benefactor and helped to fund the studio Mary had at the corner of Marragansett and Ochre Point Avenue, now part of the Salve Regiina property. Mary had a deep Catholic faith which had much to do with the monks in her drawings. Her faith probably helped her to survive the physical abuse of her childhood. She admired Millet's peasants and many of her drawings at RISD resembled his work. Her own square heavy build was similar. Her thin brown hair was worn in what we called a Dutch cut. The only oil painting of Mary's that I saw when I returned to Newport, many years after her death, was of a cat. It was owned by Dorothy Holt Manuel, our mutual friend- probaby 16"x20". Art and religion were the core of Mary's life. It was all she had or was likely to have. Further details: Mary graduated from rogers High School in 1938. We were in the class of 1942 at RISD, both recipients of State scholarships, tuition free, which meant all wwe had to pay was $25 which I believe was a registration fee. Gordon Peers, the best friend Oakley Spingler, was in charge of the Freshman Foundation course in which we were enrolled. During that first year, a compulsory course was Lettering with John Howard Benson, the noted Newport calligrapher, stone cutter and sculptor. In our sophomore year, we had life drawing classes with John Frazier who headed the Drawing and Painting Department and oil painting with Gordon Peers who later headed the department. Mary, Stella Bradford and I were a threesome for those two years. Stella, called Sally, was a Providence native, descendant of the Puritan Gov. Bradford. Shy and unsure of herself at first, Sally went on to win an important award (a mural at the Biltmore Hotel) in her senior year and became a well-known painter. Mary never mentioned any sisters or brothers. I assumed she was an only child. She was a loner. I believe I was the only friend she had in Newport during her high school years. We walked back and forth from high school together and shared art classes with a wonderful art teacher named Mary Harvey (Meserve) who sent many students to RISD. An obituary from the.Newport Daily News might provide more information and probably could be obtained from the Newport Historical Society. I am writing this because I think it is sad that someone who had only art to enrich her life should go unknown as though no one had cared enough to tell her story. During the time that she returned to Newport from New York, she had the friendship and support of Dorothy Holt Manuel and Marion Carry, who singlehandedly provided art instruction at the then Newport Art Association., but they are gone and cannot tell you about those years. "
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