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50 years of Westport life showcased in Dearborn paintings

Published 7:35 am, Thursday, June 27, 2013

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  • A painting of Westport storefronts by Gabrielle A. Dearborn, which will be featured in a 50-year retrospective of her work at the Westport Library through Sept. 25. Photo: Contributed Photo / Westport News
    A painting of Westport storefronts by Gabrielle A. Dearborn, which will be featured in a 50-year retrospective of her work at the Westport Library through Sept. 25. Photo: Contributed Photo

 

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An artist's vision of Westport life spanning more than 50 years, and captured in nearly 100 colorful paintings and drawings, will be displayed through Sept. 25 at the Westport Library, 20 Jesup Road.

The exhibit, "Watching Westport: 50 Years of Art by Gabrielle A. Dearborn," will feature an array of the late Dearborn's work, which ranged from the gardens and landscape of her own Wright Street yard as well as may other Westport settings.

The exhibition opens June 28 in the library's Great Hall. A reception is planned at 6:30 p.m. July 12 in the library. It is free and open to the public.

The Scottish-born Dearborn came to Westport after meeting her American husband, Hamilton, during World War II while working as an artist in Britain's Office of War Information.

On Wright Street, her subject was often the large field surrounded by woods on her own property. But she also sketched scenes from life in parking lots, church yards, beaches, parks, playgrounds and public buildings, as well as roadside scenes or architecture that caught her eye.

Known to friends as "Gay," Dearborn showed her work locally in numerous group shows, primarily at the Silvermine Art Center. In 2008, the Westport Historical Society presented a retrospective of her paintings and drawings, and she also exhibited at the Carriage Barn Gallery of the New Canaan Society for the Arts.

The English garden she created in back of her house figured in much of her art over the 50 years she lived there. Having raised her children and an assortment of exotic pets, which included a monkey and raccoon in addition to many dogs and cats, in the last decade of her life Dearborn on planning the design of her garden.

Her husband died in 1977, and she remained active and independent until her death in 2010, just shy of her 94th birthday.

Her son, Jo Dearborn, and daughter-in-law, Karen Gersch, who served as curator for the exhibit of her work, archived the vast body of her lifetime's work, which was stored in 6-foot-tall shelving units, notebooks, closets and loose pieces were even found tucked in the pages of catalogs and magazines.

For more information about "Watching Westport: 50 Years of Art by Gabrielle A. Dearborn," go here: http://bit.ly/137fDte