Published: January 24, 2017
HINGHAM, MASS. – Patricia Jobe Pierce, prominent art dealer, historian and authenticator of American paintings and founder of Pierce Galleries, Inc, died peacefully on December 24. She was 73 years old.
Born May 18, 1943, Pat grew up in Los Angeles and Old Greenwich, Conn. In her youth, she was drawn to the theater and performing arts. She acted at the Glendale Centre Theatre and the Pasadena Playhouse before moving to Old Greenwich, where she performed at the Greenwich Theater. She was the first female president of Wilson Junior High School in Glendale, and was class president at Greenwich High School.
In 1965, she received a bachelor’s degree from the School of Fine Arts at Boston University, where she developed a lasting interest in civil rights. She was an outspoken advocate for freedom of speech and she spoke proudly of marching with Martin Luther King. For a brief period, she loved teaching English and drama at Wareham High School. In 1968, Pat founded Pierce Galleries, Inc, to which she devoted the rest of her working life.
Pat is most known for her contribution to the American art scene. She was a member of the Appraisers Association of America, the National Writers Union, and several museum and humanitarian committees. She was a pioneer in the field of art history and authored many notable books, including John Joseph Enneking, American Impressionist (1972); The Ten American Painters (1976); Edmund C. Tarbell & the Boston School of Painting (1980); The Watercolored World of JWS Cox (1981); Richard Earl Thompson, American Impressionist (1982); and Edward Henry Potthast, More Than One Man (2006).
Her catalogue raisonné compilations include the life work of Impressionist painters John Joseph Enneking (1841-1916) and Edmund Charles Tarbell (1865-1938); marine painter William S. Barrett (1854-1927); and Expressionist Anne Carleton (1878-1968), among others.
Pat wrote numerous articles for more than 30 magazines. Most recently she has written feature articles for Only Nantucket (2013-2016), Fine Arts Connoisseur (2006, 2014) and she enjoyed her online blog for Newsmax. Pat never stopped writing and she would not retire from her beloved Pierce Galleries. She truly loved participating and being connected with all aspects of the art world and the public.
Judith Curtis, curator of the Rockport Art Association and author, said of Pat: “The untimely passing of Patricia Jobe Pierce has left a vast hole in the fabric of America’s art scene. Pat was smart and funny, erudite and savvy; a larger-than-life character who loved nothing more than sharing her enthusiasm for all aspects of les arts plastiques. Through her writing she offered invaluable insight into the practical as well as the creative mores of the artistic world. Interestingly, her emergence as a writer coincided with the rise of American Impressionism and the Boston School, on both of which subjects she quickly became an acknowledged expert. Through her numerous books and articles, and the artists she championed, Pat provided priceless scholarship on America’s contribution to the larger art world of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries. She was one of a kind, and will be sadly missed.”
John Kilroy, artist, remembers Pat: “She was one of the most dynamic individuals I’ve ever had the privilege to know and work with. Her scholarly approach and amazing ability to discern quality is legendary. I had the luxury to call her a close friend and she was, on every level, in a class by herself. Her generosity to artists and her guidance in their careers knows no equal. Her books are renowned classics. Her depth and breadth intellectually was quite astonishing and she had no place in her life for the mentally lazy or charlatans of any kind. Her loss is of the greatest detriment to art, literature and music and will be sorely missed. A great spirit has moved on.”
Over her lifetime, Pat sponsored painters, sculptors, musicians and dancers. Her gregarious personality gave endless enjoyment, as she loved connecting with people from all walks of life. Her friends included poets, opera singers, ballet dancers, painters, doctors, patrons and prominent businessmen. She was engaging and honest and always had the time and the effort to speak with anyone about art, life and love.
Private art dealer and collector Ed Shein recalled of Pat: “I knew Pat for all 45 years of my career in the art world. She had more energy, was funnier, and was more upbeat than anyone I ever met. I will miss talking to her.” John Hagan, an art dealer based in Massachusetts, said, “When I think of Pat, several words come to mind. Scholarship, passionate and legend. Clearly, Pat enjoyed research and produced some very good work. If nothing else, she was passionate in her love of art and being a dealer. I enjoyed the many years of working with her. She was great fun. She was certainly a legend in the business.”
Pat enriched life with art and she infused integrity into her all of her dealings. Gavin Spanierman, managing director of Gerald Peters Gallery, adds, “I was very fond of her. She was a great friend and wonderful dealer with an extraordinary eye, but most importantly, she was straightforward and honest and always stuck to her moral and ethical code, which is a very rare thing to find in our business.”
Pat will be missed by many. She is survived by her two children, Christine Johnson of San Diego, Calif., and Matthew Jobe Pierce of Brunswick, Maine, by her granddaughter, Kimberly Nicole McAdams of San Diego, and by her loving husband, Marco Apollo Pierce of Hingham and Nantucket, Mass.
The family would appreciate memorial donations to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or to the Nantucket Arts Council, PO Box 2176, Nantucket MA 02584.
-Submitted by the family
January 17, 2023
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