In keeping with the legacy she has maintained for decades, highly-acclaimed New England impressionist Hilda Neily just unveiled her new 2018 Summer Series at the Hilda Neily Gallery in Provincetown, MA. The latest series of paintings by the plein air Impressionist feature her signature vibrant landscapes, seascapes and still lifes; all reminiscent of the great French Impressionists. Neily’s contemporary works are a soulful culmination of light and color, which have been and continue to be her inspiration. The extraordinary new works, all oil on board paintings of the cottages and gardens, boats, bays and dunes of the area, help keep the Provincetown mystique alive, as does her gallery in the town’s East End Gallery District.
Hilda Neily has been living and creating in Provincetown, the oldest continuous artist colony in the U.S., for over 40 years. She started painting with American master impressionist Henry Hensche at The Cape School of Art in Provincetown in the early 1970's. Hensche founded The Cape School of Art in 1933, carrying on and developing the ideas of his own teacher and mentor, Charles Hawthorne, who started the Cape Cod School of Art in Provincetown in 1899, paving the way for the town to become one of America's preeminent art communities. Hensche embraced the Hawthorne "color note" approach to painting.
Neily worked intensely with Henry Hensche for over 15 years, maintaining a close relationship while attending his daily classes studying light and color. Now, after more than forty years, she continues to carry on the legacy of Hawthorne and Hensche, while also teaching in this important historic tradition at The Cape School of Art, which she and a group of former Hensche students reorganized as a nonprofit in 2010.
Hilda Neily is considered to be one of the Cape School's most adept practitioners and her position in the community was celebrated in 2015 when she was honored with a two month long mid-career retrospective of her work by The Provincetown Art Association and Museum.
She grew up in Windsor, Vermont, a short distance from the homes of Maxfield Parrish and Beaux-Arts sculptor Augustus St. Gaudens, and loved hearing stories about the Cornish Art Colony. Neily spent many hours studying the paintings of Parrish who was not only present there, but would hang his paintings in public places in town for people to enjoy. She considers herself blessed to have studied the remarkable color and majestic quality of these original Parrish paintings throughout her early years. Neily remembers going into the town’s State Street Bank when she was very small, holding her mother’s hand and looking up at what was probably the first original painting she had ever seen; a Maxfield Parrish. As she stared up at a beautiful portrayal of an oak tree before a magnificent sunset sky, it is possible that her life spent following her passion for painting was decided in that moment. It was 20 years later, after graduating from The Boston Art Institute, that Neily met another great colorist, Henry Hensche and she once again became fascinated by the artist’s use of color.
Neily feels equally blessed at being able to experience the most magnificent light a painter can paint in the Provincetown/Cape Cod area. Her landscapes and other works are all done on location. As she explains “To me painting on location is more than painting a picture… its communicating the experience of being there in a specific place at a specific time. That initial excitement you first felt when you looked at the spot is an element of the experience. The color of things describes them best. All of these thoughts and more are present when I look at the scene I will be painting.”
Neily started showing professionally in 1969, with her collector base growing extensively since then. She has shown throughout New England, New York City, across the U.S. and in the U.K., while her paintings are included in prestigious collections nationally and in Europe. She continues to study color in the natural light working outdoors on location and studying still life in the north light indoors. She also explores various mediums in her work and is currently teaching at The Cape School of Art workshops on light and color.
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