Reception Saturday For Newquist Memorial Art Show & Sale
A collection of art by the late Ruth Newquist is on view through February 23 at Art & Frame Gallery, 77 Main Street.
The exhibition, which had been on the books for months, became a memorial presentation after the artist passed away last month following illness. The collection on view offers viewers more than 30 beautifully framed watercolors and oils filled with the bright, flowing colors and style the longtime Newtown resident was known and awarded for.
The collection is on view until February 23. A testament to Newquist’s talent and popularity, more than half of the 33 pieces on view had already been purchased as of Monday afternoon, before the show had officially opened.
The public is invited to join The Society of Creative Arts of Newtown — the artists collective founded by Newquist and her husband Larry Newquist Sr more than 50 years ago — for the formal opening of “In Memoriam” on Saturday, February 10, from 4 to 6 pm.
Live music will be performed by Damselfly.
Proceeds from the show and sale will be donated to SCAN.
An Award-Winning Artist
Ruth Newquist began practicing art as a child. She became well known for her oil and watercolor paintings of rural New England and urban New York City. She loved painting both old barns as a way of preserving their memory, and the vibrant daily life of lower Manhattan, especially SoHo.
Newquist earned her BFA from Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, and then attended The Art Students League in New York City. Early in her career, she worked in the Empire State Building and then as a textile designer at R.S. Associates in NYC. She went on to earn a master’s degree from Southern Connecticut State University and became an art teacher at New Fairfield High School.
She and her husband moved to Newtown in 1969.
She was a signature member of National Watercolor Society (NWS), a board member of The Salmagundi Club in NYC, and an elected member of Connecticut Watercolor Society (CWS), North East Watercolor Society (NEWS), North Shore Art Association, Mass., and The Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, NYC.
She was also featured in American Artist magazine in June 1999 and is represented in the prestigious hardcover watercolor books Splash 9 and Splash 12.
Newquist earned countless accolades, including the highest watercolor award in the Salmagundi Club Annual Membership Exhibition, and the Thomas C. Picard Award for oil painting in the 2002 Salmagundi Club Annual Membership Exhibition.
Newquist sought fellow artists when she and her husband, the late Larry Newquist Sr, formed The Society of Creative Arts of Newtown (SCAN), she told The Newtown Bee in 2019.
Over the years, she served in several SCAN positions, including president. It was her idea to begin the group’s iconic afternoon art demonstrations. She consistently brought in talented artists such as Frank Federico, Charles Reid, and Robert Cottingham to demonstrate their way of painting.
She was very proud of SCAN and the growth she saw in her own work and that of other members.
For decades she celebrated her hometown and New York City, creating large and immediately recognizable oils and watercolors. Her signature works were widely shown throughout New England.
Retirement in 1985 meant more time to paint, and frequent trips into New York to take photos that she then used to create reproductions of street scenes and subjects. She did countless trips around Newtown with the same purpose.
“I like to paint on location, and a lot of my pieces represent Newtown,” Newquist said in 2015. That was the year she was named Grand Marshal of the Newtown Labor Day Parade, which carried the theme “Celebrating the Fine Art of Newtown — Honoring SCAN.”
Her hometown was filled with inspiring scenes, she added, as are so many of the surrounding towns that she captured on canvas.
To achieve what she felt was the most interesting snapshot in time, Newquist would sometimes overlay multiple images from the same vantage point with various subjects that appeared in different images as they passed through frames.
“I try to look for interesting subjects — sometimes I try to find someone whose hair is red, just to provide a visual focal point,” she told The Newtown Bee in 2019 while hanging a show at C.H. Booth Library. “I love to hear people say that my figures look so natural. People also look at the work and immediately identify the location because they’ve been on that corner or walked down that street. In most of my works, I can tell you what street they are on.”
That presentation five years ago was the first time, she said, that allowed her to present all of her New York streetscapes in one location.
Over the years Newquist was also very active in additional Newtown activities, including The League of Women Voters and The Garden Club of Newtown.