Rhode Island Artscape: Newport's Forgotten Artist

Sep 24, 2015

This Saturday, Sept. 26, the Newport Art Museum opens the exhibit "Reviving Durr Freedley: Newport's Forgotten Artist." Freedly painted the murals that cover the interior of the Seamen's Institute chapel, but the painter and his art has been all but forgotten, until now.

Born in Indiana as Jesse Jacob Friedley, the artist arrived in Newport as Durr Freedley in 1932. Freedley died in an automobile accident in Lexington, MA, in 1938. During his brief time in Newport, Freedley became a noted presence in the local community, painting portraits for numerous Newport families and befriending creative forces such as Maud Howe Elliott and John Howard Benson.

The museum's exhibit highlights Freedley’s accomplishments beyond his work on Aquidneck Island. He was an Arts and Crafts artist who transitioned to Art Deco, painting elegant portraits that combined the sensibilities of the early Italian Renaissance, Asian art, and the French Art Deco movement.

The exhibition, in the Cushing Gallery, includes portraits, drawings, ecclesiastical designs and architectural drawings from Newport’s “forgotten” artist. It runs through January 18, 2016.