The son of a Gloucester fisherman, the late Paul Francis Frontiero Sr., began fishing with his father at the age of 12.
He did not know then that this would become his way of life for many years. He never finished Gloucester High School because his father was injured while fishing and he had to leave his studies. As a result, he spent many years laboring in jobs at sea.
Frontiero, born in 1925, even worked as a doryman, an avocation that became extinct; with the innovation of the motorized trawler, the dory fishing industry began to wither in the late 1930s. However, he remained in demand on the port’s fishing vessels because of his skills as an engineer and cook.
But when his sons were born, he left a life at sea for shoreside work at a leather tanning company in Peabody. When the company closed down, he turned to his lifelong love of drawing to focus on making a living as an artist. He created hundreds of paintings of life along the coast, from Gloucester’s Lanes Cove to Rockport’s Twin Lighthouses.
Paul F. Frontiero Jr. said his father started to sell his paintings out of his home, earning enough money to pay the bills.
The public can savor some of those paintings the exhibition “From Ships to Shores” at the State of the Art Gallery in the Rocky Neck art colony. The show opens with a public reception on Saturday, Aug. 31.
Frontiero died last year at the age of 86, just three months after the murder of his grandson, Paul Frontiero III.
In the wake of their father’s death, his sons needed to address estate issues, and they called upon art dealers Sharon Pablo and Roger Armstrong to inventory the boxes of tightly packed paintings stashed in his attic. They had no idea as to the quantity and quality of the work they would discover.