Gloucester native Charles Movalli made an impact on the world of art, both during his life and after his death.

The noted artist, writer and teacher was prolific, having painted many thousands of canvases in his lifetime.

Three years after his death at age 70, he’s still garnering attention.

The cover of the October issue of American Art Review showcases his painting titled “Parade,” depicting the patriotic pageantry that accompanies Fourth of July processions throughout the country.

This month, the Rockport Art Association & Museum has mounted a special exhibition titled “In the Moment: The Paintings of Charles Movalli.”

The show hanging in both the Hibbard and Maddocks galleries features 137 of Movalli’s works. In addition to the dozens of his impressionistic paintings on display, a special section is devoted to his more experimental and adventurous works.

Movalli made an impact well beyond his beloved Cape Ann. He gained a reputation as a teacher and lecturer, always filling venues to standing-room-only capacity.

He lectured and conducted art demonstrations at more than 100 art organizations and led painting workshops in 24 states in the U.S. as well as abroad, including in Bermuda, Mexico, Canada, England, France and Switzerland.

“He had the greatest talent. I know it because I know painting,” said Betty Lou Schlemm, an artist and teacher. “People paint, but Charles (was) a composer of painting.”

Movalli’s enthusiasm for all of the fine arts was infectious, whether he was talking about a Cape Ann master painter or a composer or an inventor.

But his most beloved creator was Frank Lloyd Wright, the 20th-century architect and writer.

Stapleton Kearns, a longtime Rockport artist, wrote the essay that appears in the exhibit catalog, which was adapted for the American Art Review cover story.

In the piece, Kearns shares the enigmatic artist’s trajectory, his love of life and his enduring legacy.

“With Movalli’s tremendous production, exciting color and inspired design, he was welcomed into galleries all over New England and ultimately across the United States,” Kearns wrote.

Kearns shared one story in which Movalli had visited the grave of Wright, where he found a flower that he later dried and carried with him in his wallet.

Also a prolific writer, Movalli in one article wrote about the value of “intuitive painting,” and this, among his many other lessons, has been a cherished piece of artistic advice passed along to his countless students over the decades.

Special programs related to this exhibit include a gallery talk by artist Dale Ratcliff, Movalli’s wife, on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 2 p.m.

There will be a panel discussion with John Caggiano, David Curtis, Tom Gill, Mike Graves, Ken Knowles and Schlemm on Thursday, Oct. 24, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  

The opening of the exhibit this past Saturday attracted both local residents, as well as collectors from around the county.

“We had a gentleman from West Virginia waiting outside for us to open, and he had come up just to see the show,” said James Craig, executive director of Rockport Art Association & Museum.

Craig sees this exhibit as important to ensuring that Movalli’s legacy is honored and remembered.

“When considering the broad range of artists that have plied their trade here on Cape Ann in the last half-century, Charlie Movalli is beyond a doubt one of the most important,” he said. “His work is a conduit, a means by which the unique Cape Ann style is presented to the world at large and for artistic influences from beyond this region to be introduced and amalgamated into the Cape Ann artistic vision.” 

 

IF YOU GO

What: “In the Moment: The Paintings of Charles Movalli”

When: Through Oct. 27. Gallery open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.

Where: Rockport Art Association & Museum, 12 Main. St., Rockport

How much: Free admission

More information: www.rockportartassn.org

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