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History

The Newburyport Art Association was founded in 1948. The Association brought together artists under the leadership of Sam Sargent, a painter and art teacher and native of Newburyport. The founding members included Laura Coombs Hills, a member of a flourishing group of aspiring women artists in nineteenth century Boston. She rose to national prominence as a painter of landscapes, pastel floral subjects, and miniatures.

The Association’s first exhibition was held in July 1948 at the old courthouse on Bartlet Mall during “Open House” in Newburyport. The Association leased space on Threadneedle Alley, State Street and at the YWCA before purchasing the building at 65 Water Street in 1969. The building is one of the few surviving late eighteenth-century brick buildings on Newburyport‘s waterfront. The historic building houses the NAA’s office, galleries, studio and library.

Sam Sargent (1889-1959)  

Sam Sargent, a native of Newburyport, was a painter and art teacher. He graduated from the Massachusetts Normal Art School (later, the Massachusetts College of Art). His paintings were selected for an international exhibition in London, and exhibited at the Copley Gallery, Boston, the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover and the Currier Museum, Manchester, New Hampshire.

Sam Sargent photograph courtesy of The Clark Currier Inn

Sam Sargent photograph courtesy of The Clark Currier Inn

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Laura Coombs Hills (1859-1952)

Among the NAA charter members was Laura Coombs Hills. Born in Newburyport, she was a member of a flourishing group of aspiring women artists in nineteenth century Boston. She rose to national prominence as a painter of landscapes, pastel floral subjects and miniatures.

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Laura Hills portrait

Photos courtesy of The Historical Society of Old Newbury

Photos courtesy of The Historical Society of Old Newbury

 

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