The Boston Globe has a fascinating story of the Sam and Sheila Robbins who built a collection of 1,000 works of regional artists depicting New Hampshire’s White Mountains. The Robbins built their collection out of love and passion but also stubborn defiance of art historical assessment. Even today, they balk at the valuation of the works they treasure.
Market value is merely and irritation, however. The collection is being donated to the Peabody Essex Museum:
“It just grew like dandelions,” Sheila Robbins said of their collection. “It wasn’t something we set out to do. Instead of spending a lot of money going out to eat, we would buy a painting.”
Six decades later, they have a vast trove of 19th- and early 20th-century New England paintings, a collection rich in White Mountain landscapes, still lifes, and modernist works by painters who once flourished around Provincetown.
Their 1,000-work collection now fills nearly every corner of their Newton home, where paintings hang from walls, stand propped against banisters, and crowd an upstairs hallway. Their children’s bedrooms have both been commandeered for storage, with hundreds of paintings standing in serried ranks, separated by cardboard and old political yard signs.
But not for much longer: The couple are donating their entire collection to the Peabody Essex Museum — a gift that promises to transform the Salem institution’s holdings of American regional painting.
This Newton couple is an art-collecting powerhouse (The Boston Globe)