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Edgecombe Arts to host annual holiday exhibit

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Hobson Pittman sits in front of one of his paintings in a photo likely taken in the early 1960s. in Tarboro. Selected works by Pittman will be on display in the Blount-Bridgers House gallery until Jan. 12.

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From Contributed Reports

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Edgecombe Arts Council is set to exhibit the annual holiday exhibit in the Hobson Pittman Memorial Gallery at the historic Blount-Bridgers House in Tarboro.

Selected works by Hobson Pittman will be on display in the gallery until Jan. 12, ending with a closing reception to celebrate the artist’s 120th birthday at 2 p.m.

“There’s something quite special about this holiday show,” said gallery committee member Buddy Hooks. “We are featuring a number of works that have recently been acquired through gifts to our collection and also from Pittman’s bequest to the NC Museum of Art in 1963 that have found their way by transfer to be part of Tarboro’s permanent collection.”

Hooks said it’s a really big deal that word of the extensive Hobson Pittman Collection has sparked interest from the council’s newest benefactor, Lynne P. Goetting of Downingtown, Pa. She has been custodian of the vast art collection amassed by her aunt, Georgiana M. Peacher, a doctor of speech pathology and professor at Temple University Medical School in Philadelphia. Peacher developed an internationally recognized cure for the previously untreatable laryngeal contact ulcers.

Goetting cheerfully shared her recollections and memories of her beloved aunt in a telephone conversation, remembering everything about the collector and her collection.

At 47, Peacher left her practice, sold her home in Philadelphia and moved to Paris to write. “That was the main thing I wanted to do,” she had said. This was the beginning of a new life of making art, living in New York City and Europe. In 1990 she moved to Maine and in her 70s she completed an MFA in poetry at Vermont College of Art and afterward continued to create artists books, take classes and write, completing some of her most important work.

According to Goetting, her apartment at Thornton Oaks, a retirement community in Brunswick, Maine, was a museum of her life and testimony to her continuing interests. Dozens of paintings covered the red walls, sculptures lined a long table and books and papers stacked neatly everywhere. The University of Southern Maine put on an exhibit in 2012, “Georgiana’s Chronology: A Voice Yearning to Speak,” showing Peacher’s work in painting, drawing, poetry, plays, artist’s books, novels, memoirs and scientific papers.

“The range of it was astounding, that one person did this,” said her niece. “She followed her intuition to create in many different areas.”

Peacher’s collection of paintings included two Pittman works that Goetting offered to honor her aunt. One piece is an oil painting, “The Night Before Christmas,” and is very much Pittman’s signature style depicting a tall and slender holiday tree in the tall bay window of a Victorian parlor. Her other Pittman work is a watercolor sketch done on an Italian beach in Taramina, which will be accompanied in this exhibition by several other such watercolor sketches Pittman had done on trips abroad in the mid 1950s, some on display in the gallery for the first time.

The Hobson Pittman Memorial Gallery has been recipient of gifts to the collections for many years. The original gift of art in 1978 from Alyce Weeks Gordon Patrick honored her beloved uncle, Hoppy — a gift that prompted the movement to create a gallery to display his work and to tell the story of the artist from Edgecombe County. The collection received a vast number of Pittman works in 1998 from the artist’s bequest to the N.C. Museum of Art and later in 2002 following the death of Pittman’s niece, Alyce.

And since, many local patrons have helped to acquire important pieces that help to complement the body of works by our native son.

This annual event is open to the public at no charge, and the community is invited to attend. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and on weekends by appointment by calling 252-823-4159.

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