The following is from Peter Kostoulakos, AOA, NEAA: Fine Art Consultant, www.pkart.com
Mary Robbins (1919-2008)
Cape Ann artist, Mary Robbins (Murphy) was born on March 7, 1919 and died on June 27, 2008 at the age of 89. She was the daughter of Arthur E. and Alice Perham of Malden, MA and went through the Malden school system. Early art training for Mary began with her artist father, Arthur E. Perham, bringing her to Cape Ann to draw and paint. Later, she studied with Polly Nordell of Boston and John Chetcuti of Rockport, MA.
Working alongside Cape Ann artists, including Emile Gruppe, Stanley Woodward, and Aldro Hibbard she developed her impressionist style. As stated in the 2006, Artists of the Rockport Art Association, “She is an impressionist and calls herself — without apology — a romantic, communicating both serenity and mystery in her art.” As a fine artist, she signed her work ‘Mary Robbins’, and is listed as such in the Rockport member’s books. Mary is best known for her original watercolors on rice paper and, in her impressionist style, she creates a calm yet cheerful mood by composing with light, color, and contrast. She also worked in oil and enjoyed making monoprints.
Also a talented graphic artist, Mary co-founded Robbins Reproductions with her greeting card publisher and lithographer husband, Harold M. Robbins. In their shop in Dock Square, Rockport, they made color reproductions of paintings by Cape Ann artists. After Harold’s death, Mary married Herbert A. Murphy and changed her name to Mary Robbins Murphy. She worked every day in the studio Herb built at 17 King Street in Rockport.
In addition to exhibiting locally, Mary painted many commissions, and her original art and reproductions have been exhibited and collected throughout the United States and abroad. She was a prolific painter and donated some of her works to charity and to the Town of Rockport. She was the recipient of numerous awards over the course of her career, a small sample of which includes the 1985 James G. Geddes Memorial Award for a landscape in watercolor (“Private Mooring”), the 1999 Freyda Gallery Award for excellence in watercolor (“A Winter’s Walk”), the 2004 Geneva Underwood Award for excellence in watercolor (“Bowl & Bottle”), and the 2008 RAA Award for excellence in any medium (“Onions”). In 2000 the RAA honored her with a gold medal. Articles about Mary and her work have appeared in Artist Magazine and North Shore Magazine.
Through the Rockport Art Association, the “Mary Robbins Murphy Artist’s Prize for Creativity” is available to talented artists exhibiting there.? Mary exhibited her work at the University Club in Boston; the Academic Artists in Springfield, MA; the Butler Institute of America in Youngstown, OH, where she was awarded a silver bowl; the Rockefeller Collection in NYC; the Mary Bryant Gallery in Jeffersonville, VT; the Harbor Gallery in Rockport, and at her studios in Rockport, MA. Her memberships include the Rockport Art Association, the North Shore Arts Association, and the Academic Artists’ Association of Springfield.
Artists of the Rockport Art Association: 1921-1980 ed., p.138; 1990 ed., p.135; 1996 ed., p. 134; 2001 ed., p.124; 2006 ed., p.82; daughters Beverly Robbins of Rockport and Mary Ellen Lepionka of Gloucester, MA?