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 C. Robert Perrin  (1915 - 1999)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts      Known for: sea-landscape, illustrations, mural painting

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Ad Code: 4
C Robert Perrin
from Auction House Records.
Reflections of the Past
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Medford, Massachusetts, Robert Perrin was a noted marine and landscape painter, primarily in watercolor.  He is especially remembered for paintings of foggy days on the waterfront, street scenes with reflective puddles, and most recently, recognizable people of the past returning as ghosts.

He studied art in Boston at the School of Practical Art, now called the Art Institute of Boston, and continued painting in France where he served in the armed forces during World War II. A large mural by him is in the U.S.O. Club in Chateau Thierry.

After World War II, he settled on Nantucket Island, off of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where he loved the scenic views and determined that this was the best place to enhance his career. He also spent much time at Rockport, Massachusetts.

In 1956, he opened the first art gallery on Old South Wharf at Nantucket and in 1966, built his gallery on Washington Street and moved to Nantucket permanently.

He was a member of the American Watercolor Society, and many of his paintings have been made available as limited edition prints.
C. Robert Perrin was born July 13, 1915, in Medford, Massachusetts, the son of Arthur A. and Edna May Loomis Perrin.  He studied art at the School of Practical Art in Boston (currently The Art Institute of Boston) from 1935-1937.  He was a commercial artist in Boston (1938-1942) before he served in World War II.  While in the U.S. army as a Sergeant (1942-1945), the artist coped with the battles and suffering around him by painting comical and serious scenes of WWII in Germany and France and he finished a huge mural for the U.S.O. Club in Chateau Thierry.  In 1945 his army duties ended and he returned to Boston to continue a career in commercial art.

During the summer of 1945, Perrin discovered the beauty of Nantucket and by 1946 decided to move to the island to begin a serious career as a watercolorist.  In 1956, Perrin was elected into membership at the American Watercolor Society and he opened his first art gallery on Old South Wharf.  By 1960, his work was included in The Lobster Pot Gallery, Nantucket. As his popularity grew, so did his financial security.

By 1966 the artist designed, built, and moved permanently into a gallery/home at 91 Washington Street across from Nantucket Harbor.  He opened his gallery/home to the public everyday for only one hour, from 2 to 3 p.m., but regardless of how long collectors met with the artist, Perrin made certain every moment was filled with intriguing stories, raw humor, spellbinding conversation and a selection of watercolors of Nantucket; whaling and fishing; ghosts floating through windswept vistas; boats or strolls through the North Shore; Avant Garde cartoons or book illustrations; and World War II scenes.

His awards include the Purchase Prize at the Boston Society of Independent Artists (1952); the William Folicover Award at the North Shore Art Association (1954); the Ross Award at the Boston Society of Watercolor Painters (1955, 1958) in New Hampshire; the Richard Mitton Memorial Award, New England Artists (1961); lst Jury Award at the Patron's Show, Artist's Association, Nantucket (1963); lst Jury Award, Copley Society, Boston (1965); the Critics Award, Art Directors Club, Boston; and the Paul H. Allen Memorial Award, Copley Society, Boston. Perrin was a member of the American Watercolor Society, the Guild of Boston Artists, the Artist Association of Nantucket (winning the George Walling Award in 1981, the Jurors' Choice Award, and more) and the New England Watercolor Society.

Perrin appeared on Evening Magazine (Channel 4, Boston) and was featured on Chronicle (Channel 5, Boston) and in a Channel 7 segment about New England.  He is listed in many art reference books including Who's Who in American Art, Who's Who in Arts & Antiques and Who's Who in the East.

Perrin is primarily recognized for his watercolors of New England (and especially of foggy Nantucket views). Many of his watercolors were painted for illustrations in published books and he became rather famous for his whimsical interpretations of fish, whales and sailors intermingling in fanciful scenes with the purposes to delight, poke fun at or intrigue the public.  His cartoons are carefree, fun-loving images of creatures, Santas, mythical beings, animals and humans. The artist wanted everyone to be able to afford an image of his work, thus he became one of the first Nantucket artists to develop color and black and white prints of his original works of art.

After ailing for several years in a nursing home, C. Robert Perrin died in Nantucket, Massachusetts in 1999 surrounded by a close circle of friends.  He was one of the earliest naturalistic illustrators to move permanently to Nantucket and at the time of his death was the island's oldest and most revered resident artist.

Submitted by Patricia Jobe Pierce, Pierce Galleries Inc

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