A new portrait of Mother Catherine Spalding, the foundress of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, will be unveiled this Sunday and the public is invited to attend. Internationally known artist Bob Connell has lovingly painted a new rendering of Mother Catherine. He will unveil the portrait named “Safe Harbor” on March 18, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. at O’Connell Hall in the first floor drawing room, next to the art gallery, on Nazareth Campus. Bob has graciously donated this portrait to the Sisters in honor of the Congregation’s bicentennial.
There is only one known photograph of Mother Catherine which has been lovingly preserved and used to create a portrait. Copies of this portrait can be found in SCN ministries around the world. Bob’s portrait of Mother Catherine is a welcome addition. Bob carried out extensive research on Mother Catherine and found himself inspired as he painted.
Bob is an award winning artist. He earned his BFA in Painting from the Carnegie Institute of Technology and has worked as an artist in a number of capacities. Among Bob’s many paths, a rich career in corporate advertising including a position as a Marketing Communications Manager for a large energy company. Concurrent with his career in advertising, Bob developed a market of hundreds of patrons for oil paintings in the Nineteenth Century American Impressionist Style.
Bob’s paintings have been highlighted in a number of exhibits around the country. He is well known for extensive research, a passion for history, and attention to detail when he paints. In 1996, Dr. R. Scott Stephenson, a respected historian and foremost authority on the Upper Ohio Valley sought out Bob. Scott had heard that Bob was painting in an old method of underpainting and glazing which is all but lost. Scott’s vision was to direct portraits as they would have been painted in the 18th century. He wanted to see people who were not painted but who should have been. Among the paintings Bob was asked to create, a portrait of our country’s first President, George Washington, as a young man. There are only paintings of President Washington in his later years.
Among the exhibits Bob has been featured in is the international exhibit, “Clash of Empires – The British, French and Indian Wars – 1754 to1763,” which was sponsored by the Smithsonian. Four of Bob’s paintings were selected and were the only paintings by a living artist to be shown.
In addition to unveiling the portrait of Mother Catherine, Bob is generously loaning a number of portraits to the community that will be part of an art exhibit on Nazareth Campus. Bob will begin installing these paintings Friday, March 16, in the art gallery at Nazareth so the paintings can be viewed after the unveiling ceremony.