BEEVILLE – The college art gallery is hosting a show opening Wednesday with 25 of the last 60 Simon Michael paintings that remain for sale.
A reception for this showing will be held at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday inside the Coastal Bend College gallery, named in honor of a man described as a painter, teacher and philosopher.
Jayne Duryea, art instructor at CBC, said that they were given the paintings by the artist’s nephew with the understanding that each would be auctioned off and the money divided between the gallery here and the Rockport Center for the Arts. An auctioneer from Houston will be at the evening fundraiser Oct. 17 at the Estelle Stair Gallery for the sale.
Those wishing to register for and attend the auction can call either Duryea at 361-354-2322 or the Rockport Center at 361-729-5519.
All 60 paintings will be on the auction block.
Duryea said that she hopes to raise enough to make some renovations to the gallery here, including a storage room for the permanent collection of the college.
Duryea said that those paintings in the gallery are just a sampling of Michael’s work that will soon be for sale.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to exhibit the last available works of Simon Michael in the Simon Michael Gallery at Coastal Bend College,” she said.
Simon Michael will also be included in the “Rockport Art Colony,” a new book coming out next year documenting the arts in Rockport.
Michael was already an instructor at CBC when Duryea arrived in 1981. Then, it was still known as Bee County College.
“Simon Michael was an exceptionally kind and friendly man,” she said. “He would stroll down the hallway of the Frank Jostes Visual Arts Building and occasionally stop by my office for a visit. We would talk of many things where many were close to my heart in the sense of creativity and expression.
“We were kindred spirits of which I was unaware until the later years of our friendship.”
The gallery later was named for Michael, honoring his commitment to teaching the young people at the college.
He retired at the age of 79 and died in 2002.
“There was a wonderful exhibition of his private art collection and a grand celebration of his many years at the college,” Duryea said. “I continued in his spirit to teach painting with additional art courses, chaired the visual arts department for the next 25 years, 1988-2013, and continue today as professor of art and director of the Simon Michael Art Gallery.”
Even after retirement, Michael remained committed to teaching as he helped students who visited his gallery in Rockport.
“He was an excellent colorist, meticulously using color theory and light quality throughout his paintings,” Duryea said. “His knowledge of light and the quality of light can be seen in his work with a flick of the brush, as fleeting as light can be, abstract in its sensibilities.
“Simon Michaels’ gracious spirit lingers in the hallway of the Frank Jostes Visual Arts Building still today where the gallery bears his name.”