Bob Spohn was “…a star docent,’ the one that everyone, visitors and other docents, wanted to hear talk about art during his nine years teaching visitors at Cape Cod Museum of Art” said Margo Greenhow, a current docent at CCMoA. A collector of Cape Cod art, Spohn has given 14 paintings to CCMoA’s permanent collection, which includes students of the three major Cape Cod Art teachers -- Hawthorne, Hensche, and Hofmann, to be used as a ‘teaching collection.’
Spohn enthralled visitors and other docents when he guided tours at CCMoA during different periods from 1999 until 2010. Still desiring to teach and mentor docents, he has enlisted current docents at the museum to write the wall text and lecture on the paintings. “We are all thrilled to have Bob’s distinctive collection, and docents are already learning from this valuable gift,” said CCMoA Director Edith (Deede) Tonelli.
What has delighted Spohn in his collecting and what he now says he wants his collection to reveal “is that context is as important as content.” He was always thrilled to discover paintings that were not in the usual style associated with an artist because that broadened his understanding of their larger body of work.
Half are works by extraordinary women who contributed significantly to Cape art history. Among his discoveries is a charming painting of women at lunch by Ferol Sibley, created before she was well-known as Ferol Sibley Warthen and a wonderful farm scene by Agnes Weinrich, before she was known for her cubist-like paintings. He has also gifted a John Grillo painting created at the end of his life when he referred back to his early days of abstract art. Several artists created for the WPA and others had studios at Days Lumberyard in Provincetown.
Before moving to the Cape, Spohn was a Professor at Northwestern Connecticut Community College and was a docent at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut. He has written many articles about art and this year authored a memoir “Seven Webfoot Way” which shows some of the art work on the cover of the book.
The Spohn Collection is on view as part of the museum’s larger exhibit, Grateful for Gifts, which includesover 50 recent gifts accepted into the museum’s permanent collection -- outstanding work by individual artists who have a significant place in the history of the Cape’s art as well as well-known contemporary artists.
For more information on the exhibition, see www.ccmoa.org.