The Rehoboth Art League’s first art exhibition of 2013 will feature selected works by Bertha Riley, an active member of Rehoboth’s art colony and a founding artist of the art league. This exhibition marks the first of many events to celebrate the Rehoboth Art League’s 75th anniversary during 2013.
Rediscovering Bertha Riley will open Friday, Feb. 1, and remain on display through March 3 in the Tubbs Gallery. A reception will be held from 4 to 6 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16.
Born in 1870, Riley was a native of Wilmington. During the late 19th century, she began summering in Rehoboth Beach, and every year she was involved with artists and art life in the area. Riley exhibited first at the Village Improvement Association's summer art exhibition in the 1920s and later at the Rehoboth Art League.
In 1948, Riley was honored with a one-woman show, 50 Years Ago, at the art league, which depicted her reflections of seaside towns and local areas. Riley also signed the art league’s Doors of Fame, which are decorated with the signatures and marks of hundreds of artists and art league members, and on exhibit at the league.
Rediscovering Bertha Riley will feature approximately 20 original works including painting and sketches. The art is from the collection of Francis Riley of Rehoboth, Bertha’s grandnephew. Additional memorabilia and historical information will be on display during the exhibit. This show is a way to discover an artist who had an influence in the early art movement in Rehoboth Beach and inspired artists at the Rehoboth Art League. At the opening celebration on Feb. 16, Francis will share some personal recollections of Bertha.
Bertha Riley is just one of many artists who were part of the Rehoboth Art League’s founding days. Her legacy, along with that of other founding artists, is being celebrated throughout 2013. In addition, Riley is celebrated as one of the many women artists involved in the establishment of Rehoboth as a key art community in Delaware. Dr. Jann Haynes Gilmore, art historian, notes in her 2002 book, "Almost Forgotten: Delaware Women Artists and Arts Patrons 1900-1950," “Riley’s contribution to the arts in the state are waiting to be rediscovered.”
The exhibition and opening reception are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m., Sunday. More information about this exhibition and other art events and classes is available at rehobothartleague.org or by calling 302-227-8408.