About Us - Feel free to skim
In 1978 - seems like a lifetime ago, Eleanor and I opened
our first full-time antiques shop in Essex, Massachusetts,
in what was once the Old South Essex Post Office. In
good mercantile fashion, we lived up over the shop.
Our hours were very flexible - seeing people late at
night and early in the morning. Essex was a small town
with a reputation for fine antiques and fried clams.
There were a number of old- time shops in Essex and
collectors came from far and wide to see what they could
find. In those days, antiques often came directly out
of the big houses in Manchester and Beverly Farms, Ipswich
and Salem, right from the families in which they descended.
Some antiques dealers had been doing business with the
same families for so long, they were like old family
were auctions, but no phone bids or live bidding via
the internet or cell phones. Great objects used to come
out of the woodwork with an astonishing frequency.
got to see and handle a lot of amazing pieces. Our summer neighbors
in town were Bert and Nina Little, the legendary scholars and
collectors of American Folk Art whose Essex farm, Cogswell's
Grant, was later bequeathed, with all its treasures, to the
Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, now
Historic New England. During the summer, Eleanor and I used
to go for drinks and dinner. Bert Little made wry comments and
lethal Old Fashions. Nina's bright blue eyes always twinkled
while recounting some recent discovery or sharing some new-found
addition to their extraordinary collection. The food served
came right from the farm, in season; there was no air conditioning.
The sense of history and simple, natural serenity were pervasive
in that pumpkin colored farmhouse on the banks of the Essex
River. It was easy to squint and feel as if you had tip-toed
back to the late eighteenth century. I recollect these memories
now, like prized possessions. Of course, Essex wasn't really
the beginning. For many years before that, I had been a private
dealer from our home on Marlborough Street in Boston's Back
Then, as now, scattered through those rooms were great pieces
of American Folk Art: painted furniture, weathervanes, primitive
paintings, hooked rugs. And lovely American Impressionist pantings.
Long before I had ever bought a primitive painting, I had become
friends with a remarkable,
old-world Boston art dealer, Giovanni Castano, whose atelier
on Newbury Street attracted great collectors, museum curators
and dealers. John was an expert in Italian Quattrocento art
and American paintings - he'd tell you about the artist, the
date of the painting and who had owned it. He'd regale you with
stories about the sitters of famous portraits and, above all,
as a professional artist, he'd tell you how the artist had painted
it. Sometimes, he'd look at the work intently and then turn
to you and say: "He pulled a rabbit out of the hat when
he painted that!" If he found a Corot in a house on Commonwealth
Avenue, he'd bring it to his friend George Wildenstein or a
great Copley on the North Shore, to Norman Hirschl.
John's astute, artistic guardianship, I bought my first Winslow
Homer watercolor, a small but delightful Martin Johnson Heade,
a superb, summery Twachtman of Gloucester and a bravura painting
of the Boston Common and State House in winter by Frank Duveneck,
signed to a friend "Xmas 1887". To this day, I brake
for beautiful academic paintings and when I find them and can
buy them, they turn up here amidst weathervanes and painted/decorated
boxes and hooked rugs in my gallery.
this interesting mix of Folk Art and American Academic paintings,
I have added an occasional piece of Continental furniture, especially
in old paint or surface. And we schedule contemporary art shows
when I'm lucky enough to find artists whose work intrigues me
and seems appropriate for the gallery. So, Stephen Score, inc.
has evolved into a resource for fine art objects in several disciplines;
although, the main category has been, and continues to be, American
the past sixteen years, our gallery has been located on Boston's
historic Beacon Hill, the old section of the city, surrounded
by 18th and 19th century buildings, brick sidewalks, hidden
gardens and gas street lamps. Our building was once occupied
by old man Israel Sack, who installed many of the period architectural
details to be seen in our gallery, taken from one of the Hooper
mansions in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Once again, we live over
our shop and are often available to see people early and late.
Come and visit.