Coastal Retreat

Ivan Albright in Maine

When Ivan Albright's mother, Carla Wilson Albright, passed away in 1939, her death had a profound impact on Ivan, his twin brother Malvin, and their father Adam. Following her death, the family would spend summers in Maine, a stark setting reflected in many of Albright's paintings from that decade, including Lobster Salad and many landscapes featuring coastal scenes. Though rooted in his experience of loss, this era would become one of great productivity and recognition for Albright; he finished his famous painting That Which I Should Have Done I Did Not Do (The Door) (which he had started in 1931), set to work on its companion Poor Room – There Is No Time, No End, No Today, No Yesterday, No Tomorrow, Only the Forever and Forever and Forever Without End (The Window), and worked along with his brother Malvin to paint for MGM's 1945 production of The Picture of Dorian Gray

A color is as strong as the impression it creates.

Ivan Albright

Leonore Grace Smith Jerrems Molloy

Artist and Patron

The present lot comes from the collection of the artist and art patron, Leonore Grace Smith Jerrems Molloy. Leonore was born in 1904 in Highland Park, Illinois to Leonore Annette Law and Robert Edward Smith, head of the J.P. Smith Shoe Company. From 1920-1923, Leonore attended the Mary C. Wheeler School in Providence, Rhode Island where she was encouraged to create art. She returned to Chicago upon graduation and continued her studies at the Art Institute of Chicago.

In 1927, Leonore married Arthur Jerrems. The couple bought property and built a home outside of Chicago in Barrington, Illinois where she would frequently entertain other artists and friends from the city. Leonore won the Chicago Woman’s Aid Society prize for painting in 1928 and was connected with the National Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago. 

Article published in the Chicago Tribune March 5th, 1928.

Over the following decade artworks by Leonore were included in the annual Exhibitions of Artists of Chicago and Vicinity held at the Art Institute of Chicago. Here her work was shown alongside Ivan Le Lorraine Albright, Frances Badger, George Buehr, Julio De Diego, Rowena Fry, Norman Macleish, and Rifka Angel to name a few. Leonore maintained active in the local artistic community and was a member of the Arts Club of Chicago. Through these organizations she became friendly with many artists and acquired works by her contemporaries for her own collection.   

Watercolor by Leonore Grace Smith Jerrems Molloy included in the International Watercolor Show at the Art Institute of Chicago.

By 1951, Leonore had married a second time. She and her husband Edward Molloy purchased an apartment in Chicago in 880 Lake Shore Drive, the new high rise recently completed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Leonore would outfit their home with an eclectic mix of mid-century and antique furnishings complemented by the artworks she collected. Her family remembers her Noguchi sculpture displayed on a table before windows overlooking the lake while the painting, Lobster Salad, by Ivan Albright was prominently hung on the opposite wall.

Leonore would continue to take classes in painting and woodblock printing, and exhibit on occasion. In 1960, her work was included in the Artist Members Exhibition at The Renaissance Society, University of Chicago and her block prints were regularly included in the Block Print Calendar from the Chicago Society of Artists, landing on the cover in 1966, and then again in 1978. 

Cover, by Leonore Grace Smith Jerrems Molloy, of the 1978 Block Print Calendar from the Chicago Society of Artists

Leonore Grace Smith Jerrems Molloy died in 1976. The works offered here have remained in the family until now. 

Works from the Collection of Leonore Grace Smith Jerrems Molloy