From time to time in the ‘pages’ of Private Newport, I will feature a Newporter Profile, someone who contributes to our City-by-the-Sea in some fashion. Today’s spotlight: Jessica Hagen, owner of the ever-intriguing gallery, Jessica Hagen Fine Art & Design.
What do I enjoy most about this gallery? The gallery owner herself; the charming location; the enchanting shop next door; or perhaps the diversity and quality of the gallery’s artwork.
Jessica curates the gallery’s collection of painting, sculpture, photography, ceramics and jewelry. She shares, “I think of my gallery’s offerings as ‘art for independent thinkers’. The gallery, started in 2005, focuses on works of art created by living artists, with styles ranging from realism to abstractionism, with a focus on quality, originality and beauty.”
Recently relocated, Jessica’s gallery can be found directly next to one of my favorite shops in Newport, Cottage & Garden. The pairing of the two couldn’t be more to my liking. Cottage & Garden, a shop for those who appreciate design and love timeless objects, offers vintage and modern design treasures – from marble urns to furniture to topiaries and unique gifty items. (Note to self: add to next summer’s fab hostess gifts post!). The shop and the gallery can be found in the historic Point section of Newport, on one of Newport’s most charming little streets, Bridge Street.
In fact, Jessica feels as if relocating to Bridge Street is a bit like coming home. “I adore our new location for so many reasons. One being that directly across the street is my first house in Newport (I had my first child when I lived there.) The neighborhood holds a lot of memories…and now, new ones! I feel like it is coming full circle.”
This wonderful example of Newport’s Colonial architecture was originally the home of noted clockmaker, William Clagett , built in 1718 (don’t you love the name.)
I recommend a visit to the gallery, not just for the location but because of the impressive artwork. Perhaps you saw “Dancing with a Dove” bronze sculpture by Anne Mimi Sammis on the front lawn of Rosecliff during this year’s Newport Flower Show. At the show, Mimi’s sculpture augmented the garden design by Karen Barbera of Inspired Design. Sammis, who has shown with Jessica for the last 8 years, has work all over the world. Most notably, Mimi was commissioned in 2002 by the Archbishop of Canterbury to create a piece for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee which is on permanent exhibit in Lambeth Palace, London.
The image below features the cast-glass sculptures by world-renowned sculptor Howard Ben Tré, who studied with Dale Chihuly at RISD (you may remember I mentioned the master glass blower, Chihuly, in the previous Tastemaker post, The Aerial Sculptures of Janice Lee Kelly). Ben Tré’s work is featured in over 85 museum collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the MFA, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and our own Newport Art Museum.
Jessica is such a joy; we see each other out and about socially. And she was kind enough to invite me to her gallery for a Living Newport: Houses, People, Style book signing in May. In addition to her duties as the gallery’s director, Jessica designs and exhibits her own line of gemstone jewelry.
An Interview with Jessica Hagen
Here, Jessica answers my questions about design, style, travel and what makes her original.
Anything that is beautiful or inspiring to me. I approach virtually all aspects of my life with a collector’s eye, both personally and professionally.
When traveling, I am most inspired by…
Natural beauty and architecture. My love for the Hudson Valley and the Catskill Mountains is no secret. There is a quiet beauty there that is unparalleled and I find its effects to be very positive and grounding for me (below is both a painting by a Hudson Valley artist as well as a photograph by Jessica.)
My greatest indulgence…
Beautiful shoes: Manolo Blahnik, Chanel, Christian Louboutin. For me, the combination of something being really well made and well-designed is completely captivating. It is the same way I feel about great art; I have never regretted a shoe or art purchase.
What does Newport mean to you?
Newport is a source of constant inspiration. I am never bored here…taking a run out on Ocean Drive, exhibiting at the Flower Show, driving down Bellevue Avenue in the snow. I find it all endlessly fascinating and beautiful.
The best design advice came from…
Coco Chanel. “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” Be curious and courageous and edit, edit, edit!
The most versatile color is…
Blue. There are so many variations and always a version of blue that is pleasing to someone. No wonder that I chose it for my living room.
The top city for design is…
New York. Period. I don’t think I need to explain.
The movies with the most beautiful rooms are…
Those that consider the view from them, as a design element.
“As Good As It Gets” – Diane Keaton’s house in the Hamptons is perfection.
“Pride and Prejudice” – The portrait gallery at Pemberley, in particular.
“Babette’s Feast” – Quiet, sturdy yet somehow elegant little rooms with simple ornamentation that provide cozy warmth and shelter from the harsh weather of the Danish coast.
“The Great Gatsby” – I’m referring to the original with Robert Redford and Newport’s beloved Rosecliff (a view from the ballroom terrace looking out to the ocean).
HAPPY LABOR DAY!
For more on Jessica Hagen, visit www.JessicaHagen.com.