1906 - 1982
Umberto Romano was a multi-talented artist, a gifted teacher and an important figure in the history of art on Cape Ann. Born in Italy and brought to America as a child, while still young Romano showed a strong interest in art and a natural talent in painting. In 1922, he was accepted into the National Academy of Design in New York, going on to win the Academy’s Pulitzer Traveling Scholarship which allowed him to study in Europe. In 1928—at the age of 22—Romano had his first one man show at the Rehn Galleries in New York City. He went on to excel in drawing, printmaking, sculpture and painting. In the field of painting, his work included easel painting as well as murals.
By the 1930s, Umberto Romano was teaching regularly, sharing his passion for art with others. From 1934 to 1940, he was head of the Worcester Art Museum School and in 1933 he began teaching in Gloucester. He purchased the Gallery-on-the-Moors in East Gloucester in 1937, making it the headquarters for the Romano School of Art. For the next quarter of a century, working out of the Gallery overlooking Gloucester Harbor, Romano challenged and inspired artists of all ages, urging them to study the great artists of the past yet stay tuned to the world around them. “The artist puts himself into every painting,” Romano once said. “He is something of a filter. He paints what he sees, but it is always filtered through his soul.”
In 2007, working in collaboration with the artist’s wife, Clorinda, and son, Robin, the Cape Ann Museum mounted the exhibition, Man Sings of Man, a retrospective of Romano’s work. The exhibition showcased work spanning six decades. The Museum currently holds more than 25 works by the artist in its permanent collection, including oils, drawings, lithographs and sculpture. Over time it will serve as a repository for additional work and for the artist’s archives.
The Umberto Romano and Clorinda Romano Foundation, established in 2016, celebrates Romano’s legacy on Cape Ann through arts education and appreciation and by fostering the work of emerging and/or working artists.