Richard Sheehan, 52, a nationally recognized artist and educator, passed away unexpectedly on August 9th, 2006 in Bartlett, New Hampshire while on vacation with his wife, Laura Viehmann, and sons, Andrew 9, and Patrick, 11.

Sheehan was known for his humor, dry wit, integrity and work ethic. After graduating from Boston Latin, Sheehan received a BFA degree from Massachusetts College of Art, Boston in 1975 and a MFA degree from Yale University, School of Art in 1977. A 1979 recipient of a Fellowship Grant from the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, he quickly attracted attention with his romantic plein air paintings abstracted from the bridges and roads of Dorchester, Quincy, Woonsocket, Cumberland and the surrounding urban landscape.

Sheehan began painting outdoors in the dead of winter on a bet in 1977 and fell in love with the rigor and changing light conditions nature offered. He painted the same bridge underpass numerous times over the years, but at different times of the day and seasons, changing to the other side of the street for a different perspective. Sheehan’s bold and decisive handling of paint, eye for color and light often convinced collectors that he was a California artist, a San Francisco Bay Area resident, not a New Englander and Dorchester born native. He moved his studio indoors, took a hiatus from exhibiting to explore new subject matter and integrated parenthood into his active studio practice in 1996.

His paintings are represented in major private, corporate and public collections across the United States. His solo exhibitions at the Alpha Gallery, Boston, MA, Roger Ramsay Gallery, Chicago, IL and Jeremy Stone Gallery, San Francisco, CA were critically acclaimed and reviewed in ARTnews, Art in America, American Artist, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, and numerous other periodicals. Sheehan’s paintings have been included in group exhibitions at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, Waltham, MA; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Maryland Art Institute, Baltimore, MD; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA; The Boston Athaneum, The Bank of Boston, Boston, MA; Capital Cities/ABC, Inc., Allan Stone Gallery and Salander O’Reilly Gallery, New York, NY among others.

Sheehan had been a Visiting Artist and Lecturer at The Vermont Studio School, Harvard University, Yale University, Rhode Island School of Design, Middlebury College, The Boston Museum School, Brandeis University, Maryland Art Institute, University of California, Davis, California College of Arts, Oakland, San Francisco Art Institute, and others.

The funeral will take place at First Baptist Church, Attleboro, MA, on Monday, August 14th, 2006 at 10 am. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions to the Andrew and Patrick Sheehan “Ticket to Ride” Scholarship Fund, 2 Abbott Run Valley Road, Cumberland, Rhode Island 02864 would be appreciated.

- Meredith Tromble [Sunday, August 13th, 2006]


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