Art col­lec­tor do­nates paint­ing to lo­cal dis­trict

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

Woman do­nates one of the paint­ings in her col­lec­tion to the Unionville-Chadds Ford School Dis­trict.

EAST MARL­BOR­OUGH >> A Chadds Ford woman whose friend­ship with artist An­drew Wyeth yielded her many works from his and his fam­ily’s brushes, has do­nated one of the paint­ings in her col­lec­tion to the Unionville-Chadds Ford School Dis­trict.

He­len Mur­ray Si­pala, who grad­u­ated in the high school’s Class of 1952, was on hand last week to make the for­mal gift of an Abra­ham Lin­coln water­color by the late artist Rea Red­ifer to Su­per­in­ten­dent John Sanville.

Red­ifer was a close friend and col­league of Wyeth, and he was known through­out Ch­ester County and be­yond for his many works of the 19th cen­tury pres­i­dent and eman­ci­pa­tor. He lived in Ken­nett Square and died in 2008 at the age of 74.

Si­pala owned the pic­ture with her brother, Clif­ford Mur­ray, and has had it hang­ing in her home for years.

“It was at the top of the steps, and you would see his face ev­ery time you walked up the stair­way,” she said.

Re­cently, the large home that she shares with her hus­band, Ge­orge, was sold to the town­ship, and she has moved to smaller quar­ters. With that move, she is sell­ing many pieces of art, but not the Red­ifer “Lin­coln.”

“He gave it to me on the con­di­tion that I never sell it,” Si­pala said.

She added that Red­ifer told her, “I want to give it to a school.”

The paint­ing is now hang­ing in the Unionville High School li­brary. Re­cently the dis­trict re­molded a large closet in the li­brary and turned it into a com­fort­able pres­i­den­tial room. That room has hun­dreds of books and lots of mem­o­ra­bilia about United States pres­i­dents. The new ad­di­tion from Si­pala sits squarely in front of the en­trance and peers out at the large room be­yond.

Sanville said he is happy to have it there.

“I’m a huge Lin­coln fan,” he said.

In Si­pala’s pres­ence, Sanville signed pa­pers that in­di­cated his agree­ment not to sell the piece.

Fol­low­ing the cer­e­mony on Wed­nes­day, li­brar­ian Di­ane Mustin came over to look at it. “That paint­ing draws you in,” she said.

Mustin added that the stu­dents have come to ap­pre­ci­ate the Pres­i­dent’s Room as a quiet and com­fort­able place that they can come to get in­for­ma­tion on Amer­i­can his­tory, par­tic­u­larly the pres­i­dents.


Unionville-Chadds Ford School Dis­trict Su­per­in­ten­dent John Sanville, right, joins donor, alumna and for­mer owner of the Lin­coln paint­ing, He­len Si­pala in the pres­i­den­tial room of the high school li­brary. The paint­ing by the late Rea Red­ifer was re­cently placed as a cen­ter­piece for the room and peers out into the larger li­brary area.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.