Think of coastal or maritime art and canvases splashed with sailboats, lighthouses and the wild and romantic New England shoreline spring to mind.

But an exciting new gallery in Newport, Rhode Island, is turning tradition on its head, offering a fresh take on contemporary art that fits perfectly into a stylish coastal home or luxury yacht setting.

Atelier Newport, which opened in July on Bellevue Avenue, just two doors from the landmark International Tennis Hall of Fame, offers an eclectic portfolio of works by 30 established and emerging artists for people who love and appreciate art.

“I’m trying to see this collection in Newport in a different way,” says Creative Director Bobbie Lemmons, who has owned galleries in New York City for several years and curated numerous collections for corporate and private clients and yacht owners.

“There are coastal galleries from here to Maine that are dumbing down the collectors who are actually coming here,” she adds.

“These are very sophisticated collectors, and yes, they get caught up in the whole romantic mood and experience of New England, but it doesn’t mean they have to have paintings of lighthouses and sailboats in their collections.”

Owned by Lee Valentini, an insurance industry expert and avid art collector, Atelier Newport showcases an array of contemporary (and some traditional) works by noteworthy artists such as Bunny Harvey, Robert Bolster, Richard Nocera and Hannah Stahl, among others.

“I have a few traditional paintings, but nothing like you’d normally see in coastal galleries,” says Lemmons. “The abstract work is selling well and clients are responding. It’s wonderful for a curator and artistic director like me coming from the contemporary art world.”

Lemmons started doing private yacht collections for clients in 2003 – a venture that really set sail in 2012 after she was commissioned to re-design the yacht marina in Newport, creating a collection of teak furniture with colorful Trina Turk fabrics.

“The marina opened a huge door for me to new collectors, yacht owners who are incredibly relaxed, passionate and willing to let me take risks and change things up. The whole yacht art aesthetic is changing and it’s really fun to be involved,” she adds.

For now, Lemmons is fully focused on Atelier Newport and helping her clients find the perfect artwork.

“Collecting art should be a journey,” she says. “I always want a collector to have passion and fall in love with a painting.”


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