Everyday Life, Everyday People: The Work of Jack Lewis

Selections from the Nancy and Russ Suniewick Collection

January 6, 2023 - March 5, 2023

In 2021, Nancy and Russ Suniewick, long-time friends of Jack Lewis and Executive Producers of “If You Lived Here, You Would Be Home Now: A Film About Jack Lewis and Bridgeville, DE,” generously donated to the Rehoboth Art League an outstanding collection of fifty-two paintings and various documents of the late artist. The range of work from this collection dates from the 1930s-circa into the 1980s.  It includes portraits, domestic and foreign scenes, and a self-portrait. The self-portrait is extremely important and one that is of the early man. The Rehoboth Art League is honored to add this important body of work to its Collections.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Jack Lewis received a degree in art from Rutgers University in 1935. He arrived in Delaware in the late 1930s and was part of the Works Project Administration’s Civilian Conservation Corps. He first served as a painter in Leipsic and then, briefly, in Lewes where he recorded, through his art, the activities of men working on mosquito control on the Delmarva Peninsula. His artwork debuted in 1936 at the V.I.A. Summer Art Exhibition where he continued to exhibit for many years.

When the Rehoboth Art League was established, he was given the first one-man show at the new organization. He was both an active exhibitor and an art instructor at the Art League for more than five decades. He had also regularly entertained at membership meetings with his accordion and his legendary Strolling Marionettes. Jack Lewis was the author of several books of prose and illustration on subjects in the mid-Atlantic region and beyond. He taught art in Delaware public schools and various institutions. In the 1990s he was the subject of a documentary filmed for PBS. In 1938, Jack Lewis signed the Doors of Fame and sketched a small landscape of Sussex County beside his signature.

 

Image Credit: Jack Lewis (1913-2012), Self Portrait, oil on canvas, 1950, Gift of Nancy and Russ Suniewick