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The Ocean House in Watch Hill, RI, unveils expanded art collection

WATCH HILL, RI.- From the Ocean House’s expansive permanent collections to its seasonally-rotating exhibitions from local galleries and popular Artist in Residence program, this seaside resort seeks to showcase great works of art – a personal reflection on the hotel’s founders. The Ocean House announces the unveiling of five murals from Ludwig Bemelmans, in addition to highly sought after panels that were originally commissioned by Aristotle Onassis in 1953 for his famed Christina O yacht.

Avid art collectors and founders of the Ocean House, Charles and Deborah Royce curated the resort’s unique collection through their travels around the world and close relationships with nearby art galleries. The most recent addition is a series of massive murals from Austria-Hungary-born American artist Ludwig Bemelmans, most well known for his Madeline picture books. The five murals were cut from the walls of Bemelmans’s personal bistro, La Colombe, in Paris, then transported to Center Art Studio in New York where they underwent a six-month restoration process. During the work, conservators discovered that the murals had been painted over. After cleaning, the more vibrant original brushwork is now revealed. They are on display in the Ocean House’s downstairs gallery alongside 21 illustrations from Bemelmans including the original Goodbye to the Ritz, which was commissioned by Town & Country to commemorate the Ritz Carlton Hotel in New York when it was demolished in 1951.

Additionally, the Ocean House has acquired two panels that were originally commissioned by Aristotle Onassis in 1953. Bemelmans created a total of fifteen mural panels for the playroom of Onassis’s yacht Christina O, affectionately named after his daughter. The murals are adaptations from the original compositions in Madeline’s Rescue and Madeline and the Bad Hat.

The Royces’ close relationship with the nearby Lily Pad Gallery and Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport created an opportunity to feature a rotating series in the lobby and downstairs gallery. The resort’s works change seasonally and are available for purchase. Starting in November, the Ocean House will showcase a new exhibition of various works from the Lily Pad Gallery.

“We are committed to enhancing our guest experiences through education and enrichment, as seen with our growing art collection and our Artist in Residence offering,” said Daniel Hostettler, President and Managing Director of Ocean House Management, LLC. “Our dynamic program is a testament to the Royces’ passion for and commitment to art, which adds an authentic and distinct flare for guests of all ages.”

A tour of the Ocean House reveals that every hallway and public area is lined with pieces from the resort’s permanent collection, each different and more beautiful than the next. This carefully curated collection is comprised of painting, drawings, illustrations and models. From the Society Ladies watercolor series depicting fashion of Victorian women of Manchester, Vt., exhibited in a women’s powder room off the lobby, to original satirical comic illustrations by artist Adolph Dehn as commissioned by Vanity Fair in 1935. Complimentary guided art tours are available throughout the year as part of the resort’s activity calendar. Guests can also peruse the Art at the Ocean House special collection book that is available for purchase at the boutique in the lobby.

In addition to showcasing fine art, the resort also hosts an Artist in Residence program to give exposure to local rising artists. During their stay, the artists host evening meet and greets for guests in the Living Room and complimentary art talks on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Over the course of a weekend, guests can view the artist creating a masterpiece using the Ocean House as the backdrop.

The Ocean House, one of New England’s last grand hotels, re-opened its doors in June 2010 after a $140 million rebuild and restoration. The 136-year-old property, originally built just after the Civil War, is perched high on the bluffs in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. Guests enjoy views of the Atlantic Ocean, Montauk and Block Island from the resort’s 49 guestrooms and 15 signature suites. Farm-to-table casual and fine dining, the 12,000-square-foot OH! Spa and more than 10,000 square feet of event space make the Ocean House ideal for mid-week business retreats, close-to-home family vacations, weekend luxury escapes and destination weddings. This stately property is the only AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Five-Star rated resort in Rhode Island.

The Ocean House was recently joined by sister property, the Weekapaug Inn, which reopened in October 2012. The Inn is located five miles from the Ocean House in the peaceful community of Weekapaug, Rhode Island, with expansive views of Quonochontaug Pond, and the Atlantic just beyond. Inspired by classic Cape Cod style, the property features 27 guest rooms and four Signature Suites, with farm-to- table fine and casual dining and boutique event space. For more information, please visit www.weekapauginn.com or call 888-813-7862. Both the Ocean House and the Weekapaug Inn are members of Relais & Châteaux, an exclusive collection of more than 500 of the finest hotels and gourmet restaurants in 60 countries that has set the standard for excellence in hospitality.






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