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Sheila Rogoff--Master Muralist on Nantucket

By Sharon Lorenzo

Sheila Rogoff is an active participant in the Artists Association of Nantucket following many years of working in the field of art.  Beginning with classes at Tyler College in Philadelphia, she also studied at the Art Students League in New York where she is a life member.  Following an internship at the studio of Moses Soyer on Sixth Avenue in New York, she was hired during the WPA art programs to work on a mural for the post office in Manchester, Tennessee with artist Minna Citron called “ Horse Trading Day in Tennessee,” which is still in its original location.  Sheila remembered looking at the work of the famous Parisian artist, Rosa Bonheur, for the horse figure in this work, completed in 1941.

Today Sheila continues to paint each day in her studio on Abrams Point, where she completed another mural for her daughter and son- in- law, Alice and David Rubenstein.  Having read the work of Nathaniel Philbrick, Abram’s Eyes, she constructed a mural depicting a picnic on their beach by native Indians with a portrait of the last living member of the Wampanoag tribe on Nantucket, Abram Quary. She consulted an old daguerreotype photo of Quary in the Nantucket Historical Association archives for this detail. Harvesting clams and roasting fresh fish on the beach, Abram was famous for his clam chowder which many came to buy from him in this historic location now owned by her family.  Working with the builders of this home, Sheila purchased 72-inch double primed canvas for the mural, and she painted it over three months in her Nantucket studio. Using Winsor Newton alykyd paints, she prefers these modified oils which dry well in the humidity of our summer months on island.

When not painting in her studio, Sheila takes colored pencils to other locations for inspiration. The most recent work in her studio is a lovely portrait of her late husband, Mort Rogoff, whose brilliant summer photography on land and sea was such a welcome presence in Nantucket.  The Rogoffs both live on in their brilliant artistic contributions to our wonderful summer life on this historic island.

(Photos:  Julia Raysman)


Sharon N. Lorenzo has been coming to Nantucket since 1978 with her family of four children and husband Frank. They are active members of the Nantucket Yacht Club where Sharon sails with the Echo women’s syndicate of the IOD fleet.  She is also on the board of the Nantucket Arts Council , Nantucket Community Sailing and is  a member of the Nantucket Garden Club.  She is a member of the faculty of the  University of Pennsylvania Law School where she teaches class on art law and cultural heritage policy. She also writes art reviews for an online blog, A Sharp