Dolan/Maxwell

Roman Light

Roman Light

Nona Hershey

Nona Hershey lived and worked in Rome from 1967 until 1990. She began her distinguished career as an educator at the Rome outpost of Temple University’s Tyler School of Art. In response to the city’s palpable quality of light Hershey developed a powerful body of work that led to her first museum exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art’s Morris Gallery.

Rome’s ancient and golden Travertine limestone walls line the narrow streets and above the street level, windows cut into the facades are fitted with metal shutters that ingeniously pivot and coil to allow air flow while blocking some of the Mediterranean sun. Hershey has given us views of shuttered windows and cast shadows. What happens within the walls remains mysterious.

Not one to shy away from complex problem solving, Hershey intuitively identified aquatint as the method to create graduated tones of grey and black to express the intoxicating sensation of light as it rakes across and caresses the textures of formed metal and stone. Compositions are tightly cropped and inform us that we are seeing windows from above or below and never head on, never looking into the windows, but keeping us teetering on the cusp of seeing or knowing something about what is within. 

The quality of light as it falls on the facades or filters through the shutters became Nona’s subject and the darkened interiors invite curiosity about what is shuttered—the mystery of unseen lives lived within doors and above the bustle of the streets of Rome.

“My aesthetic viewpoint was amped in Rome, Italy where I lived for many years and where I was influenced, most particularly, by the strong contrast of the Mediterranean light and shadows. There, my imagery was concerned with architecturally related subject matter: windows, shutters and the rich wall surfaces which are so much a part of the texture of Rome. My visual passion was to capture that ephemeral moment when a form is animated by light, conveying the sensually of its dialogue with cast shadows”. Nona Hershey

Image Credit:

A view of Rome

“Across the trajectory of her work Nona Hershey has been interested in light. She has had a ‘windows’ period (during her years resident in Rome), a ‘trees’ period, a ‘wires’ period, and a ‘clouds’ period. Recently she has become attuned to the heavy freight in our atmosphere. She has tried to express in the works on display here the burden these clouds are carrying, how fraught our air has become. She seeks to remind us to value meditating more than messaging, to see illumination in what surrounds us.”

Marsha Hall, Laura H. Carnell Professor of Renaissance Art, Temple University

Nona Hershey

June

1982

19 1/2 x 13 1/2"

etching

$2400

9 EvB- Artwork 9 (Gachet) (Portraits) -

Nona Hershey

Doorway II

1983

18 x 12 1/2"

etching

$2400

9 EvB- Artwork 9 (Gachet) (Portraits) -

Nona Hershey in her Roman studio, c. 1983

Nona Hershey

Shadows

1983

18 x 12 1/2"

etching

$2400

9 EvB- Artwork 9 (Gachet) (Portraits) -

Nona Hershey

Damasco

1982

22 1/2 x 29 1/2"

watercolor

$6500

9 EvB- Artwork 9 (Gachet) (Portraits) -

Nona Hershey in her studio in Somerville, MA, 2021

Nona Hershey

Tramonte

1984

30 x 22 1/2"

watercolor

$7500

9 EvB- Artwork 9 (Gachet) (Portraits) -

Nona Hershey

Pioli

1982

22 1/2 x 29 1/2"

watercolor

$6500

9 EvB- Artwork 9 (Gachet) (Portraits) -

Nona Hershey in her studio in Somerville, MA, 2021

9 EvB- Artwork 9 (Gachet) (Portraits) -

September

Nona Hershey

1980

25 3/8 29 1/4"

etching

$3500

Nona Hershey

Awning

1983

12 1/2 x 18"

etching

$2400

9 EvB- Artwork 9 (Gachet) (Portraits) -
9 EvB- Artwork 9 (Gachet) (Portraits) -

Nona Hershey

Serranda

1981

22 1/8 x 30 1/2"

watercolor

$6500

Nona Hershey

May

1981

25 3/8 x 19 1/4"

etching

$3500

9 EvB- Artwork 9 (Gachet) (Portraits) -

Nona Hershey was born in New York City in 1946 and has had more than 25 solo exhibitions. She is a distinguished educator and professor emeritus and has taught at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in Rome, Italy and Tokyo, Japan; Rhode Island School of Design and at Massachusetts College of Art & Design. Her works are held by over 45 international museum collections.

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