Bernard Corey, known and loved for his delicate New England landscapes, is considered one of the best New England plein air artists of the 20th century.
Corey was born on September 3, 1914 in Grafton, Massachusetts. He lived his entire life in the house that his grandfather built in South Grafton. From an early age he grew to have a deep love of nature and spent a lot of time in the woods surrounding his home. His love of art also began at an early age, and he was encouraged by his parents to develop his drawing skills. Although he had no formal art training, he taught himself to render nature in oils and watercolors. For twenty-five years he worked painting houses and hanging wallpaper while his landscape painting remained a hobby.
In the early sixties he made the decision to dedicate his live to being an artist. He moved to Rockport for a short time to hone his skills and quickly established himself as a professional artist. He returned to South Grafton to continue painting and taught in the Douglas, Massachusetts public schools. Teaching the value of art to young children was very important to him, because he felt it would stay with them throughout their lives. He opened the world of art to hundreds of young people and both inspired and challenged hundreds of other accomplished artists with his devotion to open-air drawing and painting. He also gave private instruction to adults from his home.
Corey always drew his inspiration from nature. He felt that it was necessary to paint directly from the source as opposed to working in the studio or from photographs. He painted a variety of subject matter, in oils and watercolors, on location throughout New England. The weather never stopped him, as he painted outdoors in all seasons. He had an easel attached to the dashboard of his car so that he could paint in rain, sleet or snow. Art was a way to share the beauty of nature and he strived to capture the moods created by its changing effects and elusive quality of light. He had the talent, artistic maturity and the ability to confront and capture nature at its finest hour.
Bernard Corey did indeed live to paint. During his long and productive lifeime he achieved national recognition winning numerous medals and hundreds of awards. He was an active member of the American Watercolor Society, Allied Artists of America, Guild of Boston Artists, Academic Artists Society, Providence Watercolor Club, Rockport Art Association North Shore Art Association, Salmagundi Club, Hudson Valley Art Association, American Artists Professional League, and the Blackstone Valley Art Association.
Corey's friends and painting companions included Emile Gruppe, Aldro Hibbard, Paul Strisik, Tom Nicholas, T.M. Nicholas, Marty Ahern, W. Lester Stevens, Stow Wengenroth, Don Stone, Michael Graves, John Loughlin, Bob Duffy, Bill Heffernan, T.A. Charron, and Bob Aleila.
Bernard Corey died on March 23, 2000. He toughed many people through his paintings and through his strength of character. The artwork he created during his life ensures that his vision of beauty will live on.