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Mary Eleanor Hutchins

June 22, 2021
Mary Eleanor Hutchins
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Obituary for Mary Eleanor Hutchins
Mary Eleanor Hutchins of Providence, Rhode Island passed away at home on June 22, 2021,
with her family by her side. She is survived by her husband Jonathan, daughters Jessica and Eleanor, two
grandchildren, sister Judy Del Greco, brothers Michael and Thomas Lynch, and many nieces, nephews
and extended family.
Mary grew up in Rhode Island, graduating from St. Francis Xavier Academy. After high school, she
worked in advertising at Bo Bernstein & Co. and as a court sketch artist and fashion illustrator for the
Providence Journal before attending Rhode Island School of Design, where she earned a bachelor’s
degree in painting.
For the next five decades, she painted on. While also raising a family and teaching art, she was prolific,
developing a broad and distinctive body of work.
Her oil paintings, watercolors, and drawings in ink and charcoal are unapologetically abstract - eluding
representation, narrative, or explanation - rather, existing as suggestions, invitations to look, to enjoy, to
get lost in. Her work could be intricately calligraphic or jubilantly explosive; mapping confident and
energetic improvisations in color, spatial illusion, and mark-making, drawing inspiration from the motion,
rhythms, energy and spirit of the sensual world.
The titles of her works are intrinsic to the compositions they describe, reflecting her love of words, of
language: they are often poetic, implying narrative, sometimes playfully rhythmic — anchors to guide
viewers’ interpretations.
During her life, Mary earned recognition for her artwork, in the form of grants, exhibits and artists
residencies. Her paintings and drawings have been exhibited locally, nationally, and internationally, and
are held in a variety of public and private collections including the RISD Museum and Hasbro Children’s
She didn’t restrict her talents to “professional” activities, bringing similar sensibilities to her daily
activities and surroundings. She arranged her home and the objects among which she lived with
exuberance and spirited playfulness, boldly combining colors and patterns, the old with the new, the odd
with the classic, always with a light touch and unstudied ease.
Throughout the years, she created imaginative and fantastic birthday and holiday cards for family and
friends - a testament to her deep belief in the importance of recognizing and celebrating the unique
qualities of the lives and relationships of the people she knew and loved.
Mary’s warmth, appreciation for life in its infinite forms, her friendly demeanor, reliable candor, realistic
optimism, relentless encouragement, subtle humor and deep kindness will continue to sustain and inspire
us. We’re so lucky and grateful to have had her in our lives!
An exhibition of her work will be held for family and friends in at a time to be announced. in lieu of flowers, send contributions to Rhode Island School of Design Museum Annual Fund at
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