The Reboli Center is celebrating a homecoming.
Joseph Reboli’s 1985 “Bellport Gate” painting will soon join the artist’s collection at the Stony Brook center that bears his name.
At a small gathering at Gallery North in Setauket, an announcement was made that the oil painting would be permanently gifted to the Reboli Center for Art & History. The event included Reboli’s widow, Lois; state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket); Gallery North’s Executive Director Ned Puchner, board of trustees President Nancy Goroff and curator Kate Schwarting; also B.J. Intini, vice president of the Reboli Center’s board of trustees.
Gallery North in Setauket has owned the painting since 2007. When “Bellport Gate” became available for sale in Chicago, the gallery became the steward of the artwork due to a state grant secured by Englebright for $10,000. Additional donations to secure the purchase were raised with $5,000 from Lois Reboli, who is the founder and president of the Reboli Center, and $100 each from friends and neighbors of the Rebolis as well as other community members. The fundraiser became known as the Reboli 100 Fund.
The Reboli Center didn’t open until 2016, and since Joseph Reboli once sat on the board of Gallery North and his first art shows were there, many felt that this spot was an appropriate home for “Bellport Gate.”
Lois Reboli remembered when she first saw the painting at Gallery North.
“It was hanging right there on that wall in the other room, and when I saw it, I almost felt like I could see Joe in front of it,” she said. “It’s something that we really needed to keep in the community, and we’re very grateful that Gallery North had it — and that we’re going to be able to have it.”
Reboli added that the plan is to keep it on display most of the time. Her husband was inspired by a white gate featuring wrought iron hardware in Bellport when creating the painting. The gate was crafted in the 1800s by blacksmith Joseph Merritt Shaw.
“I think Joe just found a lot of different things interesting, but I think he liked the fact that there was a lot of depth to it,” Reboli said, adding that she believed he loved the coloring and light.
“One of the things that is a characteristic of Joe Reboli’s paintings is the attention to light and finding interesting light,” Goroff said. “You see that very well here in this painting.”
Lois Reboli thanked Englebright for his help in facilitating the original purchase and transfer of the painting, as well as Reboli 100 for raising funds. She also thanked Gallery North for being willing to give the painting to the Reboli Center.
Englebright said the collaboration was heartening.
“It’s wonderful that these two major art centers for our community are cooperating and collaborating and coming together,” he said. “Ned has called this the beginning of an arts summit for the community. I think that’s quite accurate, and it’s something that really is going to reinforce the identity of the community.”
Puchner said it was a pleasure working with everyone at the Reboli Center.
“We see the arts community as a family, we want everyone to work together,” he said. “As the title of this painting sort of suggests, we’re hoping that it opens the gate to more collaboration within the arts community moving forward.”
Englebright added Joseph Reboli had a strong sense of place and credited the artist for being one of the reasons the area is considered an arts destination.
“Assembling his collection is really heartening, and the symbolism, for all practical purposes, means that this community is enhanced, still,” the assemblyman said. “Even though Joe Reboli is no longer with us, he continues to be a gift to the community.”
The painting is scheduled to be moved to the Reboli Center at the end of the month.