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Celebrating the Life of a Delaware Arts Pioneer

Fred Carspecken - Delaware Arts Pioneer
Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald
Delaware Arts INfo

 

This post appears courtesy of Delaware Arts INfo Blog.

 

Delaware arts lovers sadly mourn the passing of Frederick John Carspecken, founder of Delaware’s preeminent art gallery, Carspecken-Scott Gallery. Carspecken died at home on October 14, 2018.

 

His gallery staff recently sent a message to friends and supporters, saying, in part: 

 

"It is with great sadness that we bid a final farewell to our fearless leader, Frederick J. Carspecken, 'founder, chairman, president and CEO of Carspecken-Scott Gallery,' as he was notorious for saying in his booming, bombastic voice. He had an outsized, larger-than-life personality and an outrageous sense of humor, one of many endearing qualities that we will sorely miss.

 

Longtime Carspecken staffer Laurel Christie told us she worked for Fred for over 32 years, and it goes without saying he played a major role in her life. "Fred was a mentor to many and possessed a certain 'joie de vivre' that made him unforgettable," she said. 

 

In tribute and love for Fred, his staff plans to continue to run Carspecken-Scott Gallery.

 

Carspecken was born on September 29, 1946, in St. Louis, Missouri to Harold Carspecken and Charlotte Elizabeth, an artist. He had fond memories of going to art museums with his parents, which he credited with inspiring his early interest in art. 

 

Fred was a graduate of the University of Virginia and served in the US Navy. Following his discharge from the Navy in Pensacola, Florida, he happened into the gallery business. An acquaintance was searching for a gallery manager, and Fred volunteered. After several months, John Schoonover — grandson of noted Brandywine artist, Frank Schoonover — connected with Fred and suggested they start a gallery in Wilmington. Together, they founded Schoonover Galleries in 1970.

 

Carspecken developed a strong love for contemporary art and began plans for his own gallery with that focus. He founded Carspecken-Scott Gallery in 1973. His first exhibition featured pieces by Mary Page Evans, Tania Boucher and Tom Bostelle. Carpsecken was pivtoal in advancing the works of other well-known Delaware artists including Cleveland Morris (former director of the Delaware Theater Company), Peter Sculthorpe, Carolyn Anderson and Carol Spiker, among others.

 

Carspecken often joked that his vision was to be the 'Guggenheim of Delaware.' Some would argue he succeeded. His gallery was named “Best Gallery” in Delaware Today's Best of Delaware series. 

 

While Carspecken is may be best known in Delaware’s art community, friends also knew him as an exceptional chef and host with a clever, self-deprecating charm and a wicked sense of humor. Carspecken was also a dedicated member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, serving as an ordained elder, ordained deacon, a Biblical Storyteller and a Stephen Minister.

 

There will be a celebration of his life on Friday, November 2, 2018, 2:00pm at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1502 W. 13th Street, Wilmington, DE 19806. All are welcome to attend. Contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to Westminster Presbyterian Church.

 

See www.carspeckenscott.com