Whoopi Makes Whoopee!, Tom Wolfe Delivers "The Right Stuff" at the NMIA Civilization Awards

The "petite auction" at Vernon Court

It was star-studded, glamorous, and surprisingly decorous. In one of the Newport parties of the 2010 season, the National Musuem of Illustration on historic Bellevue Avenue in Newport , Rhode Island, celebrated its 10th anniversary by conferring the “American Civilization Awards” on author/illustrator Tom Wolfe, entertainer and TV host of "The View"  Whoopi Goldberg, and to O. Alden James of the National Arts Club. And they did it with one heck of a party.


With over 375 guests arriving at Vernon Court, admiring the new Norman Rockwell exhibit, and chatting excitedly with Ms. Goldberg, Mr. Wolfe, and F. Lee Bailey (“but I’ve already gotten my divorce,” one Newport matron lamented), the event was simply splendid, with a “petite” auction taking place within the mansion, the guests spilling onto the terrace and the lawn, and dinner served later in a large tent on the grounds


 David Ford & Bobbi Carpenter

The event, reaching out as it did to the worlds of entertainment and literature, and having the Museum itself honored for its role in fostering a new level of regard for American illustration made an important point. Illustration was once thought to be too much to the popular taste to be a serious art form.  No longer.


In his acceptance speech Mr. Wolfe, dapper as always in his white suit, spoke about the artistic merit of American illustration, and likened iconic artist Norman Rockwell to Pablo Picasso, predicting that Rockwell will be considered the “Picasso of the 21st century.”


Guest with honoree Tom Wolfe

Ms. Goldberg shared anecdotes about her long relationship with Laurence Cutler and Judy Cutler, owners of the Illustration Museum and the evening’s hosts, claiming that they got engaged in her bathroom, and her offer to come to Newport to fight an old zoning battle, which was politely declined by Mr. and Mrs. Cutler. “Why would people not want a Museum?” she wonderingly asked guests.


Mr. Cutler spoke with passion about his and Mrs. Cutler's collecting, and their adventures with the art, their New York gallery, and the Museum of American Illustration.


Alan Rothschild with host Laurence Cutler

Attending were honorary auctioneer Peter de Savary, who purchased many of his works of illustration art for Vanderbilt Hall from the Cutlers, former Mayor of Providence Buddy Cianci, Bob and Lace Milligan, Pamela O’Connor, Pearl Tan and Darwin Lin of the Shanghai Museum of Illustration, Rick Bready, David Ford, Bobbi Carpenter, Anne and Matt Hamilton, Ruth Orthwein, and Ellen Barnes. Ms. Goldberg also decared Anne Hamilton to be her "new best friend."


Oh. and Mr. Cutler kindly let the lamenting divorcee know that F. Lee Bailey now also handles murders. Just in case.

Suzanne Stevens, Jennifer Greenawalt &

Irina Bariocas

Maureen Doerr, Paul Szep & Harry Himmel

Rene & Louis Kremer, Bernard & Doris Nemtzow

Robin Nicholson & Mark Horan

Designer Ally Coulter, friend & Robin NIcholson

Pamela O'Connor & Nelse Clark

Mikki Micarelli

Welcoming guests to Vernon Court

Judith and  Laurence Cutler with Whoopi Goldberg

& F. Lee Bailey

Bob Milligan, Judy Cutler & Whoopi Goldberg

Cassandra & Patrick Fitzgerald

Anne Damon & Elizabeth Allen bid at the petite


Some of the auction offerings

Ruth Orthwein, author Tom Wolfe, & Ellen Barnes

Newport Seen's Linda Phillips with Tom Wolfe

Laurence Cutler welcomes Pearl Tan & Darwin Lin

Auctioneer Peter de Savary, Jane Delamare

& Tim McCann

Delighted guests

Gene Michael Addis in a Lily Pulitzer vintage


Party guests strolled the grounds

Bob & Lace Milligan with Kay & Bill Koplovitz

Rick Bready, Buddy Cianci & Sherry Brite

Melanie Delman, Tom Wolfe & Judy Cutler

Jerry & Diana Slocum in the garden

Whoopi was calm, composed & gracious

Councilwoman Kate Leonard, Bobbi Carpenter

& Matt Hamilton

Ally Coulter, Ruth Orthwein & Avery Dimmig,

of Badgley Mischka

Judy & Laurence Cutler welcome their guests

The three awards

Ally Coulter & Avery Dimmig at dinner

O. Alden James making his acceptance speech

Whoopi with her award

The garden of Vernon Court at night

The fabulous rooms of the National Museum

of Illustration, Newport

Vintage automobiles in the courtyard drew

rave reviews from guests



The grounds were landscaped by Frederick

Law Olmsted


Regarding Norman Rockwell


Sponsor banner at the tent


Dinner, anyone?

To purchase a hi-res print of an image,

contact Linda(a)newportseen.com. All

images copyrighted













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