Building Collections – Remembering my friend Rick Ciccotelli

by David Schorsch

terry and rick cicotelli

Rick and Terry Cicotelli came into my life in January 2003, when Rick visited our booth at the Winter Antiques Show, where he admired a paint-decorated signboard inscribed “HUDSON THE TAILOR.”

Rick and I spent the better part of the afternoon discussing the merits and history of the sign, while simultaneously taking the measure of each other. I was immediately impressed by the seriousness of his approach, and Rick’s gentle manner. After taking the sign on approval, so that he and Terry could evaluate it in their home together, they decided to purchase it.

Rick and Terry soon became dear friends, and our relationship advanced well beyond mere buying and selling. We truly complimented each other. In Rick Ciccotelli I had found a kindred spirit, someone who was most interested in learning and sharing information about American folk art; the makers, the owners, and attempting to understand its unspoken language. I was pleased to offer my guidance, and we eagerly bounced ides off of one another. I greatly respected Rick’s keen mind and the methodology of his research. It seemed as though we talked on the phone and emailed each other nearly every day, and I frequently visited with Rick and Terry on my trips to Pennsylvania.

Although Rick was the point man in their collecting adventure, everything they acquired was a joint and unanimous decision. They sought guidance from friends and experts within the field but always collected purely for their own pleasure. Together they assembled a cohesive grouping of well-chosen objects, many of Germanic origin, that exhibit original painted surfaced, and strong graphic appeal. Beyond any visual or historical references, their collection of American Folk Art faithfully expressed a bond of love shared by Rick and Terry Ciccotelli.

After a courageous thirty-year battle with cancer, my friend James Richard Ciccotelli passed away on August 25, 2011, at the age of 60. During the course of our eight-year relationship we had the honor of placing twenty-six pieces in the Ciccotelli collection.