Obituary: Jack Hughes

September 4, 2015
By Marcy Shortuse

Jack Hughes, born in 1947, passed away in his sleep on August 25, 2015, and will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.
Jack and his wife, Barbara Helvey-Hughes, own the Hughes Gallery in Boca Grande. He had been fighting several health issues during the past few years.
Jack Hughes has been a painter for well over 50 years; but beyond that he worked, and excelled, in many mediums.
In 1988 Jack’s work caught the eye of, then, White House Curator Rex Scouten, who brought Jack to the attention of President and Mrs. Reagan: the Hughes family was invited to visit the Reagans at the White House. Jack eventually carved a pair of life-sized swans for them. Under the Reagans, his work was installed in the White House. His carvings are also included in many important American, European, and Asian private collections.
Shortly after President and Mrs. G.H.W. Bush entered the White House, in 1989, Mrs. Bush organized the Faberge egg exhibition. She invited 100 of the very best American artists to participate and Jack was among them. His two ‘eggs’ toured with the Smithsonian exhibit and are in the permanent collection.
From 1990 until 2001, Jack fabricated award-winning jewelry. In 2001 he and his family moved from Maryland to Florida and opened an art gallery (Hughes Gallery) in Boca Grande (FL), where Jack painted and sculpted his ‘dreamscapes.’
His works have been the subject of several magazine articles, including Country Home and Early American Life and have been featured in several books, including 100 Southern Artists, in 2011, which details the best artists in the South (he’s on the cover with his grandson).
Jack had a one-man show at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri, which opened December 5, 2008 and hung for two months. The works for The Kemper Museum had been created over the past three years (2005-2008), and were specifically for his show.
In 2015, Jack was elected to the Salmagundi Club, NYC, America’s oldest and most prestigious art club.