Skip to main content

VNA Care donates Gruppé painting, Always At Your Service, to Cape Ann Museum

VNA Care is pleased to announce the donation of our painting, Always at Your Service by Emile A. Gruppé, to the Cape Ann Museum.

“This donation not only assures the preservation of this important artwork and the public’s access to it, but also reflects the collaborative spirit that has developed between the two organizations in recent years,” says Oliver Barker, director of the Cape Ann Museum. “We are honored to welcome this painting in our collection. It is an important gift that CAM hopes will inspire others to contribute to the strategic growth of the Museum’s collections between now and CAM’s 150th anniversary in 2025.”

Always at Your Service was executed from one of Gruppé’s favorite vantage points in Gloucester at the top of the stairs that link the east end of Main Street to Friend Street and Portuguese Hill. It was a spot Gruppé painted from often, capturing the dramatic change in elevation between the two streets, the waters of Gloucester’s Inner Harbor, the tip of the State Fish Pier at Five Pound Island, and East Gloucester in the background. The painting highlights the image of a public health nurse in her uniform and the words Always at Your Service-Your Public Health Nurse.

The artist donated Always at Your Service to VNA Care. The nonprofit visiting nurse association has served Cape Ann residents since 1914, providing home health, palliative, and hospice care as well as wellness programs in the community. For decades the painting hung in the organization’s local office, greeting staff and community members as they entered the building. About this important gift, Karen Webber, director of Fund Development for VNA Care, said, “This painting means so much to our nurses, who have always been ready to serve individuals and families facing illness or injury and respond to public health crises from polio to COVID-19. We’re honored to share this wonderful piece of our history with the community.”

Gruppé was one of Cape Ann’s most prolific and well-known artists of the 20th century. Born in Rochester, NY, Gruppé first came to Cape Ann in 1925, setting up a studio in Rockport. In 1929, he purchased an old primary school house on Rocky Neck in East Gloucester, making that his headquarters. Over the 40-plus years, he painted steadily, exhibited widely and conducted art classes indoors and out to scores of avid art students.

Always at Your Service is one of several works featured in the Museum’s current exhibition, CAM (Re)Connects which showcases objects and works of art spotlighted in the Museum’s virtual outreach during the pandemic as part of the CAM Connects series. Intended to buoy community spirit and remind visitors of the region’s resilience during other challenging times in history, the exhibition covers a range of locally-significant subjects including St. Peter’s Fiesta, the fishing industry, granite quarrying, food of the region, local traditions, printmaking, and Cape Ann writers, artists and musicians, underscoring the versatility of the Museum’s collection as well as the rich and varied story of the Cape Ann region.

For more information about the Museum, its programs, exhibits, and collections, visit