Rick Herrick



Remember the old Montgomery house on East Chop Drive across from the Bordes? Michaele and Al Christian from Washington, D.C. purchased the house in 1999. After summering in it for seven years, they decided that a radical makeover was in order. For one thing, the constant need for a fresh coat of paint had gotten out of hand.

As everyone who passes the house on the way to the Beach Club knows, the results of the makeover are stunning. But what is most important to Michaele is that their painting days are over. “I have lots of windows to wash, but there is not a piece of wood in this house with paint on it.” The outside is done with cedar shingles, and the inside with natural wood.

My reaction to these changes was simple: anyone who created such a beautiful house must be interesting. I was not disappointed. While Al, a practicing attorney with Hogan and Lovels in Washington D.C., was not there, Michaele graciously welcomed me into their home. While functioning as both wife and mother, [the Christians have three daughters, Erica (29), Lindsey (27), and Jessie (18)], Michaele managed to graduate from Georgetown Medical School number one in her class. Upon completing a residency and fellowship in oncology, also at Georgetown, she went to work as a research oncologist for the National Institutes of Health. She remained there for twenty-one years.

“I had a passion for being a part of the cancer solution. I enjoyed treating individual patients, but I wanted to fight this disease on a larger scale. Clinical research provided me with that opportunity.” Dr. Christian served as a member of research teams that worked to develop treatments for breast and ovarian cancer as well as several others. She is proud of her tenure at NIH. “Most of the cutting edge work in cancer treatment has come from NIH.”

Now, recently retired, Michaele has a new passion: monotype print making. The artist, in creating a monotype print, paints an image on a Plexiglas plate which is then transferred to paper. The image on the paper is the exact reverse of the plate. One of Michaele’s recent prints won a prize at the West Tisbury Agricultural Fair. As I left their home, it all added up. The radical makeover of their home was designed by an artist.

Speaking of artists, I recently thumbed through a book about art collectors entitled The Art of Collecting by Diane McManus Jensen. It is a beautifully written and illustrated book that focuses on art collections of all types — African American art, Hudson River School, impressionism, photographs, contemporary sculpture, European art, etc. I bring the book to your attention because our own Anne Gallagher is one of the featured collectors.

Anne bought her first painting as a sixth grader for $3.25. She majored in art at Bennington College, furthering her studies at Harvard University and the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln. She has been a guest lecturer at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for more than twenty years.

Anne’s collection focuses on New England with a special emphasis on the Vineyard. The paintings attractively decorate her beautiful home that overlooks both Crystal Lake and Vineyard Sound. She speaks knowingly about each painting as if she were describing an old friend. When you see her on the beach, ask if you can drop by to see the collection. You won’t be disappointed!

Finally, East Chop brought it all home at the All Island Art Show at the Tabernacle on Monday, August 2. Philippe Borde won first prize for his oil entitled Foundation, Jane Lewis won first prize in the multi-media category for Belles Artes, and Bill Brown, husband of Brooke Johnson Brown, won first prize in digital photography for The Campground. Kristin Schlageter won honorable mention for her photo, The Vineyard Alphabet, a collage of Vineyard digital photos. Congratulations to all of them. It was an exciting walk for me around the Tabernacle.