Ellen Sinclair Junger of Truro and Arlington was a painter who first came to Provincetown in the late 1950s to study with Henry Hensche. In the late 1980s, she was a founding member of Rising Tide, an influential cooperative housed in what is now the Schoolhouse Gallery. She produced a prodigious body of landscape and figurative work that shows her expressionistic sense of color and light.
After living with Alzheimer’s disease for many years, Ellen died at her Arlington home on Dec. 25, 2021. She was 92.
The daughter of Margorie and Carl Sinclair, Ellen was born on Feb. 19, 1929 in Canton, Ohio. She grew up in a house on the edge of a lake. She always loved being on the water and would sail on the lake as often as she could, said her daughter, Carlotta. “Her connection to nature, her love of the outdoors, were constants in her life,” she said.
Ellen’s father owned a successful amusement park and the Moonlight Ballroom in the city’s Meyers Lake Park. The top bands of the era performed there, and Ellen grew up listening to and meeting artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, and Gene Krupa.
Ellen’s favorite ride at her father’s park was a hand-carved Stein and Goldstein carousel, now owned by the city of Hartford, Conn. and maintained in its Bushnell Park. “That carousel had a huge influence on her life,” Carlotta said. Ellen often came back to the imagery of carousel horses in her artwork.
From an early age, Ellen was determined to be a painter. By the time she graduated from Lehman High School in Canton in 1947, she had already decided to move to Boston to attend Endicott College, where she would study painting.
Ellen became a private student of the Boston Expressionist painter Hyman Bloom. In late 1950s Provincetown summers, while studying with Hensche, she made lifelong friends including Salvatore Del Deo and Varujan Boghosian. This was the beginning of Ellen’s love of the Outer Cape, where the sea, the dunes, and the pine woods kept her early love of nature alive.
After meeting him in the bar of the Ritz in Boston, Ellen married physicist Miguel Junger in 1960. He had his own acoustics consultancy. They settled in Belmont, and in the following years Ellen worked in studios in East Cambridge and South Boston. Their son, Sebastian, was born in 1962 and daughter, Carlotta, in 1964. The family spent summers on the Outer Cape.
Carlotta became a photographer, and Sebastian became a journalist, writer, and filmmaker. “My mother’s commitment to her art inspired a sense of possibility,” Carlotta said.
In 1968 Ellen and Miguel built a house in the Truro woods designed by their friend Isham McConnell, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. This became Ellen’s adored summer home and studio for the rest of her life.
Ellen took special joy in sharing life in Truro with her grandchildren, Dylan, Giacomo, and Roxanna, who would come from England every summer to be with her. In 2017 and 2019, two more grandchildren were born, Ayxa and Raphaela. They visited from New York.
Ellen enjoyed looking after others, but she also made it a priority to live a healthy life herself. She embraced yoga in the early 1970s, years before it became a popular pastime, and she continued her daily yoga practice into her late 80s.
Though dementia forced her to stop painting in her last years, Ellen remained her elegant and charming self until the end. On a 2019 trip to Bushnell Park to revisit the carousel of her childhood, Ellen recognized her favorite horse immediately and climbed onto it. As the music and the ride started up, tears streamed down her face.
Ellen was a private person, but she was always warm, generous, and loyal to the many close friends she had from all walks of life and across generations. She is greatly missed by all who knew her.
She was predeceased by her husband, Miguel, in 2012. She had one brother, George, who died in 1987. She is survived by her son, Sebastian Junger, of New York, and a daughter-in-law, Barbara Hammond; by her daughter, Carlotta Luke, and son-in-law Chris Luke of Lewes, East Sussex, U.K.; and by her five grandchildren.
Services in Ellen’s memory will be held later in the year. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her name to the Alzheimer’s Family Support Center, 2095 Main St., Brewster, MA 02631.