President of Westchester Fine Art Auctioneers & Appraisers, Inc.
Frederick “Rick” Rock first began his career in the antiques business as a young boy in the 1960’s, selling old dug up bottles from a roadside stand in upstate New York. As an adult he worked at several auction houses in the upper Hudson Valley in the 1980s while attending Bard College. During this time he also opened an art gallery in Tivoli, NY featuring an eclectic mix of antiques, fine art and vintage clothing. He received a BFA at Bard in 1988 and continued his studies at Empire State Studio Program in NYC, with weekly studio visits from important NY artists such as Eric Fischl and Donald Sultan.
Rick later moved to Florida and continued his academic studies in both painting and film at the University of South Florida, Tampa, where he collaborated with the noted French experimental filmmaker and film critic, Yann Beauvais. Their short film, Soft Collisions; Dream of the Good Soldier (1991), was shown internationally. After his return to New York he collaborated with the artists Messrs. McDermott & McGough with their first film project, which was shown internationally after a screening at the Whitney Biennial. The short film featured cameos of the young daughters of the artists Julian Schnabel and Kenny Scharf.
In 1995, with serendipity and providence at play, Rick and his younger brother Mike purchased the historic Hammond House of Eastview (built circa 1719) and rescued it from destruction. In 1998 Rick and Mike started Hammond House Concerts (1998-2001) in the back yard of their home. It evolved in to the music cooperative, Tribes Hill. Rick was the Director from 2001-2013. The Tribes Hill office and the annual hootenanny remain at the Hammond House. The backyard stage, that was built there nestled among the trees, has been graced by many musicians over the years including late honorary Tribes Hill member, Pete Seeger.
Rick has been a supporting member of various arts groups and historic preservation organizations over the years. He had been a Realtor with Weichert and Houlihan Lawrence specializing in historic properties in the late 1990s. He has sold art to some of the most prestigious dealers, collectors and museums around the world, including the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. He is the owner of Hammond House Fine Art & Antiques and the President of Westchester Fine Art Auctioneers & Appraisers, Inc.
The Historic Hammond House
One of the earliest surviving colonial farm houses in Westchester County, Hammond House was built circa 1719 by Capt. William Hammond, a Philipse Manor tenant. Col. James Hammond, a younger son of William, commanded the Westchester Militia during the Revolution. He has been described by some local historians as “a sort of Westchester Paul Revere,” riding off from the house to alert his troops. Legend has it that Washington visited the house for a conference with the Colonel probably in the summer of 1780, with only two or three aides and left a few minutes before the house was surrounded by Tory troops. Hammond was taken prisoner and held on a prison boat in the Hudson until he was released about one and a half years later. New evidence supplied by the 2nd Reg. Light Dragoons supports this story. They even go further to suggest that the Hammond House was frequented by Washington and his troops and used as a military camp.
The Hammond House is remembered by many as a local museum which began in the late 1920’s. When the Westchester County Historical Society changed it’s focus to archival preservation and resources, the building was sold to New York Medical College and was converted into a laboratory. Although it has been on the National Register since 1980, the house’s survival was precarious. It was purchased by Frederick and his brother, Michael Rock in 1995 when the house was being threatened by the possibility of being dismantled. It is currently being restored to much of its original character. It is hoped by both that they can share this National Landmark with the community once again by conducting various arts and history related events.