Tag Archives: Isle of Shoals

Art at Peabody Essex Museum: Hasten to Hassam! Last day

American Impressionist: Childe Hassam and the Isle of Shoals at the Peabody Essex Museum closes today. It’s one of the best exhibitions I saw this year. Go  — there’s still time today. You will come nearly as close as any observer can to feeling the rapturous meeting of an artist’s take with the shimmering world.

Hassam’s paintings don’t reproduce well in books, or photography. They need to be addressed– sized up, walked towards. Inhaled.

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This approach is beneficial even if you study just one. But my, what luxury seeing so many in one place at one time.  Again and again, the show brought forth connections and insight.”Funny, I hadn’t seen that before,” I found myself thinking. Artists Howard Hodgkin and Lucian Freud came to mind.

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The exhibition features more than 40 Hassam oil paintings and watercolors of the eastern seaboard dating from the late 1880s to 1912–an Isle of Shoals painting reunion, with secrets revealed. The Peabody Essex Museum and the North Carolina Museum of Art co-organized and partnered with marine scientists at Shoals Marine Laboratory, Cornell University, and the University of New Hampshire. Their new research examined all the sites on the island, and Hassam’s painting process. I liked the research, the pacing of the installation, and the thoughtful viewshed. Besides the two museums, loans came from near and mostly far such as: private collections from coast to coast (which I’d never see);  the Portland Museum of Art; Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis; Yale (Sinclair Lewis gifted that one to Yale!); Wichita Art Museum; Toledo Museum of Art; Smith; Smithsonian; and the National Gallery of Art. Basically all painting is abstraction: I relished the chance to study so many in one spot.

I was not a fan of the piped in sound, nor all the wall paint choices as my senses were already acutely challenged by observation. My disdain for the canned ambient sound was so distracting, I had to leave. On my second visit, the scent of coconut wafted out the entrance. My goodness, have they piped in fake scent like a boutique hotel or experiential attraction, too? They hadn’t. It was my overreaction in the wake of another visitor’s adornment, a lingering fragrance, perhaps sunscreen on a summer day.

Tucked away within the Hassam exhibit was a good photo installation of Alexandra de Steiguer’s work as the Isles winter keeper– for 19 years! For anyone who wondered more about life as a keeper after reading The Light Between Oceans, de Steiguer wrote about her real experiences here, http://connected.pem.org/alone-on-an-island/. It’s beautiful!

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More photos of the Hassam installation at the Peabody Essex Museum Read more

Gloucester in the house at North Carolina Museum

A rare Edward Hopper drawing of East Main Street, Gloucester, is part of a comprehensive exhibit, “Marks of Genius”, masterpieces from the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) on view at the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) through June 19th. These wonders of process traveled to the Grand Rapids Art Museum in Michigan before Raleigh. The next stop will be the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska.  The Hopper is featured at every venue, and so is Gloucester. 

If it were your museum, where would you hang the Hopper?  The NCMA installed the drawings in their largest special exhibition space by subject rather than chronologically, the design choice of other venues. How do I know? Exhibitions Assistant, Margaret Gaines, was kind enough to share details and photographs of the museum and its beautiful Meymandi Exhibition Gallery in the East Building so that we could all armchair art gawk. (I smiled when I read that East Main Street is in the East building of this East coast museum.) “Gloucester” is written on the museum label along with my research and color photograph.

“American Impressionist: Childe Hassam and the Isle of Shoals” is up at the same time.  Childe Hassam has Gloucester and Massachusetts ties, but I didn’t ask to see pictures of that exhibit. Though “Marks of Genius”  won’t be coming any closer to Massachusetts than North Carolina, the Hassam show is coming to the Peabody Essex Museum on July 16th. The North Carolina Museum of Art partnered with PEM. I wouldn’t miss it.

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Here’s another photograph pulled back to compare the house with the Hopper sketch and choices.

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Exh entrances

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On The Hard

DSCF1344 The ninety foot, three deck ferry, Thomas Laighton runs between Portsmouth, NH and the Isle of Shoals and surrounding areas. She’s currently undergoing maintenance at the Gloucester Marine Railways. For more info visit http://www.islesofshoals.com