Tag Archives: Winslow Homer

Can major Gloucester paintings by Edward Hopper and Winslow Homer come back home? Appealing to Bill Gates and private collectors: please remember Gloucester!

Legions of fans visit local, national and international museums to see icons of American 20th century art by Edward Hopper and Winslow Homer. Some of this art was inspired by Gloucester, MA. One more Hopper or Homer Gloucester scene in any collection would be welcome, but in Gloucester it would be transformative.

The City of Gloucester boasts a world class museum that would be the ideal repository for a major Hopper and Homer of Gloucester. It hasn’t happened, yet. It should! I feel not enough of a case has been made for having originals right here in the city that inspired some of their most famous works and changed their art for the better.

Edward Hopper Captain’s House (Parkhurst House), one of the few original Hopper works remaining in private hands, is slated as a promised gift to Arkansas’s Crystal Bridges Museum of  American Art. Crystal Bridges opened in 2011 and will have acquired 4 examples of Hopper’s art — 2 paintings, 1 drawing and 1 print–with this gift. (I think Arkansas would have been ok with 3.)

Edward Hopper Parkhurst's House Captain's House 1924 watercolor private collection 100+ Gloucester homes and vistas inspired Hopper

 

The only known Winslow Homer seascape painting still in private hands is a great one inspired by Gloucester. Bill and Melinda Gates own Lost on the Grand Banks, 1885.  I saw it at the auction house back in 1998 just before the sale.  What a fit for Gloucester and Homer if it found its way back here!

 

Winslow Homer Lost on the Grand Banks 1885

 

Edward Hopper’s Gloucester Street also went to the west coast, purchased by Robert Daly. I’d love to see this one in person! The corner hasn’t changed much since 1928 when Hopper painted the street scene.

 

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Hopper’s downtown Gloucester scene, Railroad Gates, is not on public display.

Edward Hopper Railroad Gates Gloucester MA

I’m surprised and hopeful that there are paintings of Gloucester by Hopper that could be secured. There are tens of drawings including major works on paper. I saw this Gloucester drawing, Circus Wagon, by Edward Hopper at the ADAA art Fair back in March 2016.

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Davis House (25 Middle Street) was sold at auction in 1996.

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I’m keeping tabs on most of them. The only way they’re going into any museum is through largesse. Why not Gloucester?

Homer and Hopper watercolors in private collections can’t be on permanent view due to the medium’s fragility. (Exciting developments in glazing and displays are being developed that go beyond the protective lift.) The Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, MA, cares for works of art as well as any institution.

 

 

Perfect! Toodeloos! is perfect sponsor for The Princess Bride HarborWalk summer cinema tonight

Toodeloos! and Island Art and Hobby at 142 Main Street is year round fun. They’ve consolidated two long standing creative and well curated independent local stores together into one space: both a fabulous local toy store and a professional art supply shop.

 

Toodeloos! is between the Birdseye and Winslow Homer HarborWalk story moment markers, and a short jaunt to the summer cinema at I4C2.

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gentleman reading the Winslow Homer plaque on the HarborWalk trail today, Gloucester MA

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James Owen Calderwood and Cape Ann Art Haven murals are such a great pass through on Parsons between Main and Rogers (across the street from Toodeloos!)

And from the HarborWalk marker at St. Peter’s park, it’s easy to check out the new murals by Danny Diamond at Cape Ann Brewery 11 Rogers Street!

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HarborWalk Summer Cinema 2017 poster

 

RECONNECTING BLUEBERRIES AND BUTTERFLIES TO OUR CAPE ANN LANDSCAPE

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Winslow Homer “The Berry Pickers”

Forum on the Cape Ann Landscapes

A thoughtful and thought provoking forum was held this morning at the Cape Ann Museum. The discussion was led by Ed Becker, president of the Essex County Greenbelt Association, with presentations by Mark Carlotto from Friends of Dogtown; Tim Simmons, restoration ecologist; Mass Audubon’s Chris Leahy; and Cape Ann Museum representative Bonnie Sontag.

cape-ann-museum-landscape-forum-panel-copyright-kim-smithSpeakers, left to right, Mark Carlotto, Chris Leahy, Tim Simmons, Bonnie Sontag, and Ed Becker 

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Today, the undeveloped areas of Cape Ann look much as it did when Champlain arrived in 1606, a mostly verdant forested peninsula, with some land management of grasslands conducted by the Native Americans that farmed and fished the landscape. In the coming months, the community will be examining how to restore very specific areas of Dogtown to the years when the landscape was at its most productive and richest in biodiversity, approximately 1700 to 1950. Most areas will remain forested and others will be returned to grasslands, moors, meadows, and pastures, similar to how it appeared when 19th and 20th century artists such as Homer, Hopper, Hartley, and Brumback painted Dogtown Common.

hartley-whales-jaw-drawingMarsden Hartley Whales Jaw sketch

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brumback-33406-webBrumback’s view of Dogtown in the eaqrly 1900s

pond-gloucester-massachusetts-copyright-kim-smithA typical Dogtown landscape of today

Tim Simmons charmed the audience with his “Blueberry Metric,” a formula whereby prior to grassland restoration, it takes approximately one hour to pick four cups of blueberries. After a blueberry patch has been restored, the time to pick a pie’s worth of blueberries is reduced to just 20 to 30 minutes. Here is Tim explaining how fire management helps blueberry bushes become more productive:

Not only blueberries but many, many species of wildlife, especially those in sharp decline, such as Prairie Warblers, Eastern Whippoorwills, native bees, and nearly all butterflies, will benefit tremendously from restoring native grassland and meadow habitats.

This is an exciting time for Cape Ann’s open spaces and a great deal of input from the community will be needed. A facebook page is in the making. It takes time to effect positive change, but the alternative of doing nothing is not really an option at all. Eventually a fire will occur and when landscapes are not managed well, the outcome may well be cataclysmic.

 

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From the Cape Ann Museum: The once open landscape of Cape Ann, a mosaic of glacial boulders, pastures and moors, has given way over the past century to a uniform forest cover. Through short presentations and public engagement, this forum examines the issues, methods and benefits of restoring this formerly diverse and productive landscape. Can Cape Ann once again include the open, scenic terrain that inspired painters, writers, walkers, bird watchers and foragers of wild blueberries? Come and lend your voice to this exciting and important conversation moderated by Ed Becker, President of the Essex County Greenbelt Association. The forum is offered in collaboration with Essex County Greenbelt, Friends of Dogtown, Lanesville Community Center and Mass Audubon.forest_succession_ecology-0011
Successional forest regeneration graphics and images courtesy Google image search

Rediscovered Artist: seeking information on Arthur William Wilson (1892-1974) also known as ‘TEX’, WINSLOW WILSON and PICO MIRAN active NYC, Rockport, Gloucester

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Winslow Wilson, Squall Coming, photo http://www.winslowwilson.com

 

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Pico Miran (Arthur Winslow Wilson), Merry-go-Round, photo http://www.winslowwilson.com

Granddaughter Claudia Wilson-Howard writes Good Morning Gloucester seeking any information, biographical “tidbits”, or recollections about fine artist Winslow Wilson who resided in Gloucester and had studios in Gloucester and Rockport ca. 1946-1972.She is working on an excellent project: a digital resource about her grandfather.

I am the granddaughter of Winslow Wilson,” she writes, “an artist who spent most of his life on Cape Ann, painting under two names in two studios.  One studio, in Gloucester, the second in Rockport, and a member of the Rockport Art Association from 1946-1972, he was an active member of the art community. I have developed a website (www.winslowwilson.com), which is a work in progress.  I am attempting to develop as detailed a biography as possible, and was hoping …to reach out to the community to help gather any tidbit of information. Thank you very much!” 

Perhaps a reader of this blog can help identify a sitter in one of Wilson’s stellar unidentified local portraits.

Arthur William “Winslow” “Tex” Wilson, also known as Pico Miran was an American artist–primarily a painter– born on July 20, 1892  in Brady, Texas. His family moved to Junction, TX, where he graduated from high school, also the address he used while attending Harvard. Wilson  was a veteran of the First World War (National Guard, AEF) deployed to France 1918-1919. He died November 18, 1974 in Miami, FLA.

At Harvard

Wilson transferred from Texas A&M University to  Harvard. Roy Follett his professor at Texas A&M described Wilson’s impact on him as “atomic”, possessed with a creative intellect that surpassed the teacher’s.  And then the unthinkable…

For Wilson, life changed punishingly July 4, 1912 as he accidentally and horrifically killed his fellow undergrad, a friend and co-worker Merle DeWitt Britten on the job, driving the streetcar that crushed him. Wilson left Harvard, then came back. He skipped classes. At times he soared. He was a writer and editor of The Harvard Monthly  literary magazine with an impressive group of multi talented peers and friends: ee cummings; John Dos Passos; critic Gilbert Seldes; poet (Pulitzer prize winner) Robert Hillyer; poet (later Director MA Historical Society) R. Stewart Mitchell; Scofield Thayer*; and  James Sibley Watson*.

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Arthur Wilson undergraduate writing published in The Harvard Montly

The Harvard Monthly was founded in 1885 and ceased publication in 1917, its aim “to publish the best (undergraduate) articles, fiction and verse by students in the University.”  The words  “and verse” were added after E.E. Cummings gave their class commencement speech in 1915 on “The New Art” extolling contemporary expressions in music, the visual arts, and literature. “What really brought down the house was Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons,” he’d later say about this bit in the speech:

“unquestionably a proof of great imagination on the part of the authoress, as anyone who tries to imitate her work will discover for himself. Here we see traces of realism, similar to those which made the “Nude Descending a Staircase” so baffling. As far as these “Tender Buttons” are concerned, the sum and substance of criticism is impossible. The unparalleled familiarity of the medium precludes its use for the purpose of aesthetic effect. And here, in their logical conclusion, impressionistic tendencies are reduced to absurdity. The question now arises, how much of all this is really Art? The answer is: we do not know. The great men of the future will most certainly profit by the experimentation of the present period. An insight into the unbroken chain of artistic development during the last half century disproves the theory that modernism is without foundation; rather we are concerned with a natural unfolding of sound tendencies. That the conclusion is, in a particular case, absurdity, does not in any way impair the value of the experiment, so long as we are dealing with sincere effort. The New Art, maligned though it may be by fakirs and fanatics, will appear in its essential spirit to the unprejudiced critic as a courageous and genuine exploration of untrodden ways…how much of all this is really Art? The answer is: we do not know. The great men of the future will most certainly profit by the experimentation of the present period.” – ee cummings 1915 

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ee cummings portrait of Thayer, printed in the Dial

*The Dial was founded by James Sibley Watson and Scofield Thayer. Emily Sibley Watson, Founder of Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester was friends with Marianne Moore

1917 NYC apartment with Cummings

Wilson and e.e. cummings (1884-1962) were roommates at Harvard, friends who hit the town. (There’s one story with them caught at a prostitute’s apartment.) They remained friends enough to room together more and carouse Greenwich Village. Thanks to $1000 from Thayer, Cummings joined Wilson in New York at 21 East 15th Street in 1917.

There are striking parallels, comparisons, and secrets in the lives they led. Both men were artists and writers that had tragic and shattering life experiences, and estranged and scandalous family stories.

According to Virginia Spencer Carr‘s 1984 biography of John Dos Passos, Dos Passos envied these two: “Wilson was already signing his paintings (when he signed them at all) “Winslow Wilson” and Dos Passos surmised (when?) that he would be recognized eventually for his stunning portraits and seascapes. He was convinced that Cummings was too assured a reputation as a painter and saw Dudley Poore as the best poet of the lot from Harvard who aspired to a career in letters.” 

All three enlisted in WW1. Cummings signed up for the volunteer ambulance corp along with Harvard chums Hillyer and Dos Passos. Cummings ended up a POW and wrote a novel about the experience, The Enormous Room. Cummings said he was a self-taught painter, helped along by friends from Harvard. Did he sign up for classes in New York? Where did Wilson study art in New York before WW1?

(Incidentally, Gertrude Stein was also a volunteer camion; it seems like a ‘who wasn’t?’ roster. The majority of the 3500+ drivers came from ivy league schools, especially Harvard. The American Field Service (AFS) ambulance unit grew to be the largest and was founded by Gloucester’s own A. Piatt Andrew in 1915, after helping out the year before.)

1920s

After the War, Wilson was in New York and abroad in Paris, and London (infamously). There was a blink of a marriage and divorce from Elizabeth Brice, and a daughter Caroline, a dancer, that he never saw again. At 34, Wilson and his  19 year old girlfriend Winifred Brown abandoned a baby. It was an international scandal. Wilson’s family stepped up and his brother Ernest raised the boy as his own. It was four decades before the baby learned about his biological parents. I know these wincing details because that boy, H Robert Wilson, is a good writer and did the research.

Arthur Wilson signed his paintings as “Winslow” Wilson, which fits as a wink at Homer. Seascapes as a subject. Private solitary life. It also works as a visual swapping out of “Tex” for East Coast “Winslow”. The initials become double letters (like e.e. cummings), and nearly a double name, minus one letter and there’s an anagram of Wilson. It’s even a  way to differentiate his name ‘Arthur Wilson’ from other artists and writers with the same name(s), initials (AW or the comic Aww), and friends. Winslow Wilson is decidedly not Edmund Wilson (though like many writers he credits “nearly everything” about his sources of style as a painter to him), artist Edward Arthur Wilson, artist Arthur Wilson (UK), artist Arthur Wilson (LA), artist Edward Adrian Wilson, to name a few.

Mostly, Wilson using “Winslow” seems a deliberate break from his traumatic past: living with the death of his friend, letting his family down, fighting in WW1, divorce, scandal, family secrets, and that difficult ee cummings portrait poem about him.

ca. 1922 ee cummings poem ‘Arthur Wilson’

E.E. Cummings poem “Three Portraits” (I. Pianist  II. Caritas  III. Arthur Wilson) is published in the modernist magazine the Broom: An International Magazine of the Arts, Volume 2, Number 4, July 1922. Founded and backed not nearly enough by Harold Loeb and Alfred Kreymborg, the Broom publication was a short lived (1921-24) modernist monthly featuring  “unknown, path-breaking” writers and artists (reproductions, original designs, translations). The cummings poem ‘Arthur Wilson’ was illustrated with woodcuts by Ladislaw Medgyes.  The issue’s cover design was by Fernard Leger;

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Cover design by Fernard Leger, Broom, Volume 2 No. 4, July 1922

 

Picasso, Modigliani and William Gropper drawings were reproduced inside.

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The text for III. Arthur Wilson follows (refer to the image for the visual spatial break in cummings prose).

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III. Arthur Wilson
as usual i did not find him in cafes, the more dissolute atmosphere
of a street superimposing a numbing imperfectness upon such peri-
grinations as twilight spontaneously by inevitable tiredness of flang-
ing shop-girls impersonally affords furnished a soft first clue to
his innumerable whereabouts          violet logic of annihilation demon-
strating from woolworthian pinnacle a capable millenium of faces
meshing with my curiously instant appreciation exposed his hiber-
native contours,
aimable immensity impeccably extending the courtesy of five o’clock
became the omen of his prescience          it was spring by the way
in the soiled canary-cage of largest existence.

(when he would extemporise the innovation of muscularity upon the
most crimson assistance of my comforter a click of deciding glory
inflicted to the negative silence that primeval exposure whose elec-
tric solidity remembers some accurately profuse scratchings in a
recently discovered cave,           the carouse of geometrical putrescence
whereto my invariably commendable room had been forever subject
his Earliest word wheeled out on the sunny dump of oblivion)

a tiny dust finely arising at the integration of my soul i coughed

, naturally.
-E.E. Cummings

Like The Harvard Monthly and The Dial, Broom contributors were or would become recognized luminaries: Sherwood Anderson, Guillaume Apollinaire, Hans Arp, Conrad Aiken, Kenneth Burke, Robert M Coates, Jean Cocteau, Malcolm Cowley, Hart Crane, Adolph Dehn, Andre Derain, Raoul Dufy, Paul Eldridge, T S Eliot, Wanda Gag, Robert Graves, Juan Gris, William Gropper, George Grosz, Rockwell Kent, Paul Klee, Fernand Leger, Lipchitz, El Lissitzky, Amy Lowell, Louis Lozowick, Marianne Moore, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Mondigliani, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, ‘Charles Sheeler, Gertrude Stein, Joseph Stella, Wallace Stevens, Paul Strand, Max Weber, William Carlos Williams, and Virginia Woolf among other  artists and writers.

It was a small world and circle. The Broom contributors likely read that ee cummings poem about Wilson, and several knew both men. Names carried over from the Harvard-Dial network (Amy Lowell, Marianne Moore).

EE Cummings published Part III in later editions by the title “as usual I did not find him in cafes” omitting Arthur Wilson’s name.

1924 e.e. cummings visits Gloucester

to see writer, friend and editor R. Stewart Mitchell (1892-1957) who had a home here. Stewart Mitchell was another Harvard alumni (1915) and former Harvard Monthly editor. His face inspired the nickname “The Great Auk”. How nice being friends with artist-writers.

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After serving in WW1, Mitchell was a managing editor and regular contributor for The Dial from 1919-21, then published poet. From 1928-1937 he was Managing Editor of the New England Quarterly journal, and from 1929- 57 an editor and Director of the Massachusetts Historical Society. On the Ma Historical Society seal : “It would hardly have done to compare the members of the Society to oxen, sheep, or birds … but bees had always had a good reputation for the sweetness and light of their honey and their wax. “– 1949 Stewart Mitchell

 

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Did  Cummings and Arthur W. Wilson come to Gloucester while attending Harvard or at other times in the 1920s to see Stewart? Was Cummings in Gloucester other years, decades? Did Wilson and Mitchell re-connect in Gloucester? John Sloan’s etching Frankie and Johnnie illustrates EE Cummings’ play HIM. Did Wilson interact with Stuart Davis in Gloucester or New York?

(Aside: In 1984 the play ViVa Cummings! opened in Gloucester under the direction of William Finlay and the New Stillington Players. Did they know Cummings had been here…)

1935

Wilson fails to update his Harvard alumni association requests. Here’s the 1935 entry:

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1951 ELEANOR ROOSEVELT VISITS EXHIBIT AT AAA, NYC

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Artist Winslow Wilson guiding Eleanor Roosevelt through his solo exhibition at Associated American Artists, June 4, 1951.   Photograph from http://www.winslowwilson.com

Wilson’s painting from the 1951 Contemporary American Artists exhibition at the Associated American Artists won the people’s choice award, and his solo exhibit in June was attended and written about by Eleanor Roosevelt in her nationally syndicated MY DAY column:

HYDE PARK, Sunday—At lunch last Friday I had a visit from Mr. Tatsukichiro Horikawa, who is over here from Japan on a trip studying the World Federation movement in different countries. He has visited Switzerland, Germany, France and England, as well as the United States, and he came to see me before in New York City; but he wishes particularly to come up to Hyde Park and place some flowers on my husband’s grave.

I was especially interested in talking to him because, like so many of the World Federalists, he felt that the United Nations was very inadequate. He felt one must bring about more unity—and particularly, if we were going to have any settlements in the Far East, there must be unity between Great Britain and the United States as well as the other nations in their policy.

I asked him if he did not think it was a good deal to expect to have a unified policy among 60 nations when the organization bringing them together had been in existence only six years. It seems to me it requires longer for people to understand how the other peoples think and feel. World federation might someday be possible, but not until people have had a greater length of time to find out about each other. One of the American World Federalist members had also written me saying that the federation must come first and then be followed by understanding. I think this begs the question of how you obtain the federation and how, having obtained it in name, you do anything practical with it.

In New York City on Thursday afternoon I went to see an exhibition of paintings of the sea done by Winslow Wilson, at the Associated American Artists Galleries on Fifth Avenue. This exhibition was arranged under the auspices of Greenwich House, toward whose support a portion of the proceeds of any sale will go.

Mr. Wilson told me he did not paint actually from a scene he was looking at, but from memory. He said he particularly liked to use the sea because it was to him a symbol of the stress and strife we were all going through at present; and still it had a kind of discipline and control which was what most human beings were striving for today and finding difficult of achievement. I found some of his paintings quite beautiful, and reminiscent of many seacoasts I have known. In certain ones the light made one think of tropical climates; in others the shores of Maine seemed to stand out. More often the sky and the sea were stormy, but the light was nearly always breaking through. Let us hope that out of this turbulent period of history the light will break through for all human beings.

The other day I was sent a little pamphlet written by Eloise R. Griffith on the national anthems and their origin. I think this will be of interest to a great many people who want to know a little more than the mere words of the songs which we hear sung so often.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

I am thunderstruck reading a portion of sales would benefit Greenwich House. Talk about an undercurrent.

1951 Post-Modern Manifesto in the same year as the AAA seascapes

 

“A complete study of Cummings should take penetrating account of his painting and drawing. And no estimate of his literary work can begin without noting the important fact that Cummings is a painter.” That’s the opener for Syrinx., a critique of Cummings by Gorham B. Munson published in Secession July 1923. “His first stimulus comes from the emotional and perceptive materials of his experience…Cummings has jabbed his pen into life, but he has also twisted it in the wound, and it is this twist of the pen that makes literature.” 

Knowing ee cummings facility with visual arts transforms how his poems read. He identifies both pursuits. The press announcement for Cummings appointment at Harvard in 1952 affirmed that he resided in New York City, writing and painting since the year 1920. It wasn’t that he sculpted marks–‘scratchings’- that could be seen as pictures in print,–it’s this charge when visual art and writing advance toward or basically obliterate media boundaries.

After reading Wilson’s 1951 Manifesto For Post-Modern Art published under his pseudonym Pico Miran, I felt a similar tug. For Wilson, when it comes to ideas and individuality, words and paint –and as many names and identities to match– matter.  Some of Wilson’s paintings could be shown alongside pages from ee cummings The Enormous Room.

There are takeaways and points one can make about this manifesto and painting series of Wilson. I can think of art I’d like to show together with this work.

Yikes, the thoughts about women! Here’s Wilson writing as Pico Miran in his Manifesto, emphasis on man apparently:

“But while he proposes to save the personal symbol, he must emphatically reject the conception of its privacy–a conception which he is compelled to regard as an effeminate misery: he cannot help thinking an almost unmanly exaggeration of the one bit of feminine make-up in every artist, here flouncing in absurd esthetic millinery, with coy desire for secretiveness, mysterious subjectivity, and vain feelings of cryptic superiority to the vulgar mass.” 

1951 Hidden, not lost

Wilson evidently maintained some contacts; note the supportive reviews by friends (Moore, Burke, Wheelock) later reprinted for his 1957 solo exhibit at Vose Galleries in Boston. Edward Alden Jewel, the New York Times critic, described Wilson as “living a hidden life of pure dedication and drudgery” in his 1951 NYC AAA review.

2015 Found. A great teacher

On Cape Ann, Wilson taught figurative painting through the Rockport Art Association, which he joined in 1946. Wilson is recollected as a dazzling teacher who could bring out the best in his students. One student’s 2015 recollection is a must read:  “Bing McGilvray of the Cape Ann Museum was fortunate to communicate with a local artist familiar with Wilson, Betty Lou Schlemm.”  Wilson sounds like the famous and captivating professors at Harvard.   Another unforgettable piece about Wilson’s biography concerns a local exchange between Pico Miran and Peter Anastas following a 1954 review by the latter.

For local readers, the www.winslowwilson.com website helpfully provides some Gloucester addresses associated with Wilson.

  • June 21, 1951: Bradford Building, 209 Main Room 208, Gloucester, MA
  • August 1, 1951: Marine Basin, E. Gloucester, MA
  • June 18, 1952: Bradford Building, 209 Main Room 208, Gloucester, MA
  • July 26, 1955: Bradford Building, 209 Main Room 208, Gloucester, MA
  • 1967 maybe 195 Main Street, Gloucester, MA
  • 1969 maybe 195 Main Street, Gloucester, MA
  • June 2, 1971: PO. Box 414, Gloucester, MA

Also:

21 Est 15th Street, 154 East 39th Street, Carnegie Hall, 3 Washington Square North in Greenwich Village, Woodstock, N.Y., and Lime Rock, CT.

Trash talk on twitter: Museum of Fine Arts Boston Patriots vs Atlanta’s High Museum #MuseumBowl plus Smocks and Jocks Fine Art Super Bowl auction

MFA highlight Thomas Sully (American (born in England), 1783–1872) The Passage of the Delaware, 1819

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MFA  John Singleton Copley (American, 1738–1815) Mrs James Warren (aka Mercy Otis-Patriot, writer), ca.1763

High Museum collection: Richard Misrach (American, born 1949) Untitled #892-03 photograph, 2003

Check out the museums’ twitter accounts @mfaboston vs @HighMuseumofArt. For more fine art and football see

Super Bowl weekend super fundraiser: Smocks & Jocks

The National Football League Player’s Association (NFLPA) held the 12th annual ‘Smocks and Jocks’ Fine Art Auction and Jazz Brunch featuring art created by active and former NFL players (and others). The benefit raises money for the Gene Upshaw Player Assistance Fund.

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@NFLPA  functional pottery by Chris Cooley @thecooleyzone

“Our players are so many different things…The original thought was to create an opportunity for former players to come to the Super Bowl in a more relaxed atmosphere and to show a different side of the professional athlete by them being able to display their art.”

video below caption: Super Bowl XLVII  (2013) Washington Redskins Andre Collins interview- time stamp at 2:20 pans through 2013 auction items

 

 

Ceramic art patterned after Minnesota Lakes by hall of fame Carl Eller–former defensive end Minnesota Viking star– was commissioned for the new Vikings US Bank Stadium.

“Carl Eller provides artwork for new Vikings Stadium” youtube clip below

And for Craig Kimberly – Baron Batch (Bansky of the NFL) and fellow former Steeler teammate John Malecki founded Studio A.M.  Gallery in Pittsburgh

Flashback: visiting Clark Museum to see Bierstadt’s Puget Sound on loan from the Seattle Art Museum thanks to the Patriots Super Bowl XLIX win. (If Seattle Seahawks won, Homer’s West Point Prout’s Neck in the Clark would have gone west.)

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BREAKING SUPER SPECTACULAR EXCITING FIREWORKS NEWS!!!

THE FIREWORKS ARE A GO!!! Hold onto your hats, we’re going to be treated to an extra fantabulous spectacular display!

Barry Pett shares that the response for requests for assistance with the Schooner Festival/Labor Day Weekend fireworks show has been tremendous. He gives a heartfelt thanks to everyone for their contributions. He’d also like folks to be aware that the City contributes greatly, with support from Mayor Romeo Theken’s administration, the Police and Fire Departments, and the DPW.

Barry provided some history about the fireworks, which have been annually displayed from Stage Fort Park since at least 1880. This beautifully poetic Winslow Homer watercolor titled Sailboat and Fourth of July Fireworks, dated July 4th, 1880, was painted during the year that Homer lived on Ten Pound Island. Unfortunately, the painting is currently hidden away in storage at the Fogg Art Museum. It is Barry’s hope that for Gloucester’s quadricentennial the painting will travel to Gloucester and be displayed at the Cape Ann Museum.

Barry Pett has been creating Gloucester’s fireworks shows for over twenty five years.

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Winslow Homer: Poet of the Sea

Lessons On the Water Part 2: $100 sailing PLUS call to artists

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Winslow Homer, Sailing out of Gloucester Harbor, 1880, Yale

 

SAIL GHS

Sign up for $100 per week blocks of morning lessons. Sail GHS leaves from Maritime Gloucester, Monday – Friday, from 8AM-11-11:30ish AM. The program targets middle schoolers through high school age. Participants should be able to swim, wear closed toe footwear, sunscreen, and bring a water.

Rob Bent provided the distinctive t-shirts. They’re ‘foresail’ $15 to help fund the Sail GHS program. Does anyone have a photograph of the sail club from the Horribles parade for them to replace this one?

Sail GHS

ART SAIL GHS

Artists interested in live sketching from these sail times can email  me. Sail GHS is on Facebook.

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Thanks to Sail GHS board member Hilary Frye and congratulations on her new book of poetry!

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Additional Gloucester sailing lessons

YMCA sailing (see prior post)

Annisquam Yacht Club junior sailing

Eastern Point  junior sailing

Author Deborah Cramer asks were there plentiful horseshoe crabs in Gloucester? Leads to Winslow Homer, John Bell, and Cher Ami

Deborah Cramer thanks Good Morning Gloucester for mentioning her book and asks for photographs and stories about horseshoe crabs, otherwise known as the nearly scene stealing co-stars from her inspiring book on sandpipers, The Narrow Edge.

“I’m in the midst of a project right now trying to uncover the almost forgotten history of the whereabouts of horseshoe crabs in Gloucester.  I’ve heard some fantastic stories, like one from a man who used to go down to Lobster Cove after school and find horseshoe crabs so plentiful he could fill a dory. Do you think there’s a value to putting up a few pictures on GMG and asking people to send in their recollections of beaches, coves where they used to see them in abundance?”

We do. Please send in photos or stories if you have them about horseshoe crabs in Gloucester or the North Shore for Deborah Cramer’s project. Write in comments below and/or email cryan225@gmail.com

Here’s one data point. Look closely at this 1869 Winslow Homer painting. Can you spot the horseshoe crabs? Can you identify the rocks and beach?

Winslow Homer Rocky Coast and Gulls (manchester)

Winslow Homer, Rocky Coast and Gulls, 1869, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, installed in room #234 with so many other Homers (Fog Warning, All’s Well, Driftwood, …)

zoomed into horseshoe crabs (detail )

(zoomed into horseshoe crabs)

cr 2015 mfa

 

While reading The Narrow Edge, and looking at Kim Smith’s Piping Plover photographs, I thought about Raid on a Sand Swallow Colony (How Many Eggs?) 1873 by Homer and how some things change while much remains the same.When my sons were little, they were thrilled with the first 1/3 or so of Swiss Family Robinson.  As taken as they were with the family’s ingenuity, adventure, and tree house–they recoiled as page after page described a gorgeous new bird, promptly shot. They wouldn’t go for disturbing eggs in a wild habitat. The title ascribed to this Homer, perhaps the eager query from the clambering youngest boy, feels timeless. Was the boys’ precarious gathering sport, study, or food? What was common practice with swallows’ eggs in the 1860s and 70s? Homer’s birds are diminutive and active, but imprecise. Homer sometimes combined place, figures, subject and themes. One thing is clear: the composition, line and shadow are primed and effective for an engraving.

 

Homer watercolor 1873

Harper’s Weekly published the image on June 13, 1875. Artists often drew directly on the edge grain of boxwood and a master engraver (Lagrade in this case) removed the wood from pencil and wash lines.

Winslow Homer

 

2016. Wingaersheek dunes and nests 140+ years later.

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Besides Homer, Deborah’s book had me thinking about Chris Leahy, where I first heard about the history of Ma Audubon and our state’s bragging rights. It had me dig out photographs of a visit to Harvard where reproductions of the dodo and auk skeletons made us as sad as Swiss Family Robinson, and to wonder about Deborah Dickson’s documentary on sculptor Todd McGrain, which I haven’t seen yet.

 

“Gone and nearly forgotten in extinction, the Labrador Duck, the Great Auk, the Heath Hen, the Carolina Parakeet, and the Passenger Pigeon leave holes not just in the North American landscape but in our collective memories. Moved by their stories, sculptor Todd McGrain set out to create memorials to the lost birds—to bring their vanished forms back into the world.”

I must thank Deborah Cramer for another Gloucester prompt. Last year while visiting Mass Moca for business, I happened upon the ECLIPSE exhibit by Elizabeth Kolbert, the New Yorker writer, in collaboration with the duo, Sayler/Morris. It was a gorgeous, elegiac passenger pigeon multi-media tribute. Coincidentally it was Earth Day. I immediately wrote John Bell, because he had spoken with me about Gloucester’s Cher Ami, which I promised to write about.

Does anyone remember Cher Ami and homing pigeons of Gloucester? Let me know.

For more on Deborah Cramer, and to listen to her being interviewed by Meghna Chakrabarti, please continue:

Read more

Art of fatherhood: Gloucester artists and writers

A small selection of images and words about and by fathers, with Gloucester ties. What would you add? Happy Father’s Day!

Edward Hopper portrait of artist's father

Edward Hopper, portrait of artist’s father, Whitney Museum

 

Air

They took my father’s father from the mines

and laid him, broken, on the kitchen table,

the wake singers lifting their lines

above the water heater he had often mended.

 

My father always dreamed of him alive,

able to whittle an oak peg for every split thing.

all my father lost at the age of nine

enclosed his life, his air.

 

In my flood dream, I carry my father

piggyback–easier than a kid’s coffin–

to safety from the Susquehanna River

as light as a dollhouse, now, or violin.

Joseph Featherstone, from his book of poems, Brace’s Cove

 

Gloucester, Massachusetts. Anthony Parisi, an Italian fisherman's son

Gordon Parks, “Gloucester, Massachusetts. Anthony Parisi, an Italian fisherman’s son.” Library of Congress, FSA collection

 

Caitlin

To be seven when a brother dies–

to have shared a room.

Her silence frightened us.

 

One night she rose from the table

and climbed to the top of the stairs.

We heard the small voice

 

singing each of the songs

from the funeral service.

The next morning in school

 

she announced to her class,

“I am ready for questions now.”

by Joseph Featherstone, from Brace’s Cove

 

Frank Domingos kissing a vessel representing remains of a saint, during ceremonies at his father's home, part of the tri-annual fiesta of Pentacost. The celebration--including the chosing of an Imperator, and

Gordon Parks, “Gloucester, MA. Frank Domingos kissing a vessel representing remains of a saint, during ceremonies at his father’s home…” Library of Congress

full title for the Gordon Parks photograph above: “Frank Domingos kissing a vessel representing remains of a saint, during ceremonies at his father’s home, part of the tri-annual fiesta of Pentacost. The celebration–including the chosing of an Imperator, and visiting, eating, drinking, and worship in the home, culminates in a parade and blessing by the priest–originated with ancient Portugeese fisherman, drought-stricken, who prayed for assistance and received it.”

 

John_hays_hammond_and_natalie_hays_hammond library of congress

John Hays Hammond with daughter, Natalie Hays Hammond. collection Library of Congress

Captain’s Courageous was published in 1897. “During the winter of 1897-98 I made another trip to South Africa, and on the same boat with me were Rudyard Kipling (Rudyard was named after a place where his father and mother first met), his wife, and his father, Lockwood Kipling, the artist. They proved excellent traveling companions and we have maintained our friendly contact ever sense.” – John Hays Hammond 

John_Lockwood_Kipling_és_Rudyard_Kipling

John Lockwood Kipling and Rudyard Kipling

The Kiplings collaborated: the artist John Lockwood Kipling illustrated many of his sons’ books.

John Lockwood Kipling Jungle Book

jungle book 2

John Lockwood Kipling White Seal

John Lockwood Kipling, The White Seal

 

William Foster Biddle Cecilia Beaux PAFA gift of Sandwith Drinker

Cecilia Beaux, portrait sketch of William Foster Biddle, Pennsylvania Academy Fine Art, gift of Sandwith Drinker  (Biddle like a father to Cecilia)

 

William Morris Hunt Prodigal Son Brattleboro library

William Morris Hunt, Prodigal Son, Brattleboro Library

Hunt purchased a former barn and adjoining carpenter’s shop in Magnolia. “…in three weeks the old, unsightly buildings were converted into a picturesque structure with galleries on the outside, one of them ending in a seat in an old willow-tree. The carpenter shop was turned into a studio, the chief light coming from the wide-open door…The barn was two stories in height, the lower portion being occupied by the van, a phaeton and a dog-cart, as well as by stalls for two or three horses. The upper room was known as the “barracks”, and half a dozen cot-beds were arranged around the sides, as seats by day and beds by night…In a single afternoon his celebrated Gloucester Harbor was painted, and he returned to Magnolia aglow with enthusiasm. “I believe,” he exclaimed, “that I have painted a picture with light in it!…Go out into the sunshine, and try to get some of its color and light. Then come back here, and see how black we are all painting!”

William Morris Hunt Gloucester Harbor MFA 1877

William Morris Hunt, Gloucester Harbor, 1877, MFA Boston

 

sargent house museum john singer sargent portrait of father.jpg

John Singer Sargent portrait of the artist’s father, Sargent House Museum

 

Paul Manship and family Isabel Manship xSarah Janet x Elizabeth x Pauline x John Paul x Paul

Family portrait: Isabel Manship, Sara Janet, Elizabeth, Pauline, John Paul, Paul Manship

 

lee kingman natti002-001

Lee Kingman, Peter’s Pony, 1963, with illustrations by Fen Lasell

 

Leon Doucette

Leon Doucette, portrait of the artist’s father

 

Milton Avery March drypoint 1933

Milton Avery 1933 drypoint (March, his daughter)

 

Winslow Homer captures the waiting and watching experienced by so many families in Gloucester. Homer’s father, Charles Savage Homer, left for extended start-ups: to California for gold, to Europe.  Winslow Homer’s mother was a professional and gifted artist who raised three stellar boys solo, a lot. The Homer family remained tight knit.

Dad's Coming, 1873, NGA

Winslow Homer, Dad’s Coming, 1873,  National Gallery of Art

 

Friday Nights at the A&P

By Ruthanne “Rufus”  Collinson

When I was a kid

there were Friday nights to get lost in.

There was Mama

to take me shopping,

the smell of outdoors on her wool coat.

There was the A&P on Main Street,

the long spread out time

to wander the rolling floors

and smell the oranges and the coffee grinding.

There was no talking with Mama and me

She chose the food and I thought,

the long time of thinking away from Mama

in the A&P.

I watched the women

with heavy faces and deep frowns

weighing out their fruits

I thought about how bad they looked,

but I knew they didn’t want to die

because of the way they cared

about stacking the apples.

Sometimes I lost Mama and her sadness

but she would find me and take me

to the check out

where I picked up Daddy’s Pall Malls

and then stayed close to her wide sleeve

as we carried our lumpy brown bags

past Paul T. Reddy’s Dancing School.

I heard people dancing upstairs

Shadows in the window suggested music

and the end of time laid out like that.

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(EDITED) VISITOR ACCESSIBILITY TO TEN POUND ISLAND FOR THE BETTERMENT OF OUR COMMUNITY AND BELOVED WILDLIFE

(EDITOR’S NOTE) Mayor Romeo Thekan has called a meeting in her office on March 24th, from 5pm to 6pm, to discuss Ten Pound Island. Everyone is welcome.

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Ten Pound Island with fish and lobster hatchery, air station, lighthouse, keeper’s house, and oil house. Photo submitted by Toby Pett.

Airfields_MA_NE_htm_48ed180aTen Pound presently

After reading the Gloucester Daily Times’s article about the city’s Recreational Boating Committee’s recommendations on how better to serve boaters, I have been looking at old photos and reading about Ten Pound Island. This tiny island located at the eastern end of Gloucester Harbor has a storied and fascinating history. The timeline (see below) was created to help give an overview.

The following is the part of the article that caught my attention:“Perhaps the most innovative idea in the report is to consider creating a community boat house — possibly similar to the house boats moored along the Annisquam River — and a dock upon Ten Pound Island that could host the Gloucester High School and YMCA community sailing and boating skills programs, as well as other public programs and access for rowing and kayaking.”

I am looking forward to learning more about the possibilities for Ten Pound Island and trust that our Mayor and community leaders will do a thoughtful study to create a comprehensive plan on how to co-exist with the birds that breed and nest on the Island. In our region, we have so many great examples to follow on ways to manage land for wildlife; two that come to mind immediately are the Plum Island Piping Plovers and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.

I think it important our community understand that more than likely, the vegetation found growing on Ten Pound is in a transitory state and that over time, if left to naturalize, will become a forest. The shrubs and brushy growth, so ideal for nesting birds, will eventually give way to hardwood trees, which may not be the best habitat for shore birds.

There is the hope that developing trails and managing the island flora will create an even better and more permanent sanctuary for our cherished wildlife. Today the Island is only accessible to private boaters. If a community dock were built at the site of the preexisting dock and trails were created and well maintained, just imagine the enjoyment and educational experiences Ten Pound Island could provide for all.

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8278392407_187a8b6139_bTen Pound Island Timeline

1644 Early settlers graze rams on the Island.

1817 Mariner Amos Story famously reports seeing a sea serpent (along with many others) near the Island. See account below.

1821 Ten Pound Island Lighthouse Station is established to safely guide mariners through Gloucester’s Inner Harbor.

1833-1849 Amos Story serves as Ten Pound Island Lighthouse Keeper.

1880 Winslow Homer stays with the lighthouse keeper during the summer creating over 50 watercolor paintings.

1881 Present conical cast iron tower, lined with brick, replaces original stone tower. Wooden keepers house is constructed.

1889 U.S. Fish and lobster hatchery is established.

1925 U.S. Coast Guard establishes first in the country air station, primarily to capture rumrunners during Prohibition.

1940 Lighthouse keeper’s wife Evelyn Hopkins honors Edward Snow, the Flying Santa who dropped Christmas presents from a plane for lighthouse keepers’ children, by nailing “Merry Christmas” boldly in newspaper, which could be read from the sky.

1954 Fish hatchery abandoned.

1956 Ten Pound island Light Station is decommissioned and replaced by a modern optic. The original fresnel lens is on display at the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland.

1965 Keepers dwelling razed.

1988 The Lighthouse Preservation Society initiates restoration of Ten Pound Island Light.

1989 A modern optic was installed atop the tower and relit as a Federal aid to navigation.

1995 The oil house is restored.

1996 -1997 (*Possibly longer, checking dates) Shuttle to and from the Island is provided by the Gloucester Harbor Shuttle.

Currently, Ten Pound Island serves as an active aid to navigation.

TenPound_Christmas

“Merry Christmas” written with newspaper hammered to the ground

*    *     *

Amos Story sea serpent sighting account: “It was between the hours of twelve and one o’clock when I first saw him and he continued in sight for an hour and a half. I was setting on the shore, and was about twenty rods [330 feet] from him when he was nearest to me. His head appeared shaped much like that of the sea turtle, and he carried his head from ten to twelve inches above the surface of the water. His head at that distance appeared larger than the head of any dog I ever saw. From the back of his head to the next part of him that was visible, I should judge to be three or four feet. He moved very rapidly through the water. I should say a mile in two, or, at most, in three minutes. I saw no bunches on his back. On this day, I did not see more than ten or twelve feet of his body.”

In a separate sighting, Story’s wife, “a woman held in high esteem for her veracity” noted through a telescope what at first she believed to be a log that had washed ashore, until it moved, that is. Throughout the month, more and more witnesses told similar stories of a sleek brown serpent-like creature in Gloucester Harbor.

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TENPOUNDLinks:

http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/maritime/ten.htm

http://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=478

http://www.newenglandlighthouses.net/ten-pound-island-light-history.html

http://www.uscg.mil/history/stations/airsta_tenpoundisland.asp

http://www.gloucestertimes.com/news/local_news/report-city-needs-to-better-serve-boaters/article_c2959522-c2de-5f05-8353-41766dcc7b5d.html

http://www.nelights.com/exploring/Massachusetts/ten_pound_light.html

http://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/catalog/entry.php?id=44

https://goodmorninggloucester.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/ten-pound-island-from-bill-hubbard/

More Photos Here Read more

An Irish Blessing

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Winslow_Homer_-_The_Four_Leaf_CloverThe Four Leaf Clover by Winslow Homer

Thanks to my friend Cathy who shared this beautiful Celtic blessing yesterday in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day.

Image courtesy wikicommons media.

ART EVERYWHERE . American Artists on billboards opens TODAY interactive map

Cat Ryan submits-

Hi Joey

Art Everywhere Billboards opens across the country today. Here’s a link to the interactive map of locations http://arteverywhereus.org/Map

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For GLOUCESTER, MA there’s a mash up poster for the entire Art Everywhere exhibit, rather than a single image. You can see it at 551-553 Washington Street Gloucester. Look for Homer’s Breezing Up on the 93 expressway by Dorchester.

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The Fitz Hugh Lane’s Boston Harbor is in two locations, one near  Westborough, the other one along 495 near Wrentham/Plainview/Foxbourough.

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Salem State College has the Hassam. Boston is the location of the Heade Giant Magnolias.

Young Artist of the week!

Jason and his toolbox

This young artist of the week is a very talented boy named Jason who painted this interpretation of Winslow Homer’s Two Men in a Canoe on a toolbox that he built himself. Jason picked out this painting himself and, I think, did a beautiful job of making it his own. What a cool piece of artwork for him to have and use for a long time!

If you know of a young artist that should be featured here, email dawn.gadow@gmail.com  with a short description and a photo of some of their work!