Cape Ann and Monhegan Island Vistas on view this summer at the Monhegan Museum of Art & History
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Cape Ann and Monhegan Island Vistas on view this summer at the Monhegan Museum of Art & History
Paul Strisik, Monhegan Pier, 1959. Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 in. 29 x 35 in. Monhegan Museum of Art & History, Gift of Nancy Strisik, 2002.

MONHEGAN ISLAND, ME.- Cape Ann and Monhegan Island Vistas: Contrasted New England Art Colonies explores the relationship between the historic and still-thriving art colonies of Monhegan, Maine, and Cape Ann, Massachusetts, featuring the work of artists connected with both places. Organized in collaboration with the Cape Ann Museum, this exhibition is on view at the Monhegan Museum of Art & History July 1 through September 30, 2021.

At the turn of the 20th century, American artists flocked to the new summer art colonies that stretched from California to New England. This exhibition pairs paintings and prints by artists who worked at both of two very different art colonies in the northeast: Cape Ann, Massachusetts, and Monhegan Island, Maine. Separated by one hundred miles of ocean, these colonies, like many others, became important crossroads in the history of American art, hosting major artists through the years. Each of the artists represented visited and/or lived in both Cape Ann and Monhegan: Theresa Bernstein, Eric Hudson, Leon Kroll, Hayley Lever, James Fitzgerald, Lester Stevens, Don Stone, and Stow Wengenroth, among others.

Cape and Island Vistas explores how these artists depicted aspects of each location, reflecting the differences between the city-size Cape Ann—with its large industrial harbor in Gloucester, a sizable fishing fleet, and the extended Rockport seashore—and the tiny offshore island of Monhegan, with its striking cliff formations and modest village harbor. Two paintings by Ken Gore, for example, embrace the contrasts in the two locales’ very different, but equally iconic, coastlines. One, Sea Mist, captures the crash of rushing waves at the base of Monhegan’s rocky cliffs; conversely, the sea shown in The Beach, painted on Cape Ann, rolls slowly onto a gentle strand. Landscape painter and printmaker Jacqueline “Jackie” Hudson spent much of her life on Monhegan but also had a studio in Cape Ann. Her energetic Church Fair, Main Street, Rockport is a colorful and lighthearted view of Cape people at play, while her watercolor Storm in Monhegan Harbor is dramatically different: the mood is somber; the colors are menacingly dreary; and the water inside the harbor is at a boil. A pair of scenes by European-trained Boston School artist and Cape Ann resident Aldro T. Hibbard, in turn, records the difference between Rockport harbor architecture in winter, centered on a shed that came to be known to artists and public alike as “Motif No. 1,” and a summery view of the small harbor at Monhegan.

Cape and Island Vistas—Cape Ann and Monhegan Island: Contrasted New England Art Colonies includes several works from the collections of the Monhegan Museum of Art and History, the Cape Ann Museum, the Rockport Art Association, and private collections. Co-organized with the Cape Ann Museum, the exhibition will travel to the Cape Ann Museum in the fall, where it will be on view October 23, 2021–January 16, 2022. A 64-page, fully illustrated catalogue with contributions by James F. O’Gorman, Martha Oaks, Oliver Barker, and Jennifer Pye, will accompany the exhibition. The catalog will be available for purchase in the Monhegan Museum Store or online for $20.

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Cape Ann and Monhegan Island Vistas on view this summer at the Monhegan Museum of Art & History

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