Gulf Hagas, a painting by Joel Babb, a regional painter of renown in both Boston and the state of Maine, has recently been installed at the Portland Museum of Art
in Portland, Maine, it was announced by the museums Curator of Contemporary Art, Jaime DeSimone.
A gift from an anonymous donor, in honor of Dr. Walter Goldfarb, to the museums permanent collection, Gulf Hagas measures 45 x 64 inches (2011, oil on linen), and depicts a gorge in the northern Maine woods in the mountains of the hundred mile wilderness portion of the Appalachian Trail. The west branch of the Pleasant River makes a canyon of three miles length with a series of beautiful waterfalls.
Walter Goldfarb was a Portland surgeon who had given much of his own collection of 19th century American paintings to the PMA.
A graduate in Art History from Princeton University in 1969, Babb studied with George Segal and George Ortman. After spending a year in Munich and Rome, he went to Boston to get an MFA from the Museum School and Tufts. Babbs cityscapes, many of which are painted from an aerial perspective, are the works for which he is best known in Boston.
In the mid-1970s Babb began building a studio and residence in Sumner, Maine, which soon became a full-time residence. Though he continued to paint cityscapes in the late 1980s, the artist began a series of large landscapes of the woods near his studio, including The Hounds of Spring, which hangs in the Baker Library at Harvard Business School.
Babbs work will be featured in a solo show at Greenhut Galleries in Portland in September of this year; and his monumental painting, Copley Plunge, was recently added to the permanent collection of the Boston MFA.
We are delighted to finally acquire such a phenomenal painting by Joel Babb, said DeSimone. It hangs among other realist giants, such as Richard Estes, and simultaneously celebrates Babbs lifelong investigation of Maines woods.