“Cape Ann and Monhegan Island Vistas: Contrasted New England Art Colonies” will explore the relationship between the historic and still-thriving art colonies of Monhegan Island and Cape Ann, Mass., featuring the work of artists connected with both places. Organized in collaboration with the Cape Ann Museum, this exhibition will be on view at the Monhegan Museum of Art & History July 1 through Sept. 30.
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 art colonies in both Cape Ann, Mass., and Monhegan Island. Separated by 100 miles of ocean, these colonies, like many others, became important crossroads in the history of American art, hosting major artists through the years. Artists represented in the exhibit, including Theresa Bernstein, Eric Hudson, Leon Kroll, Hayley Lever, James Fitzgerald, Lester Stevens, Don Stone, and Stow Wengenroth, visited or lived in both Cape Ann and Monhegan.
The exhibit explores how 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 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, while 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 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 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 Ann and Monhegan Island Vistas: Contrasted New England Art Colonies” includes several works from the collections of the Monhegan Museum of Art & History, the Cape Ann Museum, the Rockport Art Association, and private collections. 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.
The Monhegan Museum of Art & History is located in the historic Monhegan Island Light Station, 12 nautical miles off the coast of Maine. The museum is open daily from June 24 through Sept. 30. For more information, go to monheganmuseum.org