Wall Street Journal features New Deal public art | #GloucesterMA WPA murals are a treasure!

A Wall Street Journal article published March 23, 2021, “The Staying Inside Guide: Big-Deal Art in Plain-Spoken Venues” by Judith H. Dobrzynski, celebrates New Deal works of art across the country.

WSJ Article description- During the Great Depression, federal programs funded the creation of thousands of murals in post offices, hospitals and other locations across the country, many of which can now be viewed online

The reporter highlights Coit Tower in San Francisco as one renowned example.

“The New Deal murals inside Coit Tower in San Francisco are also well-known. Painted by some two-dozen artists in 1934, they are social realist panels about life in California during the Depression, with titles like “Banking and Law” and “Meat Industry.” Their story, with a detailed layout, is available in a San Francisco Recreation and Park Department brochure.”

Judith H. Dobrzynski for WSJ

The reverse ratio is evident here: Gloucester selected four artists who completed scores of masterworks* for specific public buildings. Monumental stunning mural cycles were commissioned under the auspices of Federal Arts PWAP and WPA-era programs from 1935-42 for Sawyer Free Library, City Hall, the High School on Dale Ave (now Central Grammar apartments), Hovey, Maplewood, and Forbes elementary schools. As schools were closed, disposed, or repurposed, murals were rescued and resited within City Hall and later O’Maley.

The City of Gloucester artists were significant muralists and painters. In truth, venerated. They captured stories of Gloucester and became a celebrated part of our history and artistry. When considered as a whole, the Gloucester murals rival WPA era collections completed in big cities. The density of murals are as concentrated as any found in larger cities, like Coit Tower in San Francisco, though spread out among buildings rather than one tower, or one structure, as with Harlem Hospital. Gloucester’s post office nearly landed a commission, but fate intervened. I’ll save that for the Part 2 post.

Gloucester and greater Cape Ann artists were commissioned for murals beyond Gloucester and Massachusetts and served key roles on selection panels and planning.

In recent years thanks to a CPA award, the Williamstown Art Conservation Center, established in 1978 to help museums with conservation, evaluated the condition of the city’s historic Depression era collection to help with important restoration. Gloucester’s impressive collection itself is the museum and the city a work of art that continues to inspire generations of artists.

Gloucester is not mentioned in this WSJ article or few major compilations. “Though painted by nationally known and successful artists at the top of their game, the works have suffered from a perfect storm of anonymity.”

Catherine Ryan, 2012

*The quantity of murals is 68 if one includes the five O’Toole murals from the 1940s. Note: because the Gloucester murals are multi-piece or series, the sections tally up to a whopping 75-90 count.

Selection of some murals on view (when open).

Gloucester’s murals at Sawyer Free

Within Sawyer Free Library are the city’s only New Deal works painted directly on plaster walls. Frederick Stoddard’s designs throughout the Saunders house encompass the first floor entryway, two story stairwell, and 2nd story wrap around stairwell hall. He described this two-story “decoration” above wainscotting upstairs and down as “a conventionalized treatment of the Gloucester region”. Familiar scenes include Dogtown “Moors”.

Marine scenes wrap around the former children’s space on the top floor.


A Gloucester Daily Times article from 1934 mentions a trifecta opening honoring the architectural overhaul for the building, new murals, and Rachel Webber’s retirement:

“July 25, 1934- “The public reception at the Sawyer Free Library yesterday afternoon was for three purposes: to observe the 50th anniversary of the occupancy of the present building, to give a public showing to the mural decorations recently completed by Fredercik L. Stoddard and to the entirely restored and renovated building, and to recognize 44 years of service by Miss Rachel S. Webber, librarian who is to retire in the fall…The building has been completely repaired and largely restored. The three story tower which had been built on the front of the building has been removed*, as has the old porch which extended across the front of the house, leaving only an entrance porch. A bay window facing Dale avenue which the architects decided spoiled the character of the building has been sliced off. Everything has been painted and repaired and new lights have been installed.”   

*all work near murals!

Howard Curtis assisted Stoddard with some repair work as a result (and was brought back again in 1953, 1974, and 1976-1980). In 1935, Curtis was busy completing his original “The Creation of Light” commission for the Methodist Episcopal Church on Prospect Street (now apartments).

O’Maley

Within O’Maley Innovation Middle School are a complete though out of order Frederick Mulhaupt series (originally at Maplewood); a partial and crucial section from a 2nd immersive series (originally at the High School); and “Our Daily Bread” by Frederick Stoddard, cropped. There are important works by Larry O’Toole commissioned by Ben Pine for the Gloucester Fishermen Institute and YMCA that were painted in the 1940s. Ron Gilson, Gloucester native, author and local historian, helped with the attribution and remembered the completed art being carried out the door. Gilson was great friends with Ben Pine, his first boss, and knew O’Toole.

above: sections from Mulhaupt’s fantastical “Landing of the Viking Thorwald in Vinland” 1935; and central panel “Gloucester harbor” 1936 | below: DPW inspecting the O’Toole 1940s murals (photo 2015)

Gloucester DPW helping inventory O'Toole murals gift to Gloucester commissioned by Ben Pine ©c ryan 2015

The Gilsons visit the murals at O’Maley, portrait © c ryan, 2018

City Hall

Within City Hall, there are 10 monumental New Deal murals by four artists: Charles Allan Winter, Frederick Stoddard, Frederick Mulhaupt, and Oscar Anderson. Three are multi panels so the collection in this building seems much greater than 10 murals. The Winters in the lobby and Kyrouz were site-specific for City Hall.

One is a small Stoddard panel from a triptych spanning 65 feet for Eastern Avenue School!

I’ll follow up with posts detailing more biographical information about the artists.

Does a pair of Gloucester Forbes school murals jog your recall?

The City of Gloucester murals have the potential to be listed among the nation’s most concentrated holdings of New Deal art from the 1930s and 40s on public view anywhere today. However, they are not all on view. Historic murals not on display await further conservation treatment.

Frederick Stoddard set up a studio in an unused room of the Point Primary School in East Gloucester to paint a variety of panels for the Forbes school. African animals by a waterhole, “the only liberty was animals all close to each other and peaceful,” accompany scenes of wild animals & birds and domestic animals. An underwater scene of local fish and vegetation is missing. I imagine every child and adult found it impossible to settle on just one favorite animal.

The largest composition stretched almost 20 feet. Joseph Nunes helped Stoddard with the installation.

This pair from the series were set over the doorways leading to classrooms. Each measures 5′ x 5′, so tall ceilings. Do they look familiar?

Did you attend or are you related to someone who was enrolled at the Forbes elementary school in 1935? Perhaps you visited one of the special viewing days set aside for the public. Fun fact: There have been seven Forbes school locations if we include the two modulars from the 1920s.

Oscar Anderson painted seven soft hued and dreamy murals for Hovey School including three panoramas. Four smaller works from this school are missing since ca.1972 or later. Does seeing a few of them together help you picture the Hovey school interior?

Sited in the Office of the Mayor

On loan NOAA headquarters, lobby

WPA District Briefs – 1930s

Beyond art, Gloucester benefited from multiple New Deal projects big and small. The Jodrey State Fish Pier was a Public Works Administration (PWA) biggie. Emergency funds allocated through the Treasury department paid for new public buildings like Gloucester’s post office.

The WPA helped Gloucester finally cap off the new track and field on Centennial. For years Gloucester residents were asked to dump their trash to build up landfill. The recreation space (now New Balance Field at Newell Stadium) was recognized nationally and dubbed, “Gloucester WPA Centennial Avenue Athletic Field”.

“The benefits of men working has changed unsightly, unhealthy Gloucester dumping ground into a modern fully equipped athletic and recreation field.”

1937 WPA bulletin

WPA Athletic Field 1937 – before GHS (Gloucester vista painted by Edward Hopper, now at the MFA)

Super complimentary letter from Colorado in response to the Gloucester story:

“I have just received your bulletin of October and I cannot refrain from writing to say that I think your inside spread showing the original dumping grounds, the football game, and a panorama of the athletic field at Centennial Avenue Gloucester, is one of the most remarkable photographic histories for public information that I have seen. How fortunate it was that your photographer saw it to get that first picture. It merits very widespread contemplation.”
Very respectfully yours,

ERNEST W CORN
Assistant State Administrator Division of Information Service. Denver, Colorado

GHS Football players- recognize anyone?

The field also gained coverage with other WPA football projects

Before: Gloucester Dumping Ground (GHS)


Stage Fort Park

WPA salvage work helped to build a new seawall at Stage Fort Park for flood and erosion control – “More than 3500 tons of stone set in cement were required in the construction of this 1100 foot WPA sea wall at Stage Fort Park, Cressey Beach, Gloucester. The wall preserves the beach area by preventing water and driven sand from flooding the park property.”

“At City Home, Gloucester, WPA razed a dilapidated wooden structure and built an all-stone garage and storage shed. These buildings will be used jointly by the City Home and the Welfare Department.”

Contributions in support of murals needing treatment can be sent to the “City of Gloucester”, note for mural conservation, City Hall, 9 Dale Avenue, Gloucester, MA 01930

New Year’s Day 1900: Reporting on Hon. George E. Merchant’s inauguration began simply, as in Bay State Mayor Recommendations for the Globe, then a fracas ensued

Happy New Year’s day! While thinking about 2021, I was looking back. 1900 seemed as good as any to share a fresh new chapter “then” story.

Bumpy Ride

Let’s just say fasten your seat belts; reading about Mayor Merchant’s term is a bumpy ride for the entire year as reported in the Boston Globe. Heated exchanges dominate. Smaller items about conservation and deed issues related to Dogtown, Good Harbor Beach, and Briar Neck real estate development are detailed. I knew some details about Mayor French’s terms but did not run into Mayor Merchant before. I recognize the surname Merchant/Marchant as Gloucester history. Prior to this post I mostly associated Merchant with the street that was one of so many in Gloucester to inspire work by American artist, Edward Hopper.

On some lists of Gloucester Mayors, he’s (conspicuously) not there. (Biographical details unroll at the end. Also, photographs of all the Mayor portraits.)

No Mayor Merchant

All heads south immediately following the swearing in, and I mean immediately. The Mayor address advanced to the paper is standard, rosy and prickly, not uncommon.

New Year’s Day, 1900 – Mayor Merchant of Gloucester

Gloucester, Jan. 1- Establishment of a City Workhouse, and Investigation of Assessing and Fire Alarm Systems Urged

The inauguration exercises of the city government for 1900 took place this morning in city hall. As usual, a large number were in attendance, the especial point of interest being the reading of the inaugural. Those who expected to hear a plain and straightforward statement of certain facts were not disappointed, as the inaugural certainly treated certain matters in a trenchant manner.

The chapters in relation to the administration of highways, the debt of the city, revaluation, the need of better discipline in the police force, recommendations in regard to an equitable reduction of water rates were received with especial favor. The inaugural made a distinctly favorable impression.

In considering the finances, he said that the city’s liabilities were $829,243.72. The net debt is $368,211.04, an increase of $77,713.72. The reserve amount which the city now can borrow is $22,496.78.

The following recommendations were made: The appointment of a special committee to investigate and report to the city council as to the present system of valuation of the city by the assessors, and what action, if any, is needed to secure more equitable taxation; an investigation and report by the committee on fire department as to the needs of an improved fire alarm service and the probable cost; the abolishment of the public library fund, a special committee to consider carefully the question of the scale of the poor farm property, and what may be done toward the establishment of a city workhouse, which would be such in fact as well as in name; the appointment of a joint special committee upon water, to act with the water commissioners upon all matters relating to the purchase of the work, the improvement of sources of supply, and to suggest in what manner an equitable adjustment of the rates may be made; that no claim made against the city be paid without first having had a reference to the proper department and report thereon in accordance with the advice of the law department, and the appointment of a special committee of the city council to investigate all matters relating to the collection of taxes, and to suggest how best a way may be found for better service in this connection.

The mayor advocated a gradual revaluation of the city, saying he believed it to be the duties of the assessors to look carefully into the matter. Under the subject of highways, the mayor took occasion to criticize adversely those having them in charge the past year, while those officials who were brought in close contact with the work performed were roundly scored. The schools, fire department and trust funds were kindly criticized in the interest of advanced ideas and business judgement. Regarding the police and the matter of license, the mayor emphasized the statement that while not looking for any difficulty in this line the police must do as they were bidden and observe discipline.

City clerk Somes administered the oath to the Mayor elect Merchant, after which the keys of office were delivered to him by Mayor French. Mayor Merchant administered the oath to the following aldermen: Ward 1 Alphonso Davis; ward 2 Osborne Knowles; ward 3 Levi J. Hotchkiss; ward 4 Edward H. Quigley; ward 5 Albert H. McKenzie; ward 6, William J. Sleep; ward 7, William L. Allen; ward 8, James W. Ingersoll.

The following members of the common council were also sworn in: Ward 1, Austin F. Coombs, Addison W. Bailey, John W. Gaskell; ward 2, John F. Riley, Samuel J. Somers, Melvin Parsons; ward 3, John J. Cunningham, Frank W. Lothrop, John A. Stoddart; ward 4, Ernest S. Parsons, John J. Sullivan, Ray S. Friend; ward 5, James E. Tolman, Samuel W. McQuinn, Thomas Hodge; ward 6, Addison G. Stanwood, Samuel P. Favor, James A. Lawrence; ward 7, William Stephens, Charles C. Smith, Thomas F. Wherty; ward 8, Ephraim R. Andrews, James M. Chadbourne, Howard T. Bray.

After the reading of the inaugural the boards proceeded to their respective chambers for organization.”

– From “For Year 1900: Recommendations Made by Bay State Mayors. How Government of Cities Can Be Improved. Necessity of Practicing Economy Where It Can be Done Without Detriment to the Public Good. Questions of Finances, Schools, Water. Lighting and Sewage in Various Municipalities of the Commonwealth.” , Boston Globe, New Year’s Day, 1900

MUNICIPALITIES INCLUDED IN THE ARTICLE: SOMERVILLE. HAVERHILL. LAWRENCE. EVERETT. MEDFORD.  SALEM. GLOUCESTER. FITCHBURG. BROCKTON. LYNN. BEVERLY. MARLBORO. WOBURN. NORTHAMPTON. SPRINGFIELD. NORTH ADAMS. NEW BEDFORD. QUINCY. WALTHAM. HOLYOKE. PITTSFIELD. TAUNTON. MALDEN. WORCESTER. BEVERLY CITY FATHERS. FOR THE SECOND TIME.

This was uncommon.

Then all hell breaks loose- on the very same day~

Jan 1 Day one whiplash- Council upends Mayor’s first day.

At the organization of the government today there were two unusual incidents.

“Mayor Merchant read a communication from ——-, protesting against administering the oath of office to Councilman elect Thomas Whearty, announcing that Chairman should contest the election. Mayor Merchant decided that there was nothing for him to do but take the returns of the election as they were rendered to him, and accordingly swore Mr. Whearty in.

“This had an important bearing on the contest of the presidency of the common council. When that body proceeded to elect as president James E. Tolman, who was a candidate for re-election offered an order that Mr. Whearty be not allowed to take part in the deliberations of the board until his case was finally settled. After several points of order had been made it was decided, to sustain chairman Lawrence, in adding Mr. Tolman’s order out of order. Councilman William Stephens was elected president of the council…In the afternoon Mayor Merchant announced his committees…

“Immediately on their announcement Alderman Sleep moved that the communication of the mayor be laid on the table. Mayor Merchant made no reply. Alderman Sleep insisted that his motion be put. Mayor Merchant contended that the committed announcement was simply a communication from the Mayor.

“Alderman Sleep produced the rules that urged that the aldermen by the rules could elect their own committees. Alderman Hotchkiss offered and order, if the mayor would entertain it, that the whole matter be referred to the city solicitor for his opinion as to the right of the aldermen to appoint the committees.

“Alderman McKenzie said there were committees to which he was appointed on which he did not care to serve.

“Mayor Merchant, after asking for further business, stated that he did not care to appear in the light of bulldozing the aldermen and should give them every opportunity to act except in the illegal expenditure of money, and then he should interfere. He therefore withdrew his nominations, and an order previously introduced by Alderman Hotchkiss that the aldermen reassemble at 7:30 in the evening and ballot for committees was passed.

“The mayor stated that the appointment of the committees had always been a prerogative of the mayor and he had proceeded in the matter as did former mayors.

“This is the first time in the history of the city that a mayor’s committee appointments have been protested or withdrawn. The incident caused somewhat of a sensation, and resulted in some animated conversation after the board adjourned.

“At 7:30 all the aldermen but Allen were in their seats. Mayor Merchant not putting in an appearance, President Sleep presided.

After the adjournment a conference was held, and a committee list satisfactory to the aldermen was arranged. The aldermen then, for the first time in the history of the city, proceeded to elect their own committees…Alderman Knowles offered an order that the city solicitor give his opinion in regard to the legality of the action of the aldermen in electing committees after the mayor had announced the appointment of committees. This was not seconded.”

Boston Globe, 2nd article of the day Jan 1, 1900

Apparently this balking at Mayoral appointments was trending as Haverhill was in the same boat. Unsurprisingly, by the ides of March the Mayor and council are

by March 17 At Loggerheads

Gloucester Aldermen on their Mettle. Render Useless Several Vetoes of Mayor Merchant. Mr. Sleep Proves a Sharp Critic of His Honor.

“The session of the board of aldermen this evening was one of the most sensational for some time. The old feud between Mayor Merchant and Alderman Sleep again broke out.

The mayor when “communications from the mayor” was reached, resigned the position of presiding officer to chairman Sleep and departed from the chamber. The chairman then proceeded to read the three vetoes to the aldermen and two presented in the council, which came up for action.”

Boston Globe March 17, 1900 excerpt

VETO TOPIC 1- conflicts of interest and spite

“The order adopted in relation to the payment to Sleep Bros. for certain services on Beacon Street was vetoed by the mayor on the ground of illegality and that it was work done on private land…Mr .Sleep said that despite the veto, the mayor had paid the bill of W.R. Cheves for stone and E.H. Griffin for cement, but objected to that of Sleep Bros. for labor ($97.50) on the same job because the members of the firm were unfortunate enough to bear the same name as the speaker…the action of the mayor was simply a matter of spite against him for certain matters which had occurred on inauguration day…The order to pay the money was carried…”

Boston Globe March 16, 1900 excerpt

Veto topic 2- PROTECTING GOOD HARBOR BEACH

“Some sharpshooting occurred on the veto of the mayor of the order that signs be placed at Good Harbor Beach by the committee on police and that all persons be prohibited from taking sand and ballast from the beach. The mayor informed the board that the proper way to proceed in this matter was for the committee on public property…Sleep denied there was any politics in this measure, and said the committee on public property attended to its work, but as it received no pay it was not its duty to lay around Good Harbor beach all the time and protect the property.”

Boston Globe March 16, 1900 excerpt

VETO TOPIC 3 – Protecting Dogtown

The order that the mayor and city register the land known as Dogtown commons, under the provision s of the Torrens law, was vetoed by the mayor on the ground that it was not the duty of the mayor but of the committee on public property.

Boston Globe March 16, 1900 excerpt

Veto topic 4- pay Raise for Firemen

“…The mayor vetoed the order for an increase in the salaries of firemen because he said that the city was not in a financial condition to make the raise…Sleep stated that some of the business men are raising money to put through the defeated charter which the mayor favors and which provides for salaried commissioners and clerks. Money for their friends was all right, but when it came down to the firemen it was a decidedly different matter…”

Boston Globe March 16, 1900 excerpt

1900

Governor Crane named ex-Mayor French to Gloucester Police Court

september 1900 Briar’s neck free for all origin story continues

And the Mayor is in the story.

“Gloucester has had a little Oklahoma boom. The place in question where this excitement has occurred is at Briar neck. The strip of land has for many years been vacant, with the exception of one (shack)…although it is claimed by two capitalists, who assert that they have deeds…

“It is a strip of about 200 acres of shore land, which is undoubtedly one of the sightliest and most desirable places for a summer home along the North Atlantic.

Briar’s Neck development

“Early in the season an attorney inserted a small item in a local paper to the effect that there was no valid title, and that anyone who settled down on the property could hold it. Mayor Merchant was the first one to squat down on the property and his example was followed by others, and there was a veritable rush for the place for several days. All the available sites were staked out and the names of those who had located claims were written on the stakes. There was a rumor circulated that the mere staking of the land was unavailing and that nothing less than the erection of a building of some sort would hold the land. A nondescript settlement immediately sprung up, and the sound of the hammer and saw was loud for several days…”Seashore Boomers

“There has been a great hunting up of old deeds and a revamping of family genealogies, …The Parsons of Joppa do not believe that the present squatters can hold the land, but eventually will be ousted. Mayor Merchant, by the way, claims descent from the Parsons.” Two capitalists of the city, George R. Bradford and George J. Tarr assert ownership of the tract, and have taken measures to protect their property…”

-excerpts from wild story about Briar Neck origins in the Boston Globe (Thacher is spelled Thatcher’s Island in this one)

Assuming its veracity, how did this Briar Neck business sort out? Two years earlier, a Boston Globe report stated Mayor Davis had plans for Briar:

Long standing Briar Neck controversy

The controversy as to the ownership of Briar Neck property, between the street railway company and Mayor Davis, resulting in the company acknowledging the city’s rights in an old road there, has become further complicated. Today two of Gloucester’s wealthiest capitalists, George R. Bradford and George J. Tarr, entered the fight, and served papers on the street railway company. The plaintiffs claim that they own 36 acres of land at Briar Neck, which extends from the stone wall to the beach, including the fresh water pond, lowlands and uplands traversed by the street railway company. Meanwhile Mayor Davis has something up his sleeve in regard to ownership of the property which will be developed later.

August 1898 Boston Globe

October 24, 1900 Checkmate

The Mayor was limiting the amount of the council’s loan request.

“A long and tedious period of silence, lasting over 40 minutes, followed. Mayor Marchant holding his chair through fear that his seat might be usurped by Alderman Sleep, who is president of the board. In the meantime two of the aldermen had gone out in search of legal advice…”

“…Alderman McKenzie: “Since the mayor refuses to entertain my appeal, I appeal to you.” Mr. Sleep put the motion and Mr. McKenzie was sustained by the unanimous vote of the board…the portion of the loan not approved by the mayor was then passed over his veto by a unanimous vote…Having accomplished their purpose the board adjourned.”

Boston Globe October 24, 1900

January 1901

Mayor French is back in the saddle. (The prior November, ex-Mayors Cook and French, Alderman Hotchkiss and ex-Alderman Barrett vied for the nomination.)

1899 New Year’s message for the Boston Globe by Mayor William French — who was back in as Mayor for 1901.

1899 New Year’s msg from Mayor French

and his 1902 address published in the Gloucester Daily Times. I had read about French before.

photo caption: Gloucester Daily Times archives retrieved at Sawyer Free November 2018. Read more about 1902 and Haskell Dam in my prior post here on GMG, .

Honorable George E. Merchant Fast Facts

He was described as a modest man from a well known and well regarded “old Cape Ann family”, and endearing accounts about his enthusiasm at reaching his 50th wedding anniversary milestone suggest a loving one, too. (Gloucester Daily Times obit)

Prior to serving as Mayor, he served a term as an alderman 1886-87 (and many appointments/commissions before. Waterways after Mayor).

Born1853, Gloucester
OccupationAdult – Printer/printing since 1870 when he began his career at John S.E. Rogers, owner and printer Gloucester Telegraph, various newspaper jobs. And printing press from his home at advanced age after retirement.
Boyhood 1870 census- 16 years old, working as a fisherman (family lore he was the cook on father’s boat; father in business with his sons) giving it a go for 8 years like generations of his family. Education unknown, presumed self-taught. Prior to Mayor-1886-87 served as city councilor (overlapping with his father) and more since 1870s. After Mayor, appointments, too. Master gardener. Family historian-writer. Photography.
FatherGeorge Merchant
Master mariner, fisherman, owner; founded seine net repair business 1873; fisheries advisor; served years as city councilor Ward 1
Affinity & skill for art- studied painting with FH Lane; fisheries display models, etc. (And his father was an incredible violinist.) Full & busy life, family man. 31 Main Street family residence
See Shute & Merchant
MotherMary Douglass Merchant (1832-1923)
Oak Grove Cemetery
Siblings
Parents had 9 kids
Mary Jane 1851 – 1944
George Edward 1853 – 1929
Orlando 1856 – 1930
Flora Estelle died at 2 1858 – 1860
Eugene Howard died at 2 1861 – 1863
Robert Clifford 1864 – 1936
Joseph Carleton 1867 – 1961
unnamed son 1870 – 1870
Percy Washburn
WifeCharlotte E. Lufkin (1857-1945)
Childrentwins died at 8 days and 9 days
Ernest H (16 years old when his father was Mayor; GHS 1904)
–buried in Santa Barbara–
George E. Jr. (14 years old when his father was Mayor; GHS)
Residences1900 33 Eastern Avenue
family compounded variously split up before/after
eventually 31 Eastern Ave where Charlotte remains
Death1929
see 50th wedding anniversary
Mt. Pleasant Cemetery
Obit both “well known member of old Cape Ann family”

George E. Merchant, Gloucester, Mass.

31-33 Eastern Avenue George E. and Charlotte E. Merchant

George Merchant, Gloucester, Mass.

1900 census- 30 East Main – George and Mary Merchant (and son Robert)

George Merchant, grandfather, fisherman and accomplished violinist

Such creative, multi-talented family members! George E.’s photograph and family historian piece on the occasion of his grandfather’s 90th birthday was published in the Boston Globe

“He had quite a reputation as a violinist in his younger days, in fact was a born musician, having what is called “fiddler’s elbow,” and many a weary night on the deep has been made pleasant by the strains from his violin.”

About George Merchant (George E.’s grandfather)

Mayor Portraits

Portraits of many Gloucester Mayors are exhibited in Gloucester City Hall. These are photographs of (most of the) Mayor portraits I took back in 2017, after another inauguration. Paintings, photographs and drawings of Mayors have been commissioned or gifted then installed after the term(s) years of service.

Iconic Edward Hopper SOLD for $700,000 at Sotheby’s- Gloucester Factory and House – bird’s eye view of Cripple Cove and Gorton’s smokehouse on E. Main St. (now Capt. Joe & Sons and GMG HQ) from Horchow collection #GloucesterMA

A classic Edward Hopper inspired by Gloucester will be sold at Sotheby’s auction this morning*. Architectural and natural elements in the drawing remain recognizable today. The scene overlooks the same house on East Main, Capt. Joe & Sons, and Cripple Cove (see then/now comparison photos below). The Gorton’s factory building there burned down. Cripple Cove playground is the green on the right of the Hopper image.

The drawing last changed hands in 1989 when the Horchows purchased the drawing from Kennedy Galleries in New York. Will it land in another private collection or an institution?

Edward Hopper (1882-1967), Gloucester Factory and House, 1924, watercolor and pencil on paper, 14″ x 20″, from the Carolyn & Roger Horchow collection (Dallas,TX) They purchased the drawing in 1989 from Kennedy Galleries, NYC.

Lot 8 estimate $800,000-$1,200,00 currently at $600,000 bid before the auction opens

*Update- With just 56 lots to sell and two withdrawn ahead of sale, Lot 8 came up quickly with a few competing bids and a hammer price of $700,000 ($867,000 with fees), below estimate.

Many lots before and after were short of estimate or passed (unsold) including a Winslow Homer watercolor which was “reoffered” by pausing the bidding on the final lot #56 to return to Lot #16 (which sold for 2 million hammer price) before moving back to the final lot, an Edward Willis Refield (which sold for $250,000). That whoopsie “reoffer” is highly unusual**. The auction house scrambled to bring that phone bidder forward before the close of the sale. A second Homer watercolor passed at 850,000.

The Sotheby’s December 11, 2020 auction offered a variety of American art from various collections. The sale results were a mixed bag of purchases, passes, and pulled works. Only one work sold far above estimate, thanks to a bidding war, a western scene by John F. Clymer. Scroll below the Hopper and Gloucester images to see the Homer.

above photo: Catherine Ryan

above: page from Edward Hopper all around Gloucester by Catherine Ryan, 2010

above: Sotheby’s catalogue entry page

In 2017, Christies sold a Rockefeller Hopper painting, Cape Ann Granite, also in December, which I wrote about here: Bring it Home.

**December 11, 2020 Winslow Homer Lot 16 sold at Sotheby’s after passing first in the live sale and then “Reoffered” before the close of sale. For both the first and second offer window, the bid opened at 1.8 million. In the first round the bidding went back and forth, but “passed” at 2.2 million, presumably failing to meet reserve or presale estimate (2.5 – 3.5 million). Before the final lot of the sale, the auctioneer annouced a “re-offer” for Lot 16 after the audio went silent for a brief time. The drawing was sold to a buyer placing a phone bid for 2 million hammer price (2,440,000 after fees), less than the “pass” of the first time through. This move is nearly an aftersale during the sale. Perhaps the first time around the buyer was late to the call or there was confusion determining the “up to” amount, factoring in the fees.

Property from a Prominent Private Collection

Winslow Homer

1836 – 1910

Two Girls on the Beach, Tynemouth

signed Winslow Homer and dated 1881 (lower left)

watercolor and pencil on paper

14 1/8 by 20 inches

Massachusetts Museum Guide: upcoming art exhibits at 150 institutions

installation view at ICA The Water Shed_JOHN AKOMFRAH PURPLE_2019_© photograph catherine ryan (5).jpg

Last Chance! These must see 2019 shows are closing soon: Don’t miss ICA Watershed Purple (installation view above) closing September 2;  DeCordova New England Biennial and the Provincetown Art Association & Museum’s 1945 Chaim Gross exhibition close September 15; and catch Renoir at the Clark before it’s gone September 22nd.

A few of the listed upcoming exhibitions to note: the NEW building and exhibits at PEM are opening September 2019; Homer at the Beach is on display at Cape Ann Museum thru December 1 (and catch a Richard Ormond lecture on John Singer Sargent’s Charcoals Sept.28 at Cape Ann Museum (ahead of the Morgan exhibition opening October);  three new shows opening at MFA; Gordon Parks at Addison; and Alma Thomas at Smith. A Seuss-focused experience was pronounced destined for Boston, ahead of its TBD venue, by the LA entertainment company co-founders. Some shows I’ve already visited and may write about, mostly from a dealer’s perspective as that is my background. Exhibition trends continue to evolve and reveal new directions. A few patterns I see in the exhibition titles: what’s annointed for display and how it’s contextualized (corrective labels); immersive exhibits; revisiting colonial methodologies and themes; major solo surveys; women artists (and this upcoming season boost underscoring womens’ suffrage and 100th anniversary of the ratification of women’s right to vote); illustration; environment; and issues of humanity and migration. The list is illustrated with images of the sites. All photographs mine unless otherwise noted. Right click or hover to see info; click to enlarge. – Catherine Ryan

The guide – Massachusetts Museum Guide, Fall 2019

Note from author: The list below is alphabetized by town, and details upcoming exhibitions at each venue as well as some that are closing soon. Click the word “website” (color gray on most monitors) for hyperlinks that redirect to venues. For a list alphabetically sorted by venue, see my Google Map (with a Candy Trail overlay) “Art Museums in Massachusetts” here and embedded at the end of this post. I pulled the map together several years ago. No apps to download or website jumping. Easy scroll down so you don’t miss an exhibit that’s closer than you think to one that you may already be exploring. A few are open seasonally (summer) or weekends only–call first to check before visiting. Major new architectural building projects are underway at BU (closed) and MIT. The 54th Regiment Memorial on Boston Common will undergo restoration. Get ready for close observation of conservation in process.  – Catherine

AMESBURY

1. John Greenleaf Whittier historic Home and Museum website 

AMHERST 

2. Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art website

  • September 7, 2019- March 1, 2020 Under the Sea with Eric Carle
  • Through October 27, 2019 The Picture Book Odysseys of Peter Sis video of exhibition
  • November 10, 2019 – April 5, 2020 The Pursuit of Everything: Maria Kalman’s Books for Children
  • Through December 1, 2019 William Steig’s Sylvester and the Magic Pebble: A Golden Anniversary

3. Emily Dickinson Museum website ongoing special guided tours through two historic house museums- Homestead and Evergreens, and programs

4. Eli Marsh Gallery – Amherst College website

  • September 16-October 11, 2019 Do Things to Images: An Exhibition by Odette England

5. Mead Art Museum –  Amherst College website

  • Opening September 12, 2019 Rotherwas Project 5 | Christopher Myers: The Red Plague Rid You for Learning Me Your Language
  • Through September 11, 2019 Fleeting Nature: Selections from Collection
  • Fall 2019 Ten Years of Trinkett Clark Memorial Student Acquisitions
  • Opening December 2019 Students’ museum seminar exhibition
  • Through January 5, 2020 Constructing Collage

ANDOVER

6. Addison Gallery of American Art Philips Andover website

  • September 1, 2018- July 31, 2020 A Wildness Distant from Ourselves: Art and Ecology in 19th-Century America press release
  • September 1, 2018 – December 15, 2019 The Art of Ambition in the Colonial Northeast press release
  • September 1 – November 15, 2019 George Washington: American Icon press release
  • October 5, 2019 – January 5 2020 Men of Steel, Women of Wonder press release
  • February 1 – April 26, 2020 Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940-1950 press release

ARLINGTON

7. Cyrus E. Dallin (1861-1944) Art Museum website

ATTELBORO

8. Attleboro Arts Museum (like NSAA) website

BELMONT

9. The Belmont Woman’s Club & 1853 Winslow Homer (seasonal) website historic house museum

BEVERLY

10. Montserrat College of Art website

  • Through September 13, 2019 Montserrat Gallery | Julian Howley: Building Better Mobs
  • Through September 21, 2019 Ashley Brown Durand: It’s Ok to Feel Things
  • Through October 12, 2019 301 Gallery | Adrian Fernandez Milanes

11. Murals, Cabot Street Beverly

 

12. Beverly Public Library website

 

13. Long Hill historic home and gardens 114 acres website 

BOSTON

14. Boston Athenaeum website

  • September 17, 2019 – March 14, 2020 Required Reading: Reimagining a Colonial Library on display in the Norma Jean Calderwood Gallery press release

15. Boston Black Heritage Trail, NPS website

photo info: Visitors will see the Robert Gould Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial undergoing conservation beginning fall 2019

16. Boston Children’s Museum website

Boston Children's Museum_20190828_Hood icon © c ryan

  • Through September 30th HUMAN GARDEN | Handmade Installation by Lani Asuncion on display in The Gallery
  • Through Fall 2019 Pickup Music Project www.pickupmusicproject.com
  • iconic permanent public art/architecture, i.e. Hood Milk Carton; mini temporary displays and/or art commissions integrated every floor

17. Boston Freedom Trail website

18. Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park website

(photos show info gateway on the Greenway near the ferry access to Boston Harbor Islands)

  • Summer 2019 public art: Boston Harbor [Re]creation The Project: Artists Marsha Parrilla; Robin MacDonald-Foley; Brian Sonia-Wallace more(Jury: Luis Cotto MCC; Lucas Cowan, The Greenway; Celena illuzzi, National Parks; Caroly Lewenberg; Denise Sarno-Bucca DCR; Courtney Shape, City of Boston; Rebecca Smerling Boston Harbor Now; Kera Washingon; Cynthia Woo, Pao Arts Center)

19. Boston Public Library website

  • Through November 10, 2019 America Transformed: Mapping the 19th Century, special exhibitions, more

20. Boston Society of Architects website

  • Through October 25, 2019 Canstruction 2019
  • Through December 31, 2019 2019 BSA Design Awards 
  • December 6 – January 2, 2019 8th Annual Gingerbread House Design Competition
  • January 10, 2020- May 15, 2020 The Architecture of Time
  • February 14 – April 5, 2020 Women in Design Award of Excellence 20th Anniversary celebratin and exhibition
  • February 21 – May 31, 2020 Durable: Sustainable Material Ecologies Vilna Shul website

21. Boston University BU Art Galleries website

  • Reopening Fall 2020 – 808 Gallery (temporary closures)
  • Reopening Fall 2020 – Faye G., Jo & James Stone Gallery (temporary closures)
  • Annex

22. Design Museum, Boston website

23. Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway website 

Super A_ Stefan Thelen_Resonance_2019_Greenway mural Boston Massachusetts© photograph c ryan.jpg

  • Unveiled 2019 – Super A (Stefan Thelen) Resonance, 2019, latex and spray paint
    • Note to Greenway (see photo notes below): food trucks by the stop should be relocated to other food truck areas (and maybe one tree) to optimize and welcome sight line to the Greenway and public spaces from streets, sidewalk, and South Station. There are pauses elsewhere along the lattice park links, and a generous approach past the wine bar. The temporary commissioned mural could extend verso (or invite a second artist) so that the approach from Zakim Bridge/RT1/93North is as exciting as the approach from Cape Cod.

  • Skip the app AI download– swamped my phone battery despite free WiFi on the Greenway.
  • See complete list of 2019 public art currently on view at The Greenway here
  • The Greenway packs a lot of punch in a compressed area; its lattice of dynamic public spaces and quiet passages are an easy stroll into the North End or along the HarborWalk to the ICA, roughly similar in size and feel as walking Battery Park and Hudson River Park in New York City.

college students from Boston University volunteer grounds keeping before the semester kicks off_ at The Greenway_Boston Mass_20190828_©c ryan.jpg
photo credit: Grounds help | College students from Boston University volunteering before the semester kicks off at The Greenway, Boston MA © c ryan _20190828_

ICA needs to be on these wayfinding guides.jpg
p.s. Need to add ICA to The Greenway wayfinding 

24. Innovation and Design building (aka Boston Design Building makeover in process in winter 2016 photos posted here) website

25. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum website

  • Through September 15, 2019 BIG PLANS: Picturing Social Reform more
  • Through October 20, 2019 Contemporary Art  Joan Jonas: i know why they left more
  • Through January 14, 2020 Anne H. Fitzpatrick Facade Laura Owens: Untitled 
  • October 17, 2019 – January 20, 2020 In the Company of Artists featuring Sophie Calle, Bharti Kher, Luisa Lambri, Laura Owens, Rachel Perry, Dayanita Singh, and Su-Mei Tse

26. Guild of Boston Artists website

  • Through September 28, 2019 Annual Regional Juried Exhibition 2019 Winners announced September 21, 2019. The 2018 gold winner, Leon Doucette of Gloucester, exhibiting again, and Melissa Cooper. more

27. ICA Institute of Contemporary Art website

ICA BOSTON_silvery day_©c ryan.jpg

  • On display at The Water Shed ICA Boston venue

installation view at ICA The Water Shed_JOHN AKOMFRAH PURPLE_2019_© photograph catherine ryan (7)

  • Through September 2, 2019 at The Water Shed, ICA Boston John Akomfrah: Purple more 

  • What’s coming in 2020 to The Water Shed? Still TBA
  • Through September 22, 2019 ICA Less Is a Bore: Maximilist Art & Design more

Nice installation with a few surprises and thoughtful connection to other exhibtions on view. (The LeWit and Johns selections triggered what about that work or artist? I wish May Stevens and Harmony Hammond were included and my list grew from there. That’s part of the fun of the exhibit.)

ICA installation view_Less is More 2019 © photo copyright Catherine Ryan

  • September 24 – February 7, 2021 ICA Yayoi Kusama: Love is Calling more
  • September 24 – February 7, 2021 ICA Beyond Infinity: Contemporary Art after Kusama more
  • October 23, 2019 – January 26, 2020 ICA When Home Won’t Let You Stay: Migration through Contemporary Art more
  • Through December 31, 2019 ICA 2019 James and Audrey Foster Prize Boston area artists: Rashin Fahandej; Josephine Halvorson; Lavaughan Jenkins; Helga Roht Poznanski more 

  • Through December 31, 2019 ICA Vivian Suter more 

  • January 17, 2020 – March 15, 2020 ICA Fineberg Art Wall | Nina Chanel Abney mural more

ICA Boston installation view_Fineberg Art Wall_ artist Nina Chanel Abney _ 2019 © photograph copyright Catherine Ryan.jpg

  • January 20, 2020 – July 5, 2020 ICA Tschabalala Self: Around the Way more
  • January 20, 2020 – July 5, 2020 ICA Carolina Caycedo more
  • February 26 – May 17, 2020 ICA Sterling Ruby more
  • July 1, 2020 – October 18, 2020 ICA Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech more

28. John F. Kennedy JFK Presidential Library & Museum, UMASS Boston website

  • Through November 28, 2019 JFK 100: Milestones & Mementos  more
  • Through December 31, 2019 Freedom 7 Space Capsule more

29. Massachusetts State House art collection website  and Boston Commons public arts and spaces

30. McMullen Museum of Art BC – Boston College website

  • September 9, 2019 William Trost Richards: Hieroglyphs of Landscape more
  • September 9, 2019 Simon Dinnerstein: “The Fulbright Triptych” more
  • September 9, 2019 Alen MacWeeney and a Century of New York Street Photography more 
  • September 9, 2019 Mary Armstrong: Conditions of Faith more

31. MAAH – Museum of African American History, Boston website

32. MFA – Museum of Fine Arts, Boston website 

Museum of Fine Arts Boston_20170113_Manship sculptures © c ryan.jpg

  • September 13, 2019 – May 3, 2021 Women Take the Floor (The fugitive textiles and printmaking sections will rotate out Part 1 May 2020) at the MFA more 

  • October 12, 2019 – August 9, 2020 Weng Family Collection of Chinese Painting: Family and Friends at the MFA more
  • October 13, 2019 – January 20, 2020 Ancient Nubia Now at the MFA more 

installation at MFA underway _20190820_readying for Ancient Nubia ©c ryan.jpg

  • Through October 14, 2019 Community Arts Mindful Mandlas at the MFA
  • Through December 15, 2019 Viewpoints: Photographs from art dealer Howard Greenberg Collection at the MFA more 

big league photo art dealer Howard Greenberg stellar vintage photography collection.jpg

  • Through January 20, 2020 Make Believe: Five Contemporary photographers at the MFA more
  • Through January 20, 2020 Kay Nielsen’s Enchanted Vision at the MFA more

  • Through February 20, 2020 Hyman Bloom: Matters of Life and Death at the MFA more
  • Through February 23, 2020  Jackson Pollock |  Katharina Grosse Abstraction on a Massive Scale at the MFA more

POLLOCK at MFA orginially commissioned by Peggy Guggenheim.jpg

  • March 1, 2020  – May 25, 2010 Lucian Freud: The Self Portraits at the MFA more 
  • Through March 8, 2020 Collecting Stories: Mid Century Experiment at the MFA

  • Through March 29, 2020 Boston Made Arts and Crafts Jewelry and Metalwork at the MFA more

  • Through June 30, 2020 Conservation in Action: Japanes Buddhist Sculpure at the MFA

33. Otis House Museum, Historic New England website historic house museum

34. Paul Revere House website

35. Society of Arts & Crafts, at Pier 4 Boston website 

  • Sepember 10 2019 – November 10, 2019 Kogei-Kyoto x SA+C, Boston more
  • save the date: Society visits Gloucester, Mass

36. USS Constitution, NPS website

BREWSTER 

37. Cape Cod Museum of Natural History website

  • Long term display in the Naturescape Gallery James Prosek and Barbara Harmon (see also Thornton Burgess in East Sandwich) 

BROCKTON

38. Fuller Craft Museum heads into 51st season website

  • Opens September 7, 2019 Striking Gold: Fuller at Fifty press release 
  • Opens September 7, 2019 Gleam: Golden Selections from the Permanent Collection press release
  • Through September 8, 2019 Mano-Made: New Expression in Craft by Latino Artists
  • Opens September 28, 2019 Human Impact: Stories of the Opiod Epidemic
  • Through October 6, 2019 Brockton Youth Creates
  • Opens October 19, 2019 Stitch by Stitch: Activist Quilts from the Social Justice Sewing Academy
  • Through October 27, 2019 Take It Outside: Works from the Boston Sculptors Gallery
  • Through October 27, 2019 Maine Crafts Association: Ten Years of Master Craft Artistshttps://larzanderson.org/exhibits/goldenage/
  • Through November 17, 2019 Elizabeth Potenza: “Look up,” she said, “there is more color than you ever imagined.
  • Opens January 25, 2020 Stephanie Cole: Secular Cathedral
  • Opens May 2, 2020 Another Crossing: Artists Revisit the Mayflower Voyage
  • Through May 3, 2020 Tending the Fires: Recent Acquisitions in Clay

BROOKLINE

39. Larz Anderson Auto Museum website

  • Through mid April 2020 Golden Age – Era of Distinction, Style and Grace 1915-1948 more
  • Permanent display – The Anderson Collection 

CANTON

40. Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate  website

41. Museum of American Bird Art at Mass Audubon website

  • Through September 15, 2019 Under Pressure– Birds in the Printed Landscape: Linocuts by Sherrie York more
  • Through September 29, 2019 The Shorebird Decoys of Gardner & Dexter more

CAMBRIDGE

Harvard – 

42.  Harvard Art Museums (Fogg; Busch-Reisinger; and Arthur M. Sackler) website

Why do any of the Harvard museums charge an entrance fee?

  • Through January 5, 2020 Winslow Homer: Eyewitness (in conjunction with Cape Ann Museum Homer exhibition) University Research Gallery
  • Through January 5, 2020 Early Christian Africa: Arts of Transformation
  • Through January 5, 2020 Critical Printing
  • Through January 5, 2020 Crossing Lines, Constructing Home: Displacement and Belonging in Contemporary Art
  • Through November 14, 2021 On Site Clay — Modeling African Design

43. Harvard – Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts website

  • Through September 29, 2019 Anna Oppermann: Drawings

Harvard Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts closed for event_20190705_©c ryan.jpg

The Carpenter Center was closed for an event on the day I scheduled to see the Oppermann exhibition – good reminder to call first for the must see shows on your list.

  •  Jonathan Berger: An Introduction to Nameless Love
  • Harvard Film Archive weekly film series

44. Harvard – ‘The Cooper Gallery’ / The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African and African American Art website

The Cooper Gallery Harvard University_20190705_Boston MA_ ©c ryan.jpg

  • September 16 – December 13, 2019 The Sound of My Soul: Frank Stewart’s Life in Jazz photography, curated by Ruth Fine
  • the Gordon Park exhibition that recently closed was on my list of top shows for 2019

45. Harvard – Gutman Gallery website

  • Through August 30, 2019 Sneha Shrestha (aka Imagine), Ed.M.’17

46. Harvard –  Graduate School of Design Gund Hall Exhibition website

47. Harvard – Ernst Mayr Library website

48. Harvard – Houghton Library website

49. Harvard – Lamont Library (Harvard ID required) website

  • Through March 29, 2020 Harvard College International Photo Contest Winners

50. Harvard –  Museum of Natural History website

  • September 25, 2019 – December 31, 2019 Rotten Apples: Botanical Models of Diversity and Disease at Harvard Museum of Natural History more
  • Ongoing, Glass Flowers Gallery

51. Harvard – Peabody Museum of Archaeology website

  • Through December 31, 2019 Harvard’s Peabody Museum and the Invention of American Anthropology more

52. Harvard- Pusey Library Exhibition Gallery website

  • Through October 31, 2019 Mapping the Moon in Black and White Harvard Map Collection
  • Through January 22, 2020 The Rittase Touch: Photographic Views of Harvard in the 1930s

53. Harvard – Widener Library (Harvard ID required) website

  • Though September 30, 2019 Colonial North America: Portals to the Past

54. Central Square Murals, Cambridge website

MIT –

55. MIT Museum website  **OCTOBER 2021 MIT Museum moving to KENDALL SQUARE**

  • Through September 1, 2019 Arresting Fragments: Object Photography at the Bauhaus  more
  • Opens October 11, 2019 The Polaroid Project: At the Intersection of Art and Technology more 
  • Opens November 7, 2019 Making Digital Tangible more
  • Through May 1, 2021 Lighter, Stronger, Faster: The Herreshoff Legacy design and engineering and the Hereshoff Manufacturing Co. more
  • Ongoing Harold Edgerton exhibit; Holography collection; and Gestural Engineering: The Sculpture of Arthur Ganson

56. MIT List Visual Arts Center website MIT Media Lab more

  • Through September 15, 2019 Student Lending Art program more
  • Through October 20, 2019 List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi more
  • October 18, 2019 – January 5, 2020 Alicja Kwade: In Between Glances more
  • December 12, 2019 – February 9, 2020 List Projects: Becca Albee more
  • February 7, 2020 – April 12, 2020 Christine Sun Kim: Off the Charts more
  • February 7, 2020 – April 12, 2020 Colored People Time: Mundane Futures, Quotidian Pasts, Banal Presents more
  • March 17, 2020 – May 17, 2020 List Projects: Rami George more

57. MIT Hart Nautical Gallery website

58. MIT Museum Studio and Compton Gallery student projects website

59. MIT School of Architecture Galleries website

  • September 1 Gallery 9 SA+P Thesis show website
  • School of Architecture Dean’s Gallery website
  • School of Architecture Keller Gallery website
  • Rotch Library Exhibition space website
  • Through September 30 GRAND CANYON: Geology, Exploration Tourism and Architecture more 
  • Through October 4, 2019 A theater without theater on display Maihaugen Gallery and Rotch Library more
  • Opens December 9, 2019 ACT Fall Studio Final exhibit
  • PLAZmA Digital Gallery website

60. MIT Wiesner Student Art Gallery website Stratton Student Center

  • Through September 15, 2019 Surrounded by Digitized Faces and Bodies 

61. Mount Auburn Cemetery website 

62. Museum of Science, Boston website

Museum of Science_20170530_George Rhodes 1987 commission, Archimedean Excogitation, mesmerizing audiokinetic sculpture ©c ryan.jpg

  • Temporary art and photography exhibitions top floor moments of excellence
  • Ongoing George Rhodes 1987 commission, Archimedean Excogitation, mesmerizing audiokinetic sculpture (Relocated to lobby 2015- I prefered lower level.)
  • Ongoing Katherine Lane Weems (1899-1989) animal sculptures. MoS is the largest repository of her work.
  • Historic Eames installation dismantled 😦

CLINTON

63. Museum of Russian Icons website

  • Through October 20, 2019 Wrestling With Angels Icons from the Prosopon School of Iconology and Iconography more
  • November 15, 2019 – March 8, 2020 Emil Hoppe: Photographs from the Ballet Russes more

CONCORD

64. Louisa May Alcott Orchard House 399 Lexington Road, Concord, Massachusetts 01742, United States (978) 369-4118 guided tours year round plus special events

65. Ralph Waldo Emerson House (seasonal) website

66. Walden Pond State Reservation – Henry David Thoreau website

67. Concord Museum website

  • Opening October 19, 2019 Concord Collects 
  • February 14, 2020 Beyond Midnight: Paul Revere press release

COTUIT

68. Cahoon Museum of American Art website

  • September 6 – October 30, 2019 Through the Looking Glass: Daguerreotype Masterworks from the Dawn of Photography
  • October 6 – October 30, 2019 Cahoon Contemporaries: Jodi Colella, Jackie Reeves, Kimberly Sheering
  • November 8 – December 22, 2019 Soo Sunny Park: Boundary Conditions installation
  • November 8 – December 22, 2019 Gretchen Romey Tanzer Weaver
  • Rotating – Highlights from the collection; New Acquisitions; Cahoon studio tours; and historical installation designed by Mary Ann Agresti  

DALTON

69. Crane Museum of Papermaking website Founded in 1930. Mill venue dates to 1844, built after papermaker Zenas Crane’s retirement

DENNIS 

70. Cape Cod Museum of Art – 39th year website

  • Through October 6, 2019 Milton Teichman sculpture
  • Through October 20, 2019 Ship of State…Paintings by Robert Henry
  • Through December 21, 2019 Interpreting Their World: Varujan Boghosian, Carmen Cicero, Elspeth Halvorsen and Pual Resika

DUXBURY 

71. The Art Complex Museum (Weyerhaeuser collection) website

  • August 18 – November 10, 2019 Steve Novick: Approximation 
  • September 15 -January 12, 2020 Draw the Line
  • September 15 – January 12, 2020 Rotations: Highlights From the Permanent Collection Nocturne including Lowell Birge Harrison (American, 1854–1929), Suzanne Hodes (American, b. 1939), Kawase Hasui (Japanese, 1883–1957), George Inness (American, 1825–1894), Johan Barthold Jongkind (Dutch, 1819–1891) Martin Lewis (American, 1881–1962), and Henri Eugene Le Sidaner (French, 1862-1939)
  • November 17 – February 16, 2020 George Herman Found Paintings

EAST SANDWICH

72. Thornton W. Burgess Society Green Briar Nature Center & Jam Kitchen website *may join Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster to combine and become the Cape Cod Museums of Natural History

ESSEX

73. Essex Shipbuilding Museum website

  • September 8th and 15th, 2019 Clam Basket Making Workshop
  • September 12-13th,2019  The Great Rowing Adventure, the first collaborative rowing program with Lowell’s Boat Shop and the Essex Shipbuilding Museum

74. TOHP Burnham Town Hall & Library, Essex website don’t miss Alexia Parker paper collage

TOHP Burnham town hall and library_20190416_©c ryan.jpg

FITCHBURG

75. Fitchburg Art Museum (FAM) website

  • Through September 1, 2019 84th Regional Exhibition of Art and Craft
  • Through September 1, 2019 Broad Strokes: American Painting of the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries from the FAM collection
  • September 7, 2019 – January 5, 2020 Sage Sohier/David Hilliard: Our Parents, Ourselves more
  • September 21, 2019 – November 10, 2019 Adria Arch: Reframing Eleanor more
  • September 21, 2019 Daniela Rivera: Labored Landscapes (Where Hand Meets Ground) more 
  • September 21, 2019 – January 12, 2020 David Katz: Earth Wares more
  • Ongoing Evoking Eleanor; Discover Ancient Egypt; Thurston sculpture by Douglas Kornfeld

FRAMINGHAM

76. Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham State Univ.  website

  • September 7 – October 13, 2019 Populux Steven Duede | Sean Sullivan on display in the works on paper gallery
  • September 7 – December 30, 2019 Dressed! Exhibiting artists include Catherine Bertulli, Jodi Colella, Merill Comeau, Mia Cross, Nancy Grace Horton, and Marky Kauffmann
  • September 7 – May 2020 Highlights from the Permanent Collection

GLOUCESTER

Continue reading “Massachusetts Museum Guide: upcoming art exhibits at 150 institutions”

Art of Winslow Wilson & Pico Miran: Two Artists – One Life exhibit at the Rockport Art Association & Museum

1951 The Devil's Churn prize painting by Winslow Wilson AAA show_ad mentions studio in Carnegie Hall in NY and Bradford building in Glo
1951 notice indicates AAA show and artist’s studio in Carnegie Hall in NY and Bradford building in Gloucester, Mass.

The Art of Winslow Wilson & Pico Miran: Two Artists – One Life

June 8 – July 8, 2019

Rockport Art Association and Museum

12 Main Street, Rockport, MA

There are about forty Winslow Wilson (1892-1974) paintings in the exhibit and a new catalogue. I look foward to considering his work in person.

Back in February 2017, I wrote about Wilson/Miran in response to a GMG query from the artist’s granddaughter, Claudia Wilson-Howard, and her painstaking research and writing about his mysterious life and forgotten art, and filled in more context. Her excellent work is the genesis for the museum show and rediscovery of the artist. Wilson was a member and teacher at the Rockport Art Association. For local readers, Claudia’s online catalogue about his work  www.winslowwilson.com 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

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

winslow wilson 1954.jpg
page from Gloucester’s annual “Cape Ann Festival for the Arts” 1954. Artist Margaret Fitzhugh Brown selected his work for her group.

City to handle tricky removal of graffiti nuisance tag below founder’s plaque at Tablet Rock #GloucesterMA

Blanched and illuminated area beneath the founder’s plaque was tagged with graffiti which will be ably removed by the city.

graffiti tag below founders plaque Tablet Rock Stage Fort Park_20190505_© c ryan

 

 

 

 

Days earlier it wasn’t. For comparison, here’s how the giant rock appeared May 1, 2019. Had it been on that day…

 

 

1974

Though uncommon, graffiti has been removed from this same spot before. Here’s a 1974 photograph from the Gloucester Daily Times catching a family reading the founder’s plaque. Graffiti was visible and without mention. 

1974 graffiti Tablet Rock _ maybe Charles A. Lowe photo_Gloucester Daily Times

1907

Stage Fort Park Gloucester MA Tablet Rock 1907 John Hammond SR and Natalie looking back.jpg
John Hays Hammond, Sr (1855-1936) holding hands with daughter Natalie (looking back to the camera) after the unveiling. Hammond’s involvement made this tribute happen. Natalie hays Hammond (1904-1985) had the honor of pulling back the cord for the big reveal. 1907 photograph collection Library of Congress

Gloucester’s wrap around picturesque landscape was preserved as a public park in 1898. In 1907, the monumental natural glacial outcropping was decorated with an inset of bronze plaque and stone relief commemorating the first fishermen from England laying claim in 1623. Eric Pape was commissioned for its design.

1901

 

1901 branded Battery K still visible_Tablet Rock Stage Fort Park
branded Battery K still visible 1901 photo

2016

2016 Stage Fort Park graffiti_20161228_©  c ryan.jpg
graffiti 2016 tablet rock  © c ryan

 

 

There are a few circle-A’s tagged around town of late. Also Eon

circle A graffiti tags trend_20190505_© c ryan.jpg
saw this symbol a lot in NYC many, many moons ago 

trending graffiti 2019 april_ c ryan.jpg

RESULTS WEEK 3 #Gloucester Ma FIRSTS| try Mr. Goulart’s local history hunt Throwback Thursday

Gloucester High School_20190318_photo © catherine ryan.jpg

Gloucester, Mass.- Great teacher at Gloucester High School, Shaun Goulart, creates a local history scavenger hunt trivia game for his 9th grade students that takes place weekly for 6 weeks. We’re taking the challenge one week after the students. Good luck!

ANSWERS TO SHAUN GOULART’S LOCAL HISTORY TRIVIA WEEK THREE

How did you do? Week three was all about some famous Gloucester FIRSTS and there were many locations.   Stop here if you prefer to go back to see Week 3 questions only.

1)The location of Gloucester’s first “Four Year High School” 

Principal Albert Bacheler CENTRAL GRAMMAR

Central Grammar first four year high school Principal Albert Bacheler_20180505_photo copyright © catherine ryan.jpg

2)The location of Gloucester’s first Brick Building?

PURITAN HOUSE built in 1810 by Col. James Tappan* is a historic house at 3 Washington Street and 2 Main Street. Also known as: Tappan’s Hotel, Gloucester Hotel (“Tappan’s Folly”), Atlantic House, Mason House, Community House, Capt Bills (1960s-70s), Puritan House & Pub (1977), Blackburn Tavern (1978-00s) *Tappan was taught by Daniel Webster

Excerpt from prior GMG post (read it here) about scenic tours by bike 1885: “And now let’s take our wheel for a short run along our harbor road to East Gloucester, and note the many points of interest on the way. The start is made at the Gloucester Hotel–the headquarters of all visiting wheelmen in the city–at the corner of Main and Washington streets; from thence the journey takes us over the rather uneven surface of Main street, going directly toward the east. In a few minutes we pass the Post Office on the left, and soon leave the noisy business portion of the street behind us, then, e’re we are aware of it, we reach and quickly climb the slight eminence known as Union Hill…” This brick building at Main and Washington now features Tonno Restaurant. Notice the chimneys and same stairs as when it was the Gloucester Hotel. The Blackburn Tavern sign was just marketing; this building has no connection. Blackburn’s Tavern is now Halibut Point restaurant at the other end of Main Street.

 

3)The first schoolmaster and town clerk’s house. (private property do not trespass)

RIGG’S HOUSE” 27 Vine Street (Annisquam) Thomas Riggs House purchased in 1661

oldest house on Cape Ann, Gloucester, MA

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Fredrik D. Bodin.jpg

 

4)A list of the first recorded Gloucester fishermen lost at sea. (Hint: 1716)

Look under the year on cenotaph surrounding Man At Wheel

annual fishermans memorial service_Mayor Romeo Theken_20160827_fisherman at wheel cenotaph gloucester© catherine ryan.jpg
Mayor Romeo Theken, annual Fisherman’s Memorial Service, 2016

5)The location of the first carillon built in America.

Our Lady of Good Voyage – read more http://gloucester.harborwalk.org/story-posts/sp-20/

Subshop with a view- through Destinos window

view from destinos subss 2017

6)The location of Gloucester’s oldest surviving burial ground for the First Parish.

1644! – 103 Centennial Drive – top of Centennial Drive near the train bridge

 

7)The location of Gloucester’s first town hall.

Continue reading “RESULTS WEEK 3 #Gloucester Ma FIRSTS| try Mr. Goulart’s local history hunt Throwback Thursday”

RESULTS WEEK 2 Defending #GloucesterMA | try Mr. Goulart’s local history hunt Throwback Thursday #TBT

Gloucester High School_20190318_photo © catherine ryan.jpg
Gloucester, Mass.- Great teacher at Gloucester High School, Shaun Goulart, creates a local history scavenger hunt trivia game for his 9th grade students that takes place weekly for 6 weeks. We’re taking the challenge one week after the students. Good luck!

ANSWERS TO SHAUN GOULART’S LOCAL HISTORY TRIVIA WEEK TWO

How did you do? Week two delved into scenes of historic battles. I’ve added some background. Stop here if you prefer to go back to see Week 2 questions only from 3/17/19 

WEEK 2: DEFENDING GLOUCESTER Location #1

  • Who was the first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony? ANSWER –  ROGER CONANT
    • Go to the location of the fort named after him and take a picture with a member in it. *Stage Fort Park “Fisherman’s Field”

*“In 1623, 14 English fishermen set up the first European colony on Cape Ann here in what was then Fisherman’s Field and is now Stage Fort Park. These ramparts overlook the harbor, first built during the Revolutionary War, renewed for the War of 1812, the Civil War and the Spanish American War. Alas, those first settlers, sent across the ocean by the Dorchester Company, were unable to live off the sea and these rock-bound fields. They moved a few miles south to what is now Salem in 1626. Then, within a decade, there were enough permanent settlers on Cape Ann to incorporate the town of Gloucester. The first meetinghouse was built on the Town Green in 1642 near what is now the Grant Circle rotary of Route 128. The City set this land aside as a public park in 1898 and its Tablet Rock was dedicated by Henry Cabot Lodge in 1907.  James R. Pringle was designated to write the inscription for the bronze plaque. The execution of the design was by Eric Pape. “The nautical scheme of decorative framework and embellishment was the composite suggestion” of various committees dating as far back as the 1880s.” *see Gloucester HarborWalk Stage Fort Park marker #42  photo on marker ©Sharon Lowe. See also Stage Fort Park then/now photos in prior GMG post

Bronze tribute plaques embedded in Tablet Rock at Stage Fort Park detail the site’s history and were commissioned and unveiled at different times. The monumental and stunning Founders plaque from 1907 on Tablet Rock itself is in fantastic condition. Two DAR plaques were inlaid on the glacial outcroppings past half moon beach on the way to the cannons. The Fisherman’s Field (ca.1930) is so worn it’s nearly indecipherable, though that’s part of its charm. The plaque compels close inspection, lingering and discovery. It’s a fun family activity for anyone who likes a challenge. For those who want help reading the content, I transcribed it back in 2010. Scroll down below the “read more” break in this post to open.

 

  • During which war did it receive this name? ANSWER – FORT CONANT during the Civil War 

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When you zoom in on this 1901 photograph, you can see the big ‘Battery K’-  for the Spanish American War (Camp Hobson) Fort conant during Civil War

 

Location #2

location 2 courtesy photos

 

  • Take a picture at Fort Point with the former location of the Coast Guard Aviation Station behind you (must be visible in the picture) ANSWER – TEN POUND ISLAND
  • What was the fort called on Fort Point? ANSWER – FORT DEFIANCE Fort Point Hill, Fort Lillie (Lily)
  • Name a war it was utilized in. ANSWER – Efforts to fortify as early as 1703 (see Pringle) ATTACK OF CAPTAIN LINDSAY (OR LINZEE) 1775 –population about 5000 –REVOLUTIONARY WAR, WAR OF 1812, CIVIL WAR

“In 1743, what is known as the old fort on Commercial Street, now encroached upon and surrounded by buildings, was completed. On this point, well selected strategically, is a hill which effectually commands the inner harbor. In 1742 and 1742, the General Court appropriated 527 pounds to defray the cost of fortification. Breastworks were thrown up and eight 12-pounders placed in position in the fort. The immediate cause of its erection was the fear of French incursions, but these fears were never realized. An effort had been made as early as 1703 to fortify the place, but the petition of the selectmen to the General Court for an appropriation for the purpose was refused. The petition shows that he harbor, even at that early date was extensively frequent for shelter, and was “very seldom free from vessels.”

“In order to be better prepared for future assaults breastworks were thrown up at Stage Fort, the Cut, Duncan’s Point and Fort Point. This, however was the last attack by sea or land that the people experienced.”

Location #3

  • From Fort Point go to the location of the seven-gun earthwork battery and barracks in ramparts field. Take a picture with the old towers in the background (do not go on private property) ANSWER –  EASTERN POINT FORT by eminent domain, Ramparts Field Road Fort Hill 
  • Name a war it was utilized in  ANSWER –  CIVIL WAR

“Immediate action was taken toward the erection of fortifications. Land at Eastern Point, belonging to Thomas Niles was acquired by the government, and earthwork fort erected and manned…”

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  • Screenshot Google Earth with all three above locations in it and circle them. Submit the image.

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Continue reading “RESULTS WEEK 2 Defending #GloucesterMA | try Mr. Goulart’s local history hunt Throwback Thursday #TBT”

Public Art happiness is … Renowned Williamstown Art Conservation Center caring for historic Gloucester murals!

Thanks to Mayor Romeo-Theken, city officials & departments and staff, residents, volunteers, archives and generous grant awards & donations, — Gloucester’s extant historic mural collection has begun a new chapter and is beginning to receive most fitting care at the illustrious Williamstown Art Conservation Center!

Williamstown Art Conservation teams commence work for Gloucester MA_on its historic mural many WPA era _20180510_© Catherine Ryan.jpg
WACC conservation teams on the ground in Gloucester, MA, 2018

 

Located on the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute campus, The Williamstown Art Conservation Center​ (WACC) is a non-profit institution that was established as the regional conservation center for New England by the US government back in 1977.

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The Williamstown Art Conservation Center is located on the campus of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. (architect Tadao Ando)

 

The summer 2017 issue of Art Conservator, WACC’s indispensable industry magazine, ​focused on the center’s 40th anniversary milestone and Director Tom Branchick. The back page prints the 2017 Center consortium members.

 

williamstown art conservation center member consortium 2017
Gloucester Massachusetts art collection stands with important American collections and just might be the first municipality on this list!~

You can peruse the issue here or follow the link to explore a complete digitized repository of current and past issues. The WACC website URL is: www.williamstownart.org

 

Conservators at the center assessed the condition  and performed necessary triage because of the invaluable support from the city’s Community Preservation Act (CPA). CPA funding and Williamstown Art Conservation Center’s stature are inspiring endorsements for broadcasting the project and compelling additional financial support. As money is raised, every mural will have its necessary care regimen completed. Donations in support of the mural care can be sent c/o the Auditor’s Office, City of Gloucester, 9 Dale Avenue, Gloucester, MA (note mural restoration). All murals will be displayed in Gloucester as soon as their care is completed.

Sneak peek then and now:

The former Eastern Avenue School (85 Eastern Avenue) was the site for the monumental mural, Schooldays, by Frederick L. Stoddard, from 1936.  This multi-panel triptych was painted 8 feet high and nearly 60 feet long despite an array of unusual architectural challenges. My hunch for its original location on the main floor was confirmed thanks to Barbara Tarr. I’m looking for interior photos of the school that show the mural installed. Over time the school walls were resurfaced, doors blocked, and an elevator installed. Based on my expertise, I recognized that a stand alone piece was misattributed and must have been dispersed, not as bad as the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz after the flying monkeys descend-… still it was dire and will be amazing to have it whole once again! Special thanks go to Gloucester’s Department of Public Works.

catherine ryan correct attribution and rediscovery for major and amazing frederick l stoddard gloucester ma 1936 mural © catherine ryan

 

 

 

 

FREE youth and family program at Cape Ann Museum Saturday morning!

 

Once Upon a Contest Selections from Cape Ann Reads opening at Cape Ann Museum_January 5 2019 Gloucester MA (2).jpg

 

 

 

Stop by Cape Ann Museum Saturday morning January 12th from 10:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m for a fun reception!  As part of CAM Kids Second Saturday series, explore the inventive worlds of children’s books in the special exhibitions on view this winter: The Little House: Her Story and Once Upon a Contest: Selections from Cape Ann Reads! Meet some of the writers and artists featured in the exhibit, enjoy light refreshments, draw & color, explore the gallery with a “Seek & Find” and more!

 

 

 

Also look for Story Time in the Gallery each Wednesday through March!

cape ann reads-print

walking to a world of new books at cape ann museum_once upon a contest_20181222_©catherine ryan

Ellen F. Kenny from Mass Center for the Book, Mayor Romeo-Theken, & Justine Vitale share photos from Once Upon a Contest at Cape Ann Museum

Stop by and meet some of the participants featured in Once Upon a Contest: Selections from Cape Ann Reads at a special Cape Ann Museum CAM KIDS second Saturdays family activity on January 12, 2019, from 10AM-12PM. Later that same day, artists Mary Rhinelander and Julia Garrison are offering a printmaking linocut demo related to the Folly Cove designers and the major Virginia Lee Burton The Little House Her Story exhibition!

Thanks to the four public libraries of Cape Ann and Cape Ann Museum, Once Upon a Contest: Selections from Cape Ann Reads is a testament to the imagination and immense artistic talent of artists and authors. Below are photographs from the first reception for the exhibit at Cape Ann Museum January 5, 2019.

Courtesy photos from Ellen F. Kenny, Mass Center for the Book. Thank you for capturing the spirit of the reception at Cape Ann Museum! Mass Center for the Book Facebook [Folks featured in the big group shot from L-R: Anna Vojtech (Artist-Author), Claire Wyzenbeek (Artist-Author), Jean Woodbury (Author), Christina Ean Spangler (Artist), Maura Wadlinger (Author), Juni VanDyke (Artist), John Plunkett, Martha Geraghty ( Author), Barbara McLaughlin (Artist-Author)]

 

The Cape Ann Museum reception was beautiful. Everybody from the museum is so welcoming. The courtesy photos below document the start of the reception from Mayor Romeo Theken, Justine Vitale, and others. See Kim Smith’s photos from later in the afternoon and from another visit here! We’re so grateful to have a record of this joyous time. The show continues at Cape Ann Museum through February 24 before traveling throughout Cape Ann in 2019.

Installation view Once Upon a Contest at Cape Ann Museum December 2018.jpg