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The Tides of Provincetown: Pivotal Years in America's Oldest Continuous Art Colony (1899-2011)

May 19 - August 26, 2012


The Tides of Provincetown: Pivotal Years in America's Oldest Continuous Art Colony (1899-2011), the most comprehensive survey of America's oldest art colony is on display at the Cape Cod Museum of Art May 19 through August 26, 2012. Organized by the New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT, this significant collection includes the work of Provincetown's most celebrated and influential artists. It is the largest and most comprehensive examination of the art colony to date; the last Provincetown survey (exhibited over 40 years ago) ended with artwork from the 1970s.

The Tides of Provincetown focuses on Provincetown's legacy as an art colony which the Boston Globe in 1916 described as the "Biggest Art Colony in the World". The exhibition includes over 100 artists and as many artworks, from Charles W. Hawthorne, founder of the Cape Cod School of Art in 1899 -- and, thereby, the colony itself -- to Joel Meyerowitz in the present day.

Divided into eight sections, the exhibition highlights key years and events in the art colony as well as Provincetown's importance in American art history.

Artists in the exhibition were selected based on their contribution to the Provincetown art colony as well as their influence beyond Cape Cod. With its focus on the key moments in Provincetown's history, The Tides of Provincetown highlights artists who played a crucial role in the colony and were the important figures and artistic forces. Their presence in Provincetown as well as their influence on other artists through schools, mentorship, and/or the pure aesthetic power of their artwork is examined.

While many of the artists worked or lived in Provincetown for years -- such as Milton Avery, Charles W. Hawthorne, Henry Hensche, Hans Hofmann, Blanche Lazzell, Robert Motherwell, and E. Ambrose Webster -- others "passed through" the art colony. Even if they were only at the tip of Cape Cod for a short period of time, the exhibition shows that many of the great artists of the 20th century -- including Stuart Davis, Willem de Kooning, Charles Demuth, Red Grooms, Edward Hopper, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Andy Warhol -- were inspired by Provincetown.


Object labels from the exhibition

Please note that each object label:

- Describes the artist's connection to Provincetown

- Links the artist to a pivotal time in the history of Provincetown

- Describes the significance of the object

For more information on the various sections and artists - as well as a full checklist - please consult the exhibition catalogue.

Milton Avery (1885-1965)
March on the Beach, 1947
Oil on canvas
New Britain Museum of American Art
Gift of Evangeline Zalstem-Zalessky (1959.09)
During the 1950s and 1960s, the world experienced a dramatic shift of artistic innovation which enveloped the art colony in Provincetown and spread throughout the country. Abstraction and Modernism became much debated topics among artists, critics, and the general public. Milton Avery is recognized as the American "poet" whose images inspired the appreciation of figural abstraction.
Avery was born in Altmar, New York, but was educated and spent his adolescent years in Hartford, Connecticut. The artist moved his family to Provincetown in 1958 and became close friends with gallery owner Tirca Karlis Cohen. Tirca opened the Tirca Karlis Gallery in June 1958 with her husband and became a staunch advocate of abstraction. Featuring abstract artists for almost twenty years, Tirca Karlis Gallery raised Avery's art to a new level of admiration and familiarity.
In March on the Beach Avery paints his daughter within a simplified Cape beach scene. The details of the landscape have been erased as Avery chose only the figure and specific hues to delineate the composition. Avery writes, "I am not seeking pure abstraction, rather, the purity and essence of the idea expressed in its simplest form." This concept intrigued viewers when Avery's work was showcased in Provincetown. As the art colony boasted an influx of artists, Tirca Karlis Gallery continued to highlight the innovation and impact of Avery's work before as well as after his death.
Milton Avery (1885-1965)
Night Nude, 1953
Woodblock print-artist's proof
Julie Heller Gallery
Developing into a well-known artist in and outside of Provincetown, Milton Avery pursued several different media throughout his career. Along with painting and etching, Avery also created woodblock prints, showcasing his unique style.
The woodblock print Night Nude depicts a reclining figure under a simplified night sky. Avery solely used lines to separate the sky from the land and the stargazer. Only the colors blue and black have been used with a silent, austere effect. When creating his woodcuts, Avery never used a press but rather the back of a spoon to prepare for the final image. Avery could then create several prints from the same woodblock.
The artist's love for different types of media was shared by the Tirca Karlis Gallery. From the 1950s-70s, groups of artists and tourists flocked to the art colony to take part in the culturally diverse environment. Tirca was influential in providing exhibition space for these new artists, as well as supplying a gallery specifically catering towards "young collectors." The Tirca Karlis Gallery encouraged those unable to afford expensive paintings to begin collecting works in other media, such as prints. These "original graphics" were signed by the artist, created in editions, and placed beside pieces more widely accepted as "fine art." As a result, the work of significant twentieth-century artists, such as Avery, became accessible to a greater number of people who may not have otherwise gained an appreciation for the abstract figural approach.
Will Barnet (b. 1911)
Youth, 1970
Oil on board
New Britain Museum of American Art
Charles F. Smith Fund (1980.51)
The earliest influence on printmaker and painter Will Barnet was the work of Honoré Daumier (1808-1879), whose lithographs were studied by the ten-year-old-Barnet. From 1931-1934, Barnet attended the New York Art Students League and traveled to Provincetown as did many other students looking to gain new perspectives. After starting what continues to be a prolific career, Barnet returned to the art colony in the 1950s-60s to vacation with his family. Along with Peter Busa (1914-1985), Barnet was a key figure in the Indian Space Movement -- an informal group of New York artists sharing a common attraction to Native American form -- which was championed by the Tirca Karlis Gallery.
Barnet is considered both an artist and educator, teaching at the Art Students League from 1945-1980. During the mid-twentieth century, Barnet pursued abstraction but later embraced figural representation as exemplified by Youth. The painting focuses on key figures who present a narrative, creating a set stage to be interpreted by the viewer. Barnet often incorporated cats in his images, also seen in Youth. While his influence on abstract art during the mid-twentieth century was important, it is his return to the human figure and emotion that solidifies his mastery of visually capturing personal moments for posterity.
Susan Baker (b. 1946)
The great dandy Charles Demuth rode the local bus endlessly, waving his handkerchief at his bemused cronies, 1998
The History of Provincetown (1999)
Acrylic on paper
New Britain Museum of American Art
Museum purchase with funds
donated by Stephen Borkowski
in honor of Vivian Bullaudy (2010.105)
After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in painting, Susan Baker went to Provincetown in 1969 as a Visual Arts Fellow during the inaugural year of the Fine Arts Work Center's art and writing fellowship program. She has lived on the Outer Cape ever since.
The History of Provincetown is a comical illustrated account of the colony. Beginning with the floating of homes across the bay in the mid-1800s and ending with the completion of its publication, Baker's book demonstrates that life in Provincetown has provided an everlasting series of anecdotes to be told and retold. These episodes include Charles Demuth (1883-1935) riding the local bus, Eugene O'Neill meeting a seal while swimming, and Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) hurling an easel at Hans Hofmann (1880-1966). Through her clever narration and bold illustrations, Baker captures the distinct spirit of the town and its all-embracing nature. She even gives a nod to the rising tourism industry by dedicating her book "to those who came, couldn't park, and left."
Although she is deeply involved with the local art scene and its heritage, Baker consciously avoids the influence of other artists' styles. Clearly inspired by Provincetown's landscape and history, she simply prefers not to subscribe to any of its schools in order to maintain her signature style of a bold palette, strong gestures, and sense of narrative. Running beneath the surface of Baker's art are themes of pain, wisdom, and reflection that pertain both to herself as an artist and to Provincetown as a developing colony.

William Baziotes (1912-1963)
Dusk, 1954
Oil on canvas
New Britain Museum of American Art
A. W. Stanley Fund and Charles F. Smith Fund (1984.31)
William Baziotes was born in Pittsburgh and came to New York City at the age of twenty-one to begin his art studies at the National Academy of Design. During the Great Depression, Baziotes was employed by the Works Progress Administration, beginning as an art teacher in 1936. It was not until the 1940s, however, that Baziotes' style matured into a distinct visualization of his creativity.
Surrounded by the vibrant New York art scene as a member of "The Irascibles," Baziotes pursued images of the subconscious and became heavily influenced by the Surrealists, such as Roberto Matta (1911-2002). His pursuit was to define the primeval shapes that floated in his mind and inspired his paintings. He claimed, "It is the mysterious that I love in painting. I want my pictures to take effect slowly, to obsess and to haunt." In Dusk, an organic form reminiscent of a sea creature fills the length of the canvas. The lack of linear definition evokes a sense of mystery, the setting is obscured, and the movement is dreamlike in quality. Baziotes' interest in the transitory nature of time is also evident in this piece, as the title points to a moment when the day fades into darkness, concealing what is visible.
Like many of his contemporaries, Baziotes spent summers in Provincetown and contributed to the ongoing exhibitions at the Tirca Karlis Gallery. Baziotes was also close friends with Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) and through the gallery's display of his work, Baziotes' reputation as an innovative artist became recognized by those who frequented the Gallery.
Gerrit Beneker (1882-1934)
Noon Hour, 1915
Oil on canvas
Private Collection
Born in Michigan, Gerrit Beneker was an illustrator in New York City until 1912, when he became one of several eager young artists to venture to Provincetown to study with Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930). For Beneker and many of his peers, the summer training developed into years of year-round lessons.
Noon Hour clearly shows the strong influence Hawthorne had on Beneker: the choice of a common working class man (John Worth) as the subject, combined with the still-life element of lunch and the dark, brooding color palette for the background. Beneker continued to employ many of Hawthorne's teachings when he painted a portrait series of Ohio workers at various steel, welding, and electric companies. It was Beneker's interest in depicting the working class in factory environments that shaped subsequent stages of his career.
Beneker maintained a strong connection to the Provincetown colony throughout his life, creating numerous paintings of the town and its inhabitants. He was also one of the artists who founded the Provincetown Art Association and stood at the center of the flourishing art scene in 1915 -- the year Noon Hour was painted.

Varujan Boghosian (b. 1926)
King's Crown, 1949-50
New Britain Museum of American Art
Harriet Russell Stanley Fund (1951.17)
Untitled, 1973
New Britain Museum of American Art
Gift of Edward Giobbi (2001.107)
Varujan Boghosian is best known for his collages, constructions, and watercolors. He was born to Armenian immigrants in New Britain, Connecticut, where his father worked at The Stanley Works. After serving in the US Navy during World War II, Boghosian entered the Vesper George School of Art in Boston, where he met Henry Hensche (1901-1993). Hensche visited the school annually to give painting demonstrations and teach lessons on color, which drew a strong following. In 1948, Boghosian traveled to Provincetown to study at Hensche's Cape School of Art, and his connection to the colony was cemented when he became one of the original members of Long Point Gallery.
King's Crown is a dark, yet whimsical watercolor that Boghosian completed in 1950 when he was studying under Hensche. Dream-like and fantastical, King's Crown depicts a dilapidated manor surrounded by a strange landscape -- a mysterious vision that invites the viewer to examine the notions of home and memory. The New Britain Museum purchased King's Crown in 1951, becoming the first museum to include Boghosian's work in its permanent collection.
Untitled is an example of Boghosian's constructions, which he assembles from everyday objects found in antique shops, yard sales, and flea markets. Boghosian's appreciation for old, weathered objects relates to his understanding of time and history -- "Nothing is really thrown away. Memory is never thrown away."

Max Bohm (1868-1923)
Mother and Children, n.d.
Oil on canvas
Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dennis, Massachusetts
Gift of Anne Packard (2010.23.1)
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Impressionist Max Bohm traveled to Europe at the age of nineteen and would not take up a permanent residence in America again until 1916, when he returned with his wife Zella and three children. In Paris, Bohm enrolled at the Académie Julian and was exhibiting his work at the Paris Salon within a year. The celebrated artist began his teaching career also in Europe, attracting students from all over the globe to the small village of Etaples, France. Upon his return to America, Bohm lived between Bronxville, New York, and Provincetown, where he was a vital part of the thriving art colony.
Bohm's arrival in Provincetown coincided with a major influx of artists-a direct result of the ongoing war in Europe, which prevented many from traveling abroad. Bohm's Impressionist sensibility is evident in his idealized painting, Mother and Children, which depicts a woman cradling an infant, surrounded by additional children. The pastoral setting is treated loosely as the group takes prominence in their display of affection.
Bohm was often drawn to the subject of motherhood and children and used his own family members as models in his work, including possibly this painting. An unfinished work, Mother and Children was started in France before the onset of World War I and is representative of the European Impressionist techniques Bohm brought with him to Provincetown. Bohm's work continues to inspire younger generations of Provincetown artists, including his granddaughter, Anne Packard (b. 1933).
Paul Bowen (b. 1951)
Untitled (Redwood), 2005
Collection of the Artist
Originally from Colwyn Bay, Wales, Paul Bowen became a year-round resident of Provincetown in 1977, when he was accepted to a two-year fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center. For Bowen, the Center was a catalyst for cultural and artistic transition: the influence of his Welsh background receded from his practice as he began to draw new inspiration from the local landscape and architecture. It was also through the Center that Bowen met Myron Stout (1908-1987) and Jack Tworkov (1900-1982), whose work made a profound and lasting impression on him. Bowen became a member of Long Point Gallery in the 1990s and went on to become one of the founders of artSTRAND -- a contemporary cooperative gallery -- in 2005.
While the form of Bowen's sculptures echoes the abstract, geometrical structure of Constructivism and Cubism, his work also maintains a fundamental connection to the physical world. Like most of his assemblages, Untitled (Redwood) is based almost entirely around found objects -- pieces of salvaged, wooden beer vats held together by butterfly joints. Although Untitled (Redwood) contains no moving parts, it evokes the sense of movement nonetheless, as it is tilted at a sharp angle and seems to be precariously balanced. A product of the reappropriation of something discarded, the sculpture is also emblematic of the constant flow of time and the process of decomposition and subsequent regeneration.

George Elmer Browne (1871-1946)
Nickerson Street, 1902
Oil on canvas
Collection of Helen and Napi Van Dereck
Born and raised in Boston, George Elmer Browne studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, as well as abroad in Paris at the Académie Julian. This international academic training sparked his interest in travel. Throughout his life, Brown explored and painted in various countries around the world, including in Canada, Italy, and Spain.
Browne moved to New York in the 1890s and summered in Provincetown annually. A love of the unique landscape and nature of the Cape comes through in his depictions of Provincetown. Nickerson Street, for example, conveys Provincetown's legendary light as well as the quaint beauty of the colony. Browne's lively brushwork unifies the elements of the composition and delineates form. "Let all your drawing come from the end of your brush," he would tell his students.
Browne taught at the Grand Central School of Art in Europe, and opened his own school in Provincetown, The West End School of Art, in 1916. It was one of five acclaimed schools at the time, together receiving thousands of students from across the nation and globe. Brown lived most of his later life in Provincetown, painting the colony and its landscape.
Fritz Bultman (1919-1985)
Kiting, 1977
Collage of painted papers and gouache
Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Gift of Renate Posnold (2006.1825)
Fritz Bultman was one of the leading Abstract Expressionists in the United States who studied in Provincetown. Bultman met Miz Hofmann, wife of teacher and artist Hans Hofmann (1880-1966), with whom he was able to stay during his short sojourn in Germany. This led to his reconnection with Hans Hofmann in 1937 upon his return to the United States.
From 1938-1942, Bultman studied directly under Hofmann in his Provincetown school. In 1964-1965 Bultman was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, allowing him to work in Paris. He returned to making large collages using pre-painted paper cut or torn and assembled into shapes reminiscent of his figurative drawings and containing more abstract symbolism.
Within Kiting, the overall form reads as though the object may be a functioning kite, however, the title does not elicit such a reading. Rather, it implies the act of "kiting," the process of hoisting an object through the air, relying on gusts of wind. The paper seems to be torn from a spiral-bound notebook, giving it an even more ephemeral feel -- light, delicate, and disposable -- akin to a kite in the air.
Bultman was a key figure in Provincetown's artistic history. He painted at the Days Lumberyard Studios and was involved in the creation of Forum '49 with Hofmann and others. Additionally, Bultman became a founding member of the Fine Arts Work Center in 1968.

Peter Busa (1914-1985)
Original Sin II, 1946
Oil on canvas
Private Collection
Courtesy ACME Fine Art and Design
Peter Busa studied at the Art Students League under Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) whose class also included Busa's friend Jackson Pollock (1912-1956). There, Busa befriended Arshile Gorky (1904-1948) and Stuart Davis (1892-1964), both of whom had begun using biomorphic shapes and geometric patterns in response to Pablo Picasso's (1881-1973) influence on Cubism as well as their own close study of non-Western art.
In the early 1940s, Busa became one of the first American artists to experiment with automatic drawing (the uninhibited and spontaneous gesture of the artist's hand) as a means of exploiting the creative potential of the unconscious. This approach would influence his entire oeuvre; most notable are his images of transformation, such as Original Sin II.
Busa moved to Provincetown in 1952, and in 1957 officially adopted the identity of an Abstract Expressionist under the guidance of Hans Hofmann (1880-1966). As a result of his study, Busa began to approach his work as "structure and as movement and color," clearly drawing from Hofmann's tendency to combine the Cubist attention to volume and Fauvist emphasis on color. Busa insisted that his art was "completely removed from the orbit of Western culture and more emphasized folk art, children's art, [and] art of the primitive." As such, Original Sin II reflects the artist's constant dialogue between geometric and expressionistic abstraction.
Giorgio Cavallon (1904-1989)
Untitled, 1955
Oil on canvas
New Britain Museum of American Art
Friends Purchase Fund (1990.15)
Giorgio Cavallon, an important early figure of American Modernism, lived and worked in two sun-soaked, color-filled regions -- Provincetown and his birthplace, Sorio, near Vicenza, Italy. Both locations boast famous colorists, who drew inspiration from the radiance of the sun and surroundings. Cavallon placed an emphasis on light, using his signature white pigment to create highlights. Yet the abstraction that accompanies his veils of white was not inherent to Cavallon. It was only after studying with Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) in 1934 that he began to paint abstractly, developing into one of the founders of the American Abstract Artists in 1936, and one of the earliest artists to relinquish realism, declaring: "abstract is real."
In the early 1950s, Cavallon became confident in his abstractions, putting full trust in his inner vision and memory. His own hand-made white pigment became a key feature in his work post-1954. As seen in Untitled, Cavallon began by borrowing the skeletal structure of the founder of Neo-Plasticism, Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), outlining a grid of charcoal onto the canvas. Relying on Hofmann's "push-pull" theory, he then painted the grid with colors of varying strengths, onto which he would later paint thick opaque and thin translucent strokes of white to "cancel things out." As his career progressed, Cavallon fused rigid geometry with warm, soft, sloppy, and uniquely expressive brushstrokes, citing Hofmann's insistence upon extracting relationships of form and color.
Ada Gilmore Chaffee (1893-1955)
Figures and Dog (The Gossips), ca. 1915
Color woodblock (white-line) print on paper
Collection of Helen and Napi Van Dereck
Ada Gilmore Chaffee was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but moved to Ireland to live with her aunt following the death of her parents. She returned to the United States to attend the School of Art at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1903-1907. Like many Americans, Chaffee traveled to Europe in 1912, only to return home at the outset of World War I. She moved to Provincetown in 1913, where she met her husband Oliver Newberry Chaffee (1881-1944). While in Provincetown, Ada was enthralled by the exuberance of the colony, and her interest led to her involvement in the birth and development of the white-line woodblock print. The Provincetown Printers was a group of artists, including B.J.O. Nordfelt (1878-1955), who sought to express American Modernism by experimenting with the ancient medium of woodblock print. As a member, Ada created works that elevated the status of printmaking in the early twentieth century.
Ada's prints, such as Figures and Dog (The Gossips), depict her distinctive style that combined the softness of Impressionism with the progressive nature of Modernism. Here, she uses the architecture of Provincetown's wharves and cottages to add a colorful Cubist feeling to the genre scene of two women gossiping on the beach. Her prints were consistently charming and infused with a quiet, pensive quality, yet the bold choice of color and subtle use of abstraction point to her Modernist tendencies.
Oliver Newberry Chaffee (1881-1944)
Portrait of Self, 1935-37
Oil on canvas
Private Collection
An abstract printmaker and painter, Oliver Chaffee enrolled first in the New York School of Art to study with William Merritt Chase (1849-1916); then, in the summer of 1904, he went to Provincetown to study with Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930) at the Cape Cod School of Art. Hawthorne's teaching methods emphasized personal expression, and the time spent painting outdoors sharpened Chaffee's understanding of color and light, and heightened his depictions of natural sensations. Chaffee's subsequent artwork earned him a spot in the famous 1913 Armory Show.
Chaffee's life in Provincetown exposed him to the various currents of American Modernism. Chaffee was influenced by Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, and Expressionism and created semi-abstract works such as Portrait of Self that depict dynamic, vibrant and personal interpretations of his surrounding environment or, in this case, himself. Portrait of Self is a rare depiction of how the artist optically sees the world versus how it appears on his canvases. Works such Portrait were completed towards the end of his career, and were characterized by a stronger sense of personal expression and imagination as Chaffee was becoming less concerned with popular approval and mainstream artistic practices.
Chaffee's complex vision and career were undoubtedly nurtured by the artistic community of Provincetown, as was that of his wife, fellow artist Ada Gilmore Chaffee (1893-1955).

Ciro Cozzi (b. 1921)
Untitled (Provincetown Draggers), 1951
Oil on Masonite
Collection of the Town of Provincetown
Courtesy of the Provincetown Art Commission
Gift of Josephine and Salvatore Del Deo
The formation of Ciro Cozzi's artistic style was directly influenced by both Henry Hensche (1901-1992) and Hans Hofmann (1880-1966). Cozzi moved to Provincetown as a permanent resident in 1951 after a summer spent taking classes with Hensche in 1949. Along with fellow artist Salvatore Del Deo (b. 1928), Cozzi owned and operated the Provincetown restaurant, "Ciro & Sal's," a lucrative Italian establishment which serviced locals and tourists alike in the art colony for over fifty years.
Cozzi's Untitled (Provincetown Draggers) depicts Provincetown fishing vessels. Known as "draggers" because of their unique function, these ships were equipped with nets and other towing capabilities. As fish were trapped in the nets they could then be stored in the hold of the dragger, oftentimes kept alive until the ship docked. The painting is defined by geometric shapes enlivened with a bold use of color. Sharp angles delineate the forms of the draggers as they dock in the harbor. Cozzi expertly creates depth through shading and illumination, and while he characterized his work as Abstract Expressionist, the Bronx-born artist subtly incorporates an Impressionist style into his creations.
Cozzi continued to be a vocal Provincetown artist and businessman throughout the mid to late twentieth century. Using his restaurant as a local gallery, artists from the area would congregate to discuss art theory while enjoying Italian cuisine. Although Cozzi's artistic pursuits waned in his later years, his effect on the Provincetown art colony remains celebrated.

Nassos Daphnis (1914-2010)
S-6-74, 1974
Epoxy enamel on masonite
Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Gift of John and Jean Grossman (1984.708)
Resisting stylistic classification, Nassos Daphnis's work continually evolved throughout his lifetime. Born in Greece, Daphnis traveled to America at the age of sixteen and worked in his uncle's flower shop in New York. By drawing the flowers that surrounded him, Daphnis explored realism and surrealism, until he became intrigued with abstraction and developed his unique color plane theory, believing that color's existence in space was orderly and methodical. Daphnis claimed, "I got more and more interested in color and form as form, and not being involved with any emotional qualities of the individual . . . and nothing else." This visualization of geometric stability and tension through primary colors alone would become a prevalent characteristic of his work.
It was during the formative years of Daphnis's transition to a "geometric manner" that the artist first came to the Provincetown art colony in 1953. Daphnis exhibited at the Tirca Karlis Gallery, as well as Gallery 256, and became a noted artist frequenting the coast. In S-6-74, Daphnis has employed his color plane theory, compositionally arranging the same image in a rotating fashion. Daphnis used straight lines for his geometric pattern and focused on the visual tensions of the picture plane.
Stuart Davis (1894-1964)
Analogical Emblem Landscape, 1933
Oil on composition board
New Britain Museum of American Art
Olga H. Knoepke Fund and Members Purchase Fund (1996.16)
Stuart Davis studied at the Henri School of Art in New York in 1909 and was one of the youngest artists to exhibit at the pivotal 1913 Armory Show. However, his participation in the exhibit was of less importance to him than was his exposure to European Post-Impressionists such as Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) and Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). After experimenting with these artists' innovations in form and color, Davis developed a Modernist vocabulary and became a major exponent of Cubism.
Davis began spending his summers in Provincetown in 1913 and painted the docks of the harbor and local architecture in the Cubist style. One of the earliest Modernists to arrive in the colony, Stuart found the source for his paintings in observed reality, and then infused what he saw with bold, brash, and rich colorful expression. Landscapes such as Analogical Emblem Landscape represent his adherence to Synthetic Cubism (the second phase of the movement, which incorporated new textures, surfaces, and collage elements) in his depiction of natural forms, particularly those suggesting the characteristic environment of American life. He dubbed his visual language a "coherent, objective color-space continuum" and rearranged the visual elements in flat, poster-like patterns with playful details and sharply contrasting colors. The zest and dynamism of Davis's work embodies a unique and distinctive American style that was undoubtedly nurtured by the progressive artistic environment of Provincetown.

Nanno de Groot (1913-1963)
Girl in Chair, 1955
Oil on canvas
Private Collection
In 1946 Nanno de Groot moved from Balkbrug, Holland to the United States to work as a cartoonist. The following year, the self-taught de Groot made his debut in the New York art scene, where he befriended the now famous artists of the New York School of Abstract Expressionists. In 1949, the artist started vacationing in Provincetown for the summer -- a time that his wife would call his most productive, as "there was a certain rhythm [in Provincetown], a system of events each year that led to an enormous production of work in two or three months."
In the 1950s, de Groot's work moved away from his previous "Linear Figure" series composed of varied evocative strokes of black paint, to his "Women in Chairs" series. Girl in Chair characteristically features a faceless figure that related to the women around him, including his later wife and fellow artist, Pat de Groot (b. 1930). Deeply involved in Eastern thought and meditation, the artist relied on these faceless figures to directly capture his expressions.
Similar to the practices of other Abstract Expressionists, de Groot would squeeze strands of paint onto the canvas and then work the thick layers with a brush. As seen in Girl in Chair, his insistance upon anonymity emphasizes the expressiveness of the figures without creating portrait studies. In this way, de Groot maintained a connection with nature through abstraction:"In moments of clarity of thought I can sustain the idea that everything on earth is nature, including that which springs forth from a man's mind, and hand."
Romolo Del Deo (b. 1959)
The Beauty of Time, 2010
Bronze (unique)
The Kathryn and Thomas R. Cox III Collection
Romolo Del Deo comes from a distinguished lineage of key figures in Provincetown. The son of Salvatore Del Deo (b. 1928) -- a celebrated painter and founder of the Fine Arts Work Center - and Josephine C. Del Deo, a renowned art historian and local activist -- Romolo was born into a household at the heart of the art colony.
Since the age of twelve Romolo took to sculpture, which he identifies as the "voice" that separates his work from that of his father. By tracing his own interests back through Provincetown's history, Romolo was led to European traditions. Thus he journeyed to Renaissance marble quarries in Italy and studied classical techniques. He worked as a restorer of fresco paintings throughout Tuscany and gained unlimited access to the endless vaults of ancient artifacts at the Archaeological Museum of Florence. However, he felt that "all the classical and Renaissance exposure needed to be balanced," so he decided to study sculpture at Harvard with future Provincetown artist Dimitri Hadzi (1921-2006), which informed his "love of antiquity with the language of contemporary art."
Romolo maintains that his artwork exists on two levels: one of pure aesthetic balance and beauty, and another of mysterious and evocative narrative. His bronzes seem to be shards from an ancient culture yet are hauntingly contemporary. They clearly refer to his archaeological studies, but none portrays a recognizable figure or myth. Playing with the acculturated baggage of classical icons, Romolo's work mirrors the art world's fractured sources of inspiration and individuality. Considering life as bittersweet, he transforms perfect forms into fragments that express the contrasting forces of perpetual beauty and passing time. The Beauty of Time, both in title and style, embodies this theme.
Salvatore Del Deo (b. 1928)
Manuel, Doryman, 1968
Oil on canvas
Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Gift of the artist (1993.1232)
Originally from Providence, Rhode Island, Salvatore Del Deo has had a strong presence in Provincetown since the late 1940s. He came to the colony from the Vesper George School of Art in Boston -- as Varujan Boghosian (b. 1926) and Edward Giobbi (b. 1926) had also done -- to study under Henry Hensche (1901-1992), whose pedagogy centered around Impressionism. Del Deo married the poet, art historian, and activist Josephine Couch and became a permanent resident of the art colony in 1954. Together, he and his wife went on to found the Fine Arts Work Center alongside Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) and other prominent artists. Salvatore Del Deo has been a celebrated leader at a number of other institutions, including the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. His son Romolo Del Deo (b. 1959) is a talented sculptor and belongs to the newest generation of Provincetown artists.
Salvatore Del Deo's paintings attest to the artist's familiarity with the local color of Provincetown and his commitment to its community. He takes pleasure in depicting a diversity of subjects from boats, wharves, and seascapes to still lifes and figures. Manuel, Doryman pays homage to fishermen who, historically, were central to sustaining the local economy.
Robert De Niro Sr. (1922-1993)
Male Cubist Figure, Seated, ca. 1941
Charcoal on paper
Estate of Robert De Niro Sr. & DC Moore Gallery, New York
As a child prodigy, Robert De Niro Sr. began creating art in his hometown of Syracuse, New York, at the age of five. In 1939, De Niro was awarded a scholarship to study at the avant-garde Black Mountain College in North Carolina, under the former Bauhaus color theorist, Josef Albers (1888-1976). De Niro moved to Provincetown in 1941, abandoning Albers' rigid color theories in favor of Hans Hofmann's (1880-1966) "push-pull" compositional dynamics.
As an artist who worked in the Days Lumberyard Studios (established by Frank Days in 1914), De Niro came into contact with fellow Hofmann students Fritz Bultman (1919-1985), George McNeil (1909-1995), and Myron Stout (1908-1987), among others upon his arrival in Provincetown. De Niro studied with Hofmann in the late 1930s and early 1940s, learning about the Old Masters, to whom both he and Hofmann felt a deep sense of kinship. De Niro soon developed into a masterful colorist like Matisse, as did many students under Hofmann. Similarly, De Niro began to use traditional subjects such as nudes, still lifes, and portraits as inspirations for his abstractions. Male Cubist Figure, Seated -- a drawing done in a Hofmann class -- shows De Niro's exploration of volume and structure. The interlocking planes in two dimensions evoke harmony and bespeak reality as the piece retains the balance of and semblance to the human figure.

Edwin W. Dickinson (1891-1978)
Provincetown Harbor, Railroad Wharf in the Rain, 1928
Oil on canvas
Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Gift of Daniel W. Dietrich II Trust, in honor of Helen Dickinson Baldwin (2007.1857)
The influence of Edwin W. Dickinson's work on Provincetown cannot be overemphasized. Born in Seneca Falls, New York, Dickinson studied under William Merritt Chase (1849-1916) before he spent three summers in Provincetown under the tutelage of Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930). In the fall of 1913, Dickinson settled in Provincetown as a year-round resident until 1937 when he moved a small distance to Wellfleet. Despite short periods of time away from the art colony, Dickinson remained an astute student of Hawthorne.
Dickinson was an inexhaustible artist, focusing his work on the landscape, buildings, and people of Provincetown. Although classified as a portraitist, he did not confine himself to one subject or style and experimented with both abstract and representational forms. In Provincetown Harbor, Railroad Wharf in the Rain, the gray tones of a wet day on the harbor are portrayed through loose brushstrokes and the use of minimal forms delineating the structures and vessels on the water. Having lost his mother and brother early in his life, Dickinson suffered bouts of depression which lent a melancholy quality to his art as evidenced in this painting.
The Provincetown environment for artists during the 1950s was one of understanding, and the influence of Dickinson and others bridged the gap between abstraction and representational artwork. Both styles were seen as viable modes of expression, and Dickinson advocated for a union of the groups -- those considered "modernist" and "traditionalist."
John Dowd (b. 1960)
Backstreet, Provincetown, 2011
Oil on canvas
New Britain Museum of American Art
Gift of Stephen Borkowski in honor of John and Julie Dowd (2011.20)
In the 1980s, John Dowd, along with other Provincetown artists, rented inexpensive studios from the Fine Arts Work Center. Continuing in the tradition of artists working on that very site, when it was Days Lumberyard, they worked in former coal-storage bins. The environment created a nurturing and energetic community, and as a result Dowd's career took off. He is continually "inspired by the town's unique light as well as its range of architecture, which holds an emotional response."
His artwork, like Provincetown itself, represents a synthesis of artistic styles. Dowd evokes the tonality of the Luminists, sense of place of the American Realists, and mood of the German Romantics. He is also referred to as a contemporary Edward Hopper (1882-1967), thanks to his keen sense of light and isolation.
One of the reasons Dowd has remained in Provincetown is the town's dedication to the arts. "It is nice to feel embraced by a community that celebrates artists and being an artist," he says. Dowd captures the ambient nature of Provincetown in his contemplative works, such as Backstreet, Provincetown. This painting reveals his sense of commitment to preserving the colony's history. However, Provincetown's booming tourism in the summer is also a source of inspiration. Stimulated by the flood of tourists, events, art shows, and pulsing vitality, Dowd feeds off of the town's energy during the days and evenings, and then works on his paintings until dawn. In the winter months, he lives in New York and participates in the metropolitan art world, as did many key Provincetown figures. Dowd represents the contemporary Provincetown artist by perpetuating the traditions of past masters, while also continuing to grow along with the colony and draw inspiration from its evolution.
Sam Feinstein (1915-2003)
Pieta III, late 1950s
Oil on canvas
New Britain Museum of American Art
Gift of the Samuel L. Feinstein Trust (2011.37)
Sam Feinstein's rich, seventy-year artistic career encompassed realism, expressionism, and a unique language of abstraction that is recognized as a significant part of American cultural history. During the late 1930s and early 1940s, the artist reacted against the rigid aesthetic of the commercial art market, as he expanded towards the loosened brushstrokes associated with Expressionism.
In the late 1940s, Feinstein became a student of Hans Hofmann (1880-1966), whose philosophy of art echoed and expanded his own faith in the beauty and order of nature. During his time in Provincetown, Feinstein was able to develop a unique language of abstraction incorporating vast stretches of color emphatically penetrating the canvas in a dynamic, interwoven balance of texture. This abstracted equilibrium drew from Hofmann's "push-pull" theory, by which nature's ebbs and flows were translated into painted forms.
As seen in Pieta III, Feinstein's canvas emits a morose, earthen texture while tapping into the spiritual evocations of the Pietá. The prolonged labor involved in creating such work -- painstakingly layering successive textures and tones -- evokes a meditative process by which the artist's spirituality permeates the work. Feinstein stated: "These paintings . . . are optical structures composed to touch the human spirit, to turn a rectangle into an evocation." As such, Pieta III offers a transcendent experience through the beautifully rich language of Feinstein's exceptional abstractions.
Jim Forsberg (1919-1991)
Forces, 1948
Oil on canvas
Estate of the Artist
Jim Forsberg was more than an artist to the Provincetown art community. After serving in World War II, Forsberg studied at the Art Students League in New York where he became a member of "The Printmakers," a group of young artists utilizing both old and new printmaking methods. In the fall of 1950, he came into contact with Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) at his New York school. In 1954, Forsberg moved his family to Provincetown, where he remained until his death. As manager of the Studio Shop -- an art supplies store next door to Milton Avery's (1885-1965) house -- Forsberg played an important role as a supplier, bringing the necessary creative materials to Provincetown artists.
Forsberg enjoyed an immensely creative outpouring of work during his time in Provincetown. Like most of Hofmann's students, Forsberg adopted an abstract language and independent artistic voice. His work gives equal attention to the object and its surrounding, evoking the balance and counterbalance typical of Hofmann's "push-pull" theory. As if reciting Hofmann's theory as mantra, Forsberg stated, "I like the dance of space, the strength in balance, the voices of color, the challenge of interval, the mystery of creation, and the promise of possibility." Forces clearly recalls Hofmann's teachings, as arrows point to the direction of emphatic movement, creating a continous, flowing stream of focus. Furthermore, his simple visual form emphasizes the ebb and flow of his composition, simultaneously creating tension and relief.
Helen Frankenthaler (b. 1928)
Dream, ca. 1948
Private Collection
Provincetown, ca. 1948
Private Collection
Since her entry into the American art arena as a young artist-innovator, Helen Frankenthaler remained an uncompromising abstract painter, printmaker, and sculptor. Born and raised in Manhattan, Frankenthaler attended the prestigious Dalton School and later the progressive Bennington College in Vermont, where she became acquainted with the critic Clement Greenberg. Part of the Abstract Expressionist circles in New York City since her early twenties, Frankenthaler is perhaps best known for inventing the "soak-stain" method, which involves floating diluted, oil-based paint over unprimed, unstreched canvas to create works that burst with soft, unfolding color.
Dream and Provincetown are monotypes created around the time Frankenthaler's extended stays in Provincetown first began. Prior to becoming a summer resident and establishing a studio at Days Lumberyard with her then husband, Robert Motherwell (1915-1991), Frankenthaler spent time in Provincetown as a student of Hans Hofmann (1880-1966). His "push-pull" theory influenced her understanding of color. As she once declared, "Color doesn't work unless it works in space. Color alone is decoration -- you might as well be making a shower curtain."

Gilbert Franklin (1919-2004)
New England Torso #2/2, 2003
Bronze on marble base
Courtesy of Berta Walker Gallery
Gilbert Franklin was born in England but grew up in Attleboro, Massachusetts. He studied drawing and sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design and shortly after moved to Provincetown in 1938 to study with John Frazier (1889-1966), who had established his own school the year after Charles W. Hawthorne's (1872-1930) death. Franklin later taught at the Rhode Island School of Design and the American Academy in Rome. His work is semi-abstract and focuses on the human body. His style is characterized by a love of form, especially curves, abstracted to particular volumes for emphasis.
New England Torso #2/2 depicts a female figure stripped down to an abstract and minimal shape. The sculpture is composed of bronze, and its texture is as sensual and sleek as its overall shape. Franklin's style is one of refined elegance and simplicity. His forms are highly stylized and archetypal, and this work represents all of the signature characteristics of his technique. Franklin's artistic vision developed early amidst the other innovative Provincetown artists of the early Modern era. This contemporary example of his work parallels the aesthetics born and celebrated in Provincetown at the time of his arrival and study.
William Freed (1902-1984)
Still Life of Fruit and Bottle, 1963
Oil on canvas
New Britain Museum of American Art
Gift of The Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed Foundation (2010.99)
William Freed arrived in the United States in 1922, after fleeing war-torn Poland. Soon after, he enrolled in the Educational Alliance and, briefly, in the Art Students League. At the Alliance, Freed came to realize his affinity for the modern European painters who were then largely ignored or rejected in the United States. Artists such as Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), Édouard Manet (1832-1883), Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), and Chaim Soutine (1893-1943) would largely influence Freed's "Abstract Realist" paintings.
In 1937, Freed met fellow artist Lillian Orlowsky (1914-2007) while waiting to receive his check for his contributions to the mural division of the Works Progress Administration. Orlowsky, who later became his wife, introduced Freed to the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts in Manhattan. Two years later, the couple went to Provincetown, where they would remain active members and instructors at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum throughout their 50 years on Cape Cod.
The influence of Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) is apparent in Freed's work, as he made the transition from figurative realism to Cubist distortions and Fauvist-inspired colors in his still lifes. As seen in Still Life of Fruit and Bottle, Freed, like Hofmann, preferred that nature inform the composition and structure of the piece. His unique, expressive rhythms develop amid the layered planes of lyrical color while still recalling experienced reality.
Sideo Fromboluti (b. 1920)
Pickerel Weeds on Higgins Pond, 1984
Oil on canvas
Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Gift of the artist (1985.775)
Raised in Philadelphia, Sideo Fromboluti completed his training at Temple University's Tyler School of Art, where he met his future wife, artist Nora Speyer (b. 1923). Together, they began to spend summers on Cape Cod in the 1950s and joined the distinguished Long Point Gallery when it was founded in 1977.
Although Fromboluti's paintings share the gestural, impasto quality of Abstract Expressionist works, they are grounded in representation of the visual and sensory world. Fromboluti was fascinated by nature and believed that in order to truly understand a place, it was necessary to become enveloped in it by thoroughly observing and experiencing all of its natural elements -- the fog, the sunshine, the morning dew, etc. Just as the gardens at Giverny provided endless inspiration for Claude Monet (1840-1926) when he painted his water lilies, the surroundings of Fromboluti's home on Higgins Pond became the inexhaustible subject that he revisited in his work throughout the nearly sixty summers that he has spent in close proximity to Provincetown.
As the title of Pickerel Weeds on Higgins Pond implies, this painting, too, captures a glimpse of Fromboluti's beloved setting. The radiant painting features a vivid palette of blues, greens, purples, mauves, and yellows. It has been described as exuding a "magic" quality because of the way the colors appear to float through a mysterious haze across the canvas.

R.H. Ives Gammell (1893-1981)
Garden of Proserpine, 1938
Oil on canvas
Private Collection
R. H. Ives Gammell studied in Boston and Paris, returning to America at the onset of World War I. His first encounter with the Provincetown art colony was under the instruction of Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930) during the summer of 1912. Gammell resided in Provincetown between 1933-1963 and became a sought-after instructor for students looking to be classically trained.
Gammell's Garden of Proserpine is an intriguing example of an allegorical image inspired by literature. Gammell drew from two sources for this piece: Greek mythology surrounding the deity Proserpine, wife of the underworld god Hades, and the poem, "The Garden of Proserpine," written by A.C. Swinburne. Swinburne's interpretation of Proserpine's abysmal garden is visualized by Gammell in his scene depicting the eternal sleep of humanity. A standing figure of an adolescent youth is centered in the composition, overlooking the garden of the goddess. The figures in the foreground exemplify the pervasive nature of death, serving as a reminder that neither athleticism nor beauty nor riches can alter one's ultimate fate.
Gammell's productive years in Provincetown, in conjunction with his teacher William M. Paxton (1869-1941), were spent painting and teaching traditional modes of representation. Fully aware of the Modernist movement in the art colony, Gammell advocated for a return to what he considered to be "true" artistic depiction. Taking on only four students at a time to complete his five-year course, Gammell created an environment in Provincetown that fostered a rigorous, classical education focused on form, line, and composition.
Here, where the world is quiet;
Here, where all trouble seems
Dead winds' and spent waves' riot
In doubtful dreams of dreams;
I watch the green field growing
For reaping folk and sowing,
For harvest-time and mowing,
A sleepy world of streams.
I am tired of tears and laughter,
And men that laugh and weep;
Of what may come hereafter
For men that sow to reap:
I am weary of days and hours,
Blown buds of barren flowers,
Desires and dreams and powers
And everything but sleep.
A.C. Swinburne (1837-1909)
"The Garden of Proserpine" (opening verses)

Edward Giobbi (b. 1926)
Study for Painting with Figures #2, 1961
Oil on canvas
Julie Heller Gallery
Born in Waterbury, Connecticut, to Italian immigrants, Edward Giobbi grew up listening to stories of the great masters Masaccio (1401-1428), Giotto (1267-1337), and Michelangelo (1475-1564). In the summer of 1949, Giobbi came to Provincetown to study under Henry Hensche (1901-1992). From Hensche, Giobbi learned a distinct color vocabulary which he subsequently incorporated into his work. After his initial stay in the art colony, the artist traveled to Italy and spent three years in Florence studying at the Accademia di Belle Arti. It was here that Giobbi was able to visualize his Italian heritage, which became a constant source of inspiration.
Giobbi's work was first exhibited in the Tirca Karlis Gallery in 1963 and would be repeatedly displayed until the 1970s. In Study for Painting with Figures #2 the composition incorporates the form of an Italian "tondo," defined as a circular painting or sculpture. The shape acts as a framing device, forcing the viewer to focus on what is presented. The influence of Hensche's color theory is also evident in the painting, lending an "expressionist" mood to the piece.
Continually selected by the Tirca Karlis Gallery for exhibitions, Giobbi used different types of media. Karlis also actively sold and donated pieces to museums and universities, thus solidifying his entrance into the art world. As an artist educated in Provincetown who later returned with a newfound inspiration from the Old Masters, Giobbi successfully merges both abstract and classical styles to create a distinct repertoire.
Adolph Gottlieb (1903-1974)
Omen for a Hunter, 1947
Oil on canvas
New Britain Museum of American Art
Charles F. Smith Fund (2000.24)
A member of Forum '49, Adolph Gottlieb became a staunch supporter of abstraction and was influenced by the work of Provincetown artist Milton Avery (1885-1965). Organized by poet and artist Weldon Kees (1914-1955) in 1949, Forum '49 was held in a converted garage on Commercial Street and was designed to host lectures on jazz, art, and politics, as well as exhibit work by those considered "advanced" artists. Included were paintings by Gottlieb, whose "Pictographs" had already been introduced to the public.
Born in New York City, Gottlieb first experienced tribal art (the inspiration of his "Pictographs") in Paris in 1921. He returned from his travels abroad and resumed his formal education, only returning to his fascination with images from Africa, Mexico, and the Northwest coast of North America during World War II. In Omen for a Hunter Gottlieb arranged his composition in a grid-like pattern, focusing on the images and iconography taken from so-called "primitive" objects. The painting exemplifies Gottlieb's intent to re-define artistic style, an attitude shared by Tirca Karlis and adamantly demonstrated by the artist during his time spent in the art colony.
Gottlieb's work was exhibited at the Tirca Karlis Gallery and in New York at the Martha Jackson Gallery. Both galleries promoted many of the same artists, including Gottlieb's fellow abstract artist Bob Thompson (1937-1966).
John Grillo (B. 1917)
Untitled Mosaic, ca. 1950
Oil on canvas
Private Collection
Courtesy of ACME Fine Art and Design
John Grillo and his family moved from Lawrence, Massachusetts, to Connecticut in the 1930s. In the beginning of his artistic career, Grillo came into contact with artistic influences within the Hartford Art School (then associated with the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art), from which he graduated in 1938. However, Grillo felt the training left him without exposure to European Modernism. After serving in the Navy from 1944-1946, he returned East in 1949 to fill this gap in his education under Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) in New York and Provincetown.
Grillo's "Mosaic Series" from the 1950s draws upon several notable sources. The influence of Hofmann is readily apparent, as Grillo exhibits his sensitivity to composition and color. Untitled Mosaic recalls Hofmann's pedagogical technique, or "push-pull" theory, as one shade counteracts another seeming to provoke an infinite battle for balance. Neo-Plasticist Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) also comes to mind within Grillo's checkerboard grid of bright colored squares. With his unequivocal love of color, Grillo's exuberant abstractions attract the attention of viewers instantly. He suggests: "The idea is to strike a mood in how you put colors together."
Red Grooms (b. 1937)
To the Lighthouse, 1997
Aquatint (edition of 50)
Pace Editions, Inc.
In 1957, after a brief period of study at the Art Institute of Chicago, Charles Roger Grooms traveled to Provincetown to study under the famous teacher of Abstract Expressionism, Hans Hofmann (1880-1966). Unlike most of Hofmann's students, Grooms did not take to his teacher's insistence on abstraction. Hofmann critiqued his work as "doll-like," suggesting that Grooms' representational tendencies were not in the same modernist vein of Hofmann's school. The artist soon found like-minded friends in the Sun Gallery, a small space that would play a critical role in combating the non-objective with figuration. Here, he was affectionately known as "Red" (for his hair color), a nickname that continues to follow him to this day. Grooms embraced what were then considered "banal" subjects of everyday reality and subverted the haughty abstract vocabulary of Abstract Expressionism. By the late 1950s, Grooms would become one of the leading precursors of Pop Art.
As part of an ongoing series featuring fellow artists, To the Lighthouse playfully portrays Grooms admiring Edward Hopper's (1882-1967) work in progress. Using his representational talents to satirically depict and challenge the values of the art world, Grooms elicits a comedic, self-mockery in order to deconstruct the myth of the artist. In this way, To the Lighthouse is more than an indication of the pleasantries of the Provincetown art scene. Instead, Grooms' aquatint thickens in detail and narrative as he depicts a canonized artist in a humorous, caricature fashion, further removing the celebrity of the artist in favor of genuine human qualities.

Chaim Gross (1904-1991)
Mother and Child, n.d.
Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Gift of Chaim and Renee Gross, in memory of Lawrence Richmond (1978.186.001)
Born in Austria, Chaim Gross came to the United States in 1921 to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming an artist. He studied sculpture at the Educational Alliance Art School from 1921-1927 in New York City and received a strong classical education. There he studied with Ben Shahn (1898-1969) and Adolph Gottlieb (1903-1974), two major Provincetown artists. After discovering Provincetown in 1925, Gross returned every summer until his death. Over time he turned away from the classical forms of sculpture and adopted a more abstract style.
Movement was always an important factor in Gross's sculpture, and he consistently emphasized expressive bodily gestures and abstract lines and curves. Mother and Child is one of Gross's many sculptures focusing on the subject of family. He was interested in articulating the tender and intimate relationship between a mother and her child, and repeated this motif throughout his career. Mother and Child is made of bronze, a medium Gross favored later in his career because of the freedom that preceding plaster casts allowed him. The surface of the bronze is covered in a rich natural texture that contributes to the animation and dynamism of the work as well.
Gross used an abstract style emphasizing forms and volume to articulate a playful, spirited language of movement and rhythm. Whatever his choice of medium, Gross's sculptures contain a compelling sense of life and vitality, unique to sculpture at the time.

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TFAO wishes to express appreciation to Michael A. Giaquinto, Curator, Cape Cod Museum of Art, for providing the object labels for this exhibition to Resource Library.

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