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

May 19 - August 26, 2012


Object labels from the exhibition, continued

Mary Hackett (1906-1989)
The Front Room, 1947
Oil on board
Collection of John Dowd
A self-taught artist drawn to the vibrancy of Provincetown, Mary Hackett arrived in the art colony in 1928 and purchased a home on Nickerson Street with her husband Chauncey. Her resolute decision to refuse a formal education allowed her the freedom to experiment with her own sense of perspective and subject matter which ultimately came to define her art.
In The Front Room, Hackett has chosen an interior scene, a simple view of a writing desk and the neighboring house from the window. As with many of her other works, The Front Room exudes the charm of the everyday. The furnishings are purposefully askew, as seen in the leaning desk and crooked portrait. Hackett used bright colors and domestic objects, such as the overflowing wastebasket, within the composition. Hackett accurately rendered the proximity of the home from the window, drawing on the fact that almost all Provincetown residences are visible from the street and are densely crowded together.
Hackett actively exhibited her work at the Provincetown Art Association from the 1930s on and remained in the art colony until her death. While her work was not largely recognized until her later years, Hackett's experiments within representational style mirror the evolving art trends celebrated in Provincetown in the mid-twentieth century.
Dimitri Hadzi (1921-2006)
Untitled, n.d.
Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Gift of the Judith Rothschild Foundation, in memory of Janet Cowan Bosse (2003.1978.008)
New York City native, Dimitri Hadzi was a celebrated and accomplished sculptor born to Greek immigrants. After studying chemistry at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, Hadzi served with the US Army Air Forces in the South Pacific. When the war ended, he resolved to become an artist and enrolled at Cooper Union. He accepted a Fulbright Fellowship to study in Greece after graduation and remained in Europe -- primarily Rome -- until the mid-1970s. Hadzi made his first contact with Provincetown in the 1980s following the recommendation of Romolo Del Deo (b. 1959), one of his students at Harvard University, where Hadzi had taught since 1975. Hadzi quickly immersed himself in the Provincetown art scene, becoming a member and exhibitor at Long Point Gallery in 1995.
Hadzi is most widely recognized for his semi-abstract sculptures in bronze and stone. In Untitled, a seemingly organic form with long, twisting extensions resembling limbs or tentacles is presented on a trio of legs. Untitled exhibits hints of figuration, but unlike many of Hadzi's other works which bear titles that reference Greco-Roman narratives or motifs, the source that served as inspiration for this work is undisclosed. Thus, the viewer is invited to interpret the sculpture -- which conveys both quiet strength and elegance -- on his or her own terms.
William Halsall (1841-1919)
Rose Dorothea, Winner of the Lipton Cup, 1907
Oil on canvas
Collection of Helen and Napi Van Dereck
William Halsall was originally from Kirkdale, England, but his travels led him to settle in Boston early in life. In 1860, Halsall began studying to become a fresco painter, but ultimately turned to marine painting after two years of Naval service during the Civil War. It was his interest in maritime scenes that drew Halsall to Provincetown where he remained until his death.
During his time in the colony, Halsall maintained a large studio in an old shirt factory, creating some of his most influential artworks there. Rose Dorothea, Winner of the Lipton Cup is a prime example of his work. A woman once recalled the realistic quality of Halsall's paintings, so powerful that ". . . you could almost taste the salt water." Rose Dorothea, Winner of the Lipton Cup depicts a heated boat race unfolding offshore with the coastline of Provincetown in the background. As the title suggests, the "Rose Dorothea" won the Lipton Cup in 1907, receiving a trophy from Sir Thomas J. Lipton, an avid sailor and founder of the Lipton Tea Company.
Halsall's major legacy in Provincetown was his involvement with the Provincetown Art Association, an institution that helped project the art colony into the international art scene. Halsall, along with artists Gerrit Beneker (1882-1934), Oscar Gieberich (1886-1954), Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930), and E. Ambrose Webster (1869-1935) donated the artworks that would become the foundation of the Association's permanent collection.
Elspeth Halvorsen (b. 1929)
The Whole World is Watching, 2001
Box Construction
Private Collection
Born in Purdys, New York, Halvorsen belongs to a family of professional artists and has been making art since she was a young child. After studying at a number of renowned institutions, she moved to Provincetown in 1955 with her husband -- painter and art historian Tony Vevers (1926-2008) -- at the suggestion of Milton Avery (1885-1965). The couple later established their home in the former residence of Mark Rothko (1903-1970) after he offered to take back the mortgage so they could afford it. The couple began exhibiting their paintings at Sun Gallery, which was known for its allegiance to figuration. In the late 1980s, Halvorsen played an instrumental role in organizing the cooperative Rising Tide Gallery. She continues to live and work in Provincetown, where her daughter, Tabitha Vevers (b. 1957) also maintains a strong artistic presence.
In the mid 1960s, Halvorsen began experimenting with three-dimensional works, incorporating paint, photographs, string, metal, and found objects to create surrealist box constructions featuring landscapes, memories, or dreams. The Whole World is Watching was made shortly after the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. In this work, the horseshoe-crab shells appear as destructive forces aimed at a replica of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Trapped inside the base awaiting the inevitable is a model of a female torso. Both the title of the work and its semblance to a miniature theater present the subject matter as a somber spectacle unraveling on a world stage.

Marsden Hartley (1877-1943)
The Boat, 1916
Oil on board
Curtis Galleries, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Born in Lewiston, Maine, Marsden Hartley was a leading practitioner of American Modernism. He attended the Cleveland Institute of Art and later studied in New York and Europe from 1912-15. Within a year of returning to the United States, Hartley spent the summer of 1916 in Provincetown where he embarked on a series of paintings that signaled a departure from the hieratic symbolism of his previous works. This new series moved towards the embrace of a unique visual investigation of pictorial possibilities spurred by Synthetic Cubism. Hartley dubbed this turning point in his career as "The Great Provincetown Summer."
The Boat is one in a series of abstracted sailboats, nautical equipment, and still lifes entitled Movements, that Hartley began that first summer in Provincetown. Thrust into the engaging and creative atmosphere of the colony, Hartley completed a group of compositions that daringly embraced the abstract themes of Cubism. Hartley was greatly influenced by the work of Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), and through this series of paintings he investigated the abstract potential of sailboat forms. The formal innovations and minimal yet significant compositional vitality of these works make Hartley one of the most radical leaders of non-objective painting at the time. The Movements series had no precedent in American Modern art, and Hartley's progressive techniques and unparalleled abstract curiosity were a result of the "remarkable and never repeated summer" spent in the colony alongside the leaders of American Modernism.
Hartley's last dealer, Hudson D. Walker, was a founder of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and his daughter runs the Berta Walker Gallery in town.

Childe Hassam (1859-1935)
Rigger's Shop, Provincetown, ca. 1900
Oil on canvas
New Britain Museum of American Art
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. Lawrence Pond (1976.98)
Childe Hassam, a native of Boston, spent time honing his artistic career across the globe, but strong ties to New England brought him back to the region often. In 1897, he became one of the notable "Ten American Artists" who broke away from the Society of American Artists, deeming the institution too conservative.
Hassam passed his summers in various art colonies in Connecticut, Long Island, and his native Massachusetts, coming to Provincetown in 1900. During his time there and directly following, he completed ten paintings of the colony. His interest in depicting daily scenes, as well prominently featuring architectural elements in his canvases, can be traced back to the period he spent in Pont-Aven, France, several years earlier.
Hassam's Rigger's Shop, Provincetown is an excellent example of the Impressionist style for which he is acclaimed. The timbers in the foreground draw the eye to the center of the composition, where two men are shown working at a ship-building shop. Ships were among Hassam's favorite subjects, and his appreciation for the ship-building trade is conveyed in this painting of Provincetown. Because Hassam felt that "an artist should be able to paint what is before him," he was also keen on depicting every strata of society, the working class included.

Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930)
The Fisher Boy, 1908
Oil on canvas on board
New Britain Museum of American Art
John Butler Talcott Fund (1912.02)
Charles W. Hawthore founded the Cape Cod School of Art in 1899 after his teacher, William Merritt Chase (1849-1916), closed the doors to his own school on Long Island. Having studied the brushwork and deep tones of the Old Masters and Academic traditions abroad, Hawthorne arrived in Provincetown and provided key momentum at a critical time in the nascent art colony's history.
Often praised for his ability to portray the tangible "American" subject, Hawthorne stood strongly opposed to the soft, idealistic tendencies of the ever-popular Impressionist subjects. In Provincetown, Hawthorne applied his wealth of traditional knowledge when painting portraits of fishermen amidst trials and tribulation. As seen in Fisher Boy, his thick glazes and dark tones portray the toil of the young boy, returning home after exhaustive months at sea. The rugged, realistic, introspective quality of his work enlivened Provincetown and sparked the beginning of an enduring, thriving art community. It is interesting to note that the New Britain Museum of American Art - the oldest American Art museum-purchased this work in 1912, thereby supporting Provincetown -- America's oldest continuous art colony -- in its infancy.
Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930)
Figures on Pier, 1915
Watercolor on paper
Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Gift of Marguerite Wilson (226)
Charles W. Hawthorne was fascinated with the picturesque, unspoiled fishing village of Provincetown, where he founded the Cape Cod School of Art in the summer of 1899. Hawthorne possessed an ability to draw people to him, attracting many other painters and thousands of young students to Provincetown, and is largely responsible for the growth of Provincetown as an art center. He encouraged his students to paint in quick, wide strokes so they would capture a broader vision on their canvases, and, on Saturday morning, conducted critiques of 800 to 1,000 studies submitted by students. Just over a decade after the school's founding, the already thriving colony was ready to establish a central arts institution. In 1915, five major painters including Hawthorne himself donated art that would become the foundation of the permanent collection of the Provincetown Art Association.
During his lifetime, Hawthorne actively sought to exhibit his watercolors, which represent a key segment of his oeuvre. The watercolors of Hawthorne's later years, such as Figures on Pier, differ significantly from his admired oil paintings. Figures on Pier demonstrates Hawthorne's manner of handling watercolor with suggestion and impression rather than description, which allowed him to freely capture the illusions of light and atmosphere by putting "one spot of color next to another.
Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930)
Girl with Parasol, ca. 1920
Oil on canvas
Private Collection
As a student of William Merritt Chase, a leading American Impressionist (1849-1916), Charles W. Hawthorne exhibited a strong interest in color and form, often substituting a palette knife for a brush. Focusing on the teaching of coloration at his own Cape Cod School of Art in Provincetown, Hawthorne was able to turn the town into the "largest art colony in the world" by 1916. Thousands of artists migrated to the region every summer to partake in his classes as well as in those offered at other local schools whose founding was inspired by Hawthorne's success.
Hawthorne was a proponent of the Impressionist plein air approach, which used the outdoors as the setting for figure drawing. This practice emphasized the importance of studying light effects across surfaces, while downplaying the details of the surfaces themselves.
Over the course of his career, as Hawthorne's brushwork grew looser and bolder, his portraits were increasingly less about the subject and more about the color. Paintings became compilations of "one spot of color next to another." In Girl with Parasol, for example, a model is posed with the sun behind her coming through the parasol. The painting belongs to a group of Hawthorne's works known as"mudheads" -- a title inspired by the "muddy" quality of the models' facial features.
Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930)
The Fishwife, 1925
Oil on board (plywood)
Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Gift of Joseph Hawthorne (1949.228)
When Charles W. Hawthorne discovered the remote fishing village of Provincetown, the area had an "old-world nautical character" due to the Portuguese immigrants and New England locals amidst the stunning and varied landscape. This setting provided ample inspiration for Hawthorne, who had developed a strong interest of color and portraiture during his academic training. Hawthorne founded the Cape Cod School of Art in 1899, promoting the plein air techniques of the French Impressionist movement. Subsequently, artists flocked to the region to enroll.
The Fishwife testifies to Hawthorne's versatility as a painter. In contrast to "mudheads"- the looser, less specific figure paintings Hawthorne completed during the late phases of his career - The Fishwife, also a late work, is a much more detailed, psychological character study. It still showcases Hawthorne's interest in color, however: the red shawl of the local Provincetown woman creates a striking contrast against the oceanic hues of the background.
Marion Campbell Hawthorne (1870-1945)
Woman Sewing, ca. 1915
Gouache and watercolor on paper
Private Collection
Marion Campbell Hawthorne (née Ethel Marion Campbell) studied art in Paris as well as at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In the 1890s, she continued her education at William Merritt Chase's (1849-1916) Shinnecock School in Long Island, where she met her future husband and fellow artist Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930).
In 1899, Charles founded the Cape Cod School of Art, an institution that drew an extensive following. Marion stood at the heart of the vibrant artistic community that the school fostered, providing teaching assistance and creating works of her own. Woman Sewing is a wonderful example of Marion's "great mastery over abstract space," for which she became known. Using thin washes, she created a visual environment that is psychologically potetent despite its seeming simplicity. While Marion often drew from her husband's plein air practice, she also worked daily in her studio, perfecting her canvases until a "genuine" depiction of her subjects was achieved.

Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930)
The Fisher Boy, 1908
Oil on canvas on board
New Britain Museum of American Art
John Butler Talcott Fund (1912.02)
Hans Hofmann (1880-1966)
Composition No. 5, 1950
Oil on canvas
The Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust (acquired 1996), 1284
No two men have been more instrumental in shaping the development of the Provincetown art colony than Charles W. Hawthorne and Hans Hofmann. Hawthorne's founding of the the Cape Cod School of Art in 1899 was the spark that marked the symbolic beginning of what would become an enduring, thriving art community -- the oldest in America's history. Just over thirthy-five years later, Hofmann formed Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts in both New York and Provincetown, where he would teach three generation of artists the revolutionary theories and techniques of the Avant-Garde, fostering some of the greatest shifts in American art history.
Often praised for his ability to portray the tangible "American" subject, Hawthorne stood strongly opposed to the soft, idealistic tendencies of the ever-popular Impressionist subjects. In Provincetown, Hawthorne applied his wealth of traditional knowledge when painting portraits such as Fisher Boy, in which his thick glazes and dark tones portray the toil of the young boy returning home after exhaustive months at sea. The rugged, naturalistic, introspective quality of his work enlivened Provincetown and provided key momentum at a critical time in the nascent art colony's history.
As a former member of the European Modernist circle in Germany, Hofmann blended his knowledge of the Old Masters and the innovations of the Avant-Garde. Guided by his main pedagogical theory of "push-pull," Hofmann sought to create dynamic compositions that translated the three dimensions of nature into the two dimensions of a picture plane. As such, his abstract geometric forms and color swatches foster severe tensions and reconciliatory balances. Composition No. 5 exemplifies this evolution from his early European Modernist background to a singular language of abstraction, informed by the purity of nature.
Henry Hensche (1901-1992)
Untitled (Provincetown Scene), n.d.
Oil on masonite
Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Gift from the estate of Ruth Hiebert (2004.1834)
A protégé of Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930), Henry Hensche championed traditional representation through plein air painting. Born in Chicago, Illinois, Hensche was devoted to the Impressionist technique and the teachings of Hawthorne, with whom he first studied in 1919. He operated the Cape Cod School of Art after Hawthorne's death, removing "Cod" from the name in 1932 and teaching there for over fifty years. Hensche is credited with the amazing feat of keeping the Impressionist tradition alive in the art colony during the mid-twentieth century when abstraction was the prevalent and preferred mode of expression.
In Untitled (Provincetown Scene), Hensche used a warm color scheme for his depiction of the back view of the Center St. Methodist Church, which has since become a library. The church was a popular subject with artists, and Hensche highlighted its distinctive cupola. The original tall steeple, destroyed by a hurricane, was replaced by the cupola.
The extensive body of work completed by Hensche during his career included portraiture, still lifes, and landscapes; each was used to instill in his students the importance of the relationship between shape and color. Hensche's students, including Ciro Cozzi (b. 1921), Edward Giobbi (b. 1926), and Robert Douglas Hunter (b. 1928), spent the summer months repeating the same exercises in order to learn basic methods of painting.
As both a teacher and artist, Hensche created a heritage
Henry Hensche (1901-1992)
The Grandmother, ca. 1930
Oil on board
Private Collection
Henry Hensche was born to immigrant parents in Chicago and worked odd jobs to put himself through the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He later studied at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League in New York City. Drawn to French Impressionism, Hensche traveled to Provincetown in 1919 to study under Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930), whose pedagogy centered primarily on the outdoor, plein air practice of the Impressionists.
Hensche's formal training prior to his time in Provincetown focused on Tonalism, because at that time, the Impressionist approach had not yet been absorbed into mainstream American academic training. It was through Hawthorne's influence that Hensche mastered color theory and plein air painting. Hensche became Hawthorne's teaching assistant in 1927, a position he held until Hawthorne's death in 1930. Two years later, Hensche took over Hawthorne's Cape Cod School of Art and dropped the "Cod" from the title.
Hensche's blending of Academic and Impressionist styles drove his pedagogy. The Grandmother, for example, follows the conventions of an indoor studio portrait, while also placing a strong emphasis on the relation between color and light. Spotlights on the woman expose the color variations in her dark clothing. It was Hensche's ability to explore subtle color relationships that solidified his overall success as painter and teacher.

Hans Hofmann (1880-1966)
Composition No. 5, 1950
Oil on canvas
The Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust (acquired 1996), 1284
Hans Hofmann fostered one of the greatest cultural shifts in American art history. As a former member of the European Modernist circle in Germany, Hofmann blended his knowledge of the Old Masters and the innovations of the Avant-Garde. By forming the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts in both New York and Provincetown in 1935, Hofmann taught generations of artists the revolutionary theories and techniques that would shape the course of American and global art movements to follow.
Guided by his main pedagogical theory of "push-pull", Hofmann sought to create dynamic compositions that translated the three dimensions of nature into the two dimensions of a picture plane. As such, his abstract geometric forms and color swatches foster severe tensions and reconciliatory balances. Composition No. 5 exemplifies this evolution from his early European Modernist background to a singular language of abstraction, informed by the purity of nature.

The Push-Pull Theory
In his 1948 book, The Search for the Real and Other Essays, Hans Hofmann declared the long reign of one-point linear perspective to be over. He felt that with the traditional approach, which dates back to the Renaissance, the illusion of space only goes in one direction; nothing comes back. He claimed that a visual system that relies on lines and points alone cannot sufficiently define pictorial space. Instead, he argued that a combination of color, light, and shape could create "push-pull:" the visual tension between forces and counter-forces that gives the viewer the experience of depth and motion on a flat surface.
With push-pull, shapes and colors interact to create not only the feeling of space, but of movement as well. Warm colors appear to advance; cool ones seem to recede. Light and dark values and overlapping shapes all help to create the illusion that the composition is in motion, or "breathing," leading the eye to each part of the picture rather than letting it rest in one spot. In this way, the viewer becomes actively engaged with the picture -- a goal Hofmann claimed all artists should strive for.
Hans Hofmann (1880-1966)
Push and Pull III, 1950
Oil on canvas
The Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust (acquired 1996), 1250
Hans Hofmann was the legendary teacher, painter, and catalyst of the Abstract Expressionist movement. Following the opening of his art school in Provincetown in 1935, Hofmann sparked a cultural upheaval, injecting European modernist tendencies into the academic tradition of Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930) and inspiring the local followers of Modernism.
Infamous art critic Clement Greenburg listed Hofmann as one of the leading artists influencing the "new" American art - namely, Abstract Expressionism. A "virtuoso of invention," Hofmann helped cultivate new media and aesthetic tendencies in American art. One of many major contributions was his "push-pull" theory, in which he taught ways to create space through line, plane, or the projection and recession of color, stating, "Space was alive with interacting, tensioned movements."
This theory is exemplified in Push and Pull III, within which his use of line and swatches of half-blended colors applied with a swift palette knife recall shifting tectonic plates. Indebted to Wassily Kandinsky's (1866-1944) influence within German Expressionism, Hofmann used intersecting and repelling planes to create simultaneous tension and harmony,
Both in theory and practice, Hofmann seemed to digest and extol Cubism's emphasis on geometric planes as well as the pulsating palette of Fauvism. Calling attention to the depth of the European modernist tradition, Hofmann instructed endless numbers of students in the vibrant Provincetown community every summer until his death.
Edna Boies Hopkins (1872-1937)
Yellow and Blue Flowers, 1915-20
Color woodblock print
Julie Heller Gallery
A key member of the Provincetown Printers, Edna Boies Hopkins was born in Hudson, Michigan, and educated at the Art Academy of Cincinnati from 1895-98. After living in Paris with her husband, where she created exquisite Japanese-inspired floral prints, she moved to Provincetown in 1915. Her time in Provincetown was spent working as a woodblock printer in the revolutionary white-line method.
Hopkins completed at least seventy-four exceptional woodblock prints in the two decades she spent in the colony. She was a colorist who explored the relationship between light and dark in her work, and was known for her beautiful floral depictions such as Yellow and Blue Flowers. According to oral history, this print may have been a studio teaching print, perhaps used during her time as an instructor at the Modern School of Art, which she helped found. Her facility with print making allowed her to experiment with increased abstraction and expressive color choices. Hopkins' work is delicate and crafted with a contemplative precision, yet retains a strong Modernist edge.
Edward Hopper (1882-1967)
Blackhead, Monhegan, ca. 1918
Oil on wood panel
New Britain Museum of American Art
Gift of Olga H. Knoepke (1999.22)
In 1930, Edward Hopper and his wife Jo Nivison bought land in Cape Cod's South Truro, where they spent six months out of the year for the rest of their lives. The seaside village of Truro is just outside Provincetown and piqued Hopper's interest in the New England shoreline, where he recorded the brilliant light on the sea-worn land and ventured into Provincetown to record the thriving art colony of the 1930s-60s. Hopper usually completed only one or two paintings a year, as each needed to be "completely established" in his mind before he began to paint. His art was based on a deep and emotional attachment to his environment, such as Cape Cod.
Blackhead, Monhegan depicts a cliff on the east side of Monhegan, an island off the coast of Maine famous for its rugged headlands. Hopper was especially drawn to its undeveloped beauty. He visited Monhegan in the summers of 1916 to 1919, once with former instructor Robert Henri (1865-1929). Hopper's relatively colorful palette and vigorous handling of the brush reveal his allegiance to French Impressionism and the study of light on the majestic coast. Painted a decade before his move to the Cape, Blackhead, Monhegan demonstrates Hopper's affinity for the beauty and history of New England's coastline. Clearly, he was inspired by the untouched beauty of the Outer Cape, settling in a house among the dunes and trees of Truro, but remained in close contact with the colony through friendships with Ross Moffett (1888-1971), E. Ambrose Webster (1869-1935), and others.

Robert Douglas Hunter (b. 1928)
Blue, Brass, and Off-White with Root, 2006
Oil on canvas
New Britain Museum of American Art
Gift of the artist (2009.127)
While the hub of activity in Provincetown during the mid-twentieth century was centered around abstraction and informal training focused on personal expression, several artists adamantly advocated for the return or, at least, acceptance of the European classical model of line and form. Interestingly, Robert Douglas Hunter was the recipient of both methods of training.
Graduating from the Vesper George School of Art in 1949, Hunter met Henry Hensche (1901-1992) during Hensche's visit that same year promoting his art program at the Cape School of Art. Following Hensche to Provincetown, Hunter spent two summers studying the effect of light, shadow, and color on a composition.
Hunter also came into contact with R.H. Ives Gammell (1893-1981) who he modeled for and ultimately studied with in 1950. It was with Gammell that Hunter learned the basics of line and form, drawing on the artistic tradition Gammell instilled in his students. Hunter would later marry Gammell's goddaughter (Elizabeth Ives Hunter, Executive Director of the Cape Cod Museum of Art) and become part of the Provincetown community of artists.
The successful pairing of Impressionist use of color and the traditional technique of form and line is exemplified in Hunter's paintings and pedagogy. The marriage of styles exists in Blue, Brass, and Off-White with Root. Hunter selected simple objects to create the assemblage of still life. The use of complementary colors enhances the image, bringing into existence the hues of cobalt blue and tangerine orange.
Penelope Jencks (b. 1936)
Table V: Unanswered Question, 2008
Courtesy of Berta Walker Gallery
Penelope Jencks's family ventured to the Outer Cape in the 1920s when her aunt married a local painter and her father came along for the ride. She believes that "Cape Cod lends itself to three dimensions" and "can't imagine a place to go that's better" for her work.
From her childhood onward, Jencks was involved with a group of Provincetown artists and writers who celebrated the beauty found in nature, especially the sea, sun, and beaches. She works with terracotta -- a material directly linked to that sand. Jencks credits two Provincetown masters as her influences. Edwin W. Dickinson (1891-1978) was a family friend who visited when she was a child. Inspired by his vision of the world, Jencks began to see "dunes as zones of color or even parts of bodies fused into the landscape." She also studied with Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) the summer before enrolling in art school -- an experience that shaped her concept of the artistic process. Jencks cites three pivotal lessons she learned from Hofmann: every work of art is a journey and a process that has no goal beyond personal growth; scale is not linked to size -- there is a difference between the feeling of being monumental and creating a work that is monumental; and the conviction that "art is the most important thing in the world. It is crucial -- not just a job or a hobby but something important."
Table V: Unanswered Question is a recent work. Related to the composer Charles Ives's piece of the same name, Table V: Unanswered Question explores the eternal query of human existence. This sculpture, like so many by Jencks, expresses her personal vision of a human natural history. She uses Cape Cod as her avenue for discussing these timeless themes and has passed along her source of inspiration to the next generation -- her son, an artist living and working in New York City.

Lester Johnson (1919-2010)
Two Heads, 1969
Oil on canvas
ACME Fine Art and Design
Among the artists whose work was exhibited in the Tirca Karlis Gallery was the painter Lester Johnson. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Johnson spent most of his life living and working in New York City. Starting in 1954, Johnson passed many summers in Provincetown and exhibited at the Sun Gallery and the Kootz-HCE Gallery, both at the heart of the art colony.
Johnson's work is an exploration of Figurative Expressionism, abstracted in composition and aggressive in nature. Johnson primarily chose solitary male figures as subjects for much of his early work. He selected two figures for Two Heads, obscuring their facial features and creating a dramatic intrusion into the viewer's space. The faces extend beyond the picture plane as Johnson focused on the confrontational quality of his figures.
The community-oriented atmosphere in Provincetown allowed Johnson to pursue his art without restraint. Along with fellow artist Bob Thompson (1937-1966), Johnson was influential in testing the boundaries between abstraction and figuration.
Wolf Kahn (b. 1927)
My Shack on the Dunes, 1947
Oil on canvas
Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Gift of the artist (1986.566)
Bearing a similar history to teacher Hans Hofmann (1880-1966), Wolf Kahn arrived in the United States in 1940 from Germany during the onset of World War II. He has described himself as "thoroughly a child of Abstract Expressionism," though his work has diverged from the mainstream of the first wave. Aligning with the second generation of the New York School, Kahn remained representational in the wake of action painting and the non-objective.
From 1947-1949, Kahn studied under Hofmann, eventually becoming his assistant. During this time his work came to feature fast and loose brushwork, though he is by no means an action painter. In works such as My Shack on the Dunes, Kahn fused Hofmann's Modernism with American Impressionism. Kahn shared Hofmann's interest in nature by going directly to the source, where the constantly evolving dynamics of the changing seasons and times of day influenced the character of his work. Thus, the weather of the canvas evokes an undisclosed expressiveness while the contrasting, converging brushstrokes bespeak Hofmann's theory of contrast and balance.
The subject of My Shack on the Dunes is particularly relevant to Provincetown, as many artists past and present rented one-room living and working spaces on the beaches. They found solace and inspiration in these secluded shacks and enjoyed the solitude and untouched beauty at "world's end" that drew Hawthorne and others to settle there.

Franz Kline (1910-1962)
Sketch for Portrait of Sue Orr, 1950
Oil on masonite
Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Gift of the Orr Family in memory of Elizabeth Kline (1996.1375)
The stylistic complexities of Franz Kline were assertively circulated by the Tirca Karlis Gallery. Inspired by Abstract Expressionism, Kline's work presents a dichotomy between representation and abstraction; color and darkness. Kline gravitated toward the New York art scene and became one of the quintessential abstract artists during the mid-twentieth century. Starting in 1956, Kline spent summers in Provincetown until his death, and was regularly selected by the Tirca Karlis Gallery for exhibition. Kline also socialized with his fellow Provincetown artists, such as Milton Avery (1885-1965) and Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) and became popular for his humor and affability.
Although Kline began his career as a landscape and figural painter, enigmatic black and white paintings dominated his repertoire in the 1950s. While this exploration took form on large canvases, Karlis primarily selected more intimate-sized work for the gallery.
In Sketch for Portrait of Sue Orr, Kline portrayed the dignified daughter of his personal friend, David Orr. A collector of Kline's earliest work, Orr specifically donated the painting in memory of Kline's wife. While the details of the figure are minimized, the painting highlights Kline's representational work which preceded his move toward Abstract Expressionism.
Karl Knaths (1891-1971)
Net Mender, 1957
Oil on canvas
Private Collection
Courtesy of ACME Fine Art and Design
Born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Karl Knaths attended the Art Institute of Chicago in 1911, where he was exposed to Impressionism. Although he was attracted to the Impressionists' approach to color and light, he sought something more stable and absolute: a serene world of muted colors. Knaths was drawn to the work of Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), which treated color with discipline, and utilized the Cubist use of space and calligraphic lines. Knaths lived in Provincetown from 1919 until his death, and went to New York only for short visits to his dealer's gallery. He belonged to the committee that organized the Provincetown Art Association's first Modernist exhibition in 1927, and, although he has been called both an "Abstract Expressionist" and a "Romantic Cubist," his ecclectic work falls somewhere in between.
Nature was a passion of Knaths' youth, and his experiences appear in his works as a fluctation between the material and the spiritual. Most of his subject matter is drawn from living and working in Provincetown. He painted lilacs each May, just as he painted net menders throughout his time in Provincetown. In Net Mender his unusual combination of angular calligraphy, subtle color, and sensitive brushwork is evident. The net mender is alone on a wharf as he draws in his net, with the ocean and a sailboat behind him. The work represents Knaths' Cubist view that plays with the geometry of the wharf, figure, net, and sailboat in a dematerialization that hints at a spiritual experience through the tensions of shapes and colors.
Net Mender was exhibited at The Phillips Gallery (now The Phillips Collection) in Washington, D.C. the year it was painted as part of a solo exhibition.
Lee Krasner (1908-1984)
Nude Study, 1939
Charcoal on paper
New Britain Museum of American Art
Friends Purchase Fund (1985.09)
Lee Krasner (née Lenora Krassner) was one of the most important first-generation Abstract Expressionists. Yet despite her later success in life, her marriage to famed action painter and colleague Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) in 1945 seems to have held her back. Prior to her marriage, Krasner acquired an impressive art education from the Art Students League, National Academy of Design, and the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts. It was under the Hofmann's tutelage that Krasner would learn to harness the immensity of European Modernism in her first Abstract Expressionist pieces.
From 1936-1940, Krasner studied with Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) in both New York and Provincetown. During this time, other influential artists such as Fritz Bultman (1919-1985), Franz Kline (1910-1962), and even Pollock summered in Provincetown to create art. Hofmann said of Krasner, she was"one of the best students I ever had."
Nude Study manifests Hofmann's pedagogy, as the model is translated into a series of linear and curvilinear planes that materialize from the constant erasing and reworking of the charcoal lines. Created during a classroom session, Krasner's cubist rendering of a nude woman exemplifies Hofmann's most important lessons concerning rhythm, movement, and spatial tension. Hofmann's insistence that art express a definable rhythmic quality would later catch the eye of other abstract artists such as Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), who admired Krasner's display of "inner rhythm."
Blanche Lazzell (1878-1956)
Shell, 1930
Oil on canvas
The Art Museum of West Virginia University
Gift of the artist (1995.025.012)
Blanche Lazzell was a pioneer of American Modernism. As one of its earliest practitioners, she created some of the first non-objective prints and paintings in the country. In 1905 she traveled to New York and Paris where she learned from several notable artists, including Oliver Chaffee (1881-1944) and William Zorach (1887-1966).
In the summer of 1915 Lazzell moved to Provincetown. Through her involvement with the Provincetown Printers and other artists, Lazzell actively contributed to the circulation of Modernist ideas. In Paris in 1923, Lazzell studied alongside Cubist Albert Gleizes (1881-1953) and, as a result, her trademark geometric compositions took on a stronger Modernist flare as she adopted a more conceptual approach. She continued to paint in a non-objective style when she returned to Provincetown in 1925, but over time her work showed a departure from Gleizes' rigid mathematical methods as she strove towards a less formulaic approach, adding "more feeling."
The late 1920s were a highly productive time in Lazzell's career and, in 1930, she completed Shell, one of her most gripping works. This compelling painting displays Lazzell's Modernist style in its maturity. The abstract still life combines the Cubist compositional principles of rhythm, geometry, and asymmetrical space with the artist's personal statement, seen here as a depiction of flowers from her garden and a shell from the beaches of her beloved Provincetown. It is through this masterpiece that Lazzell proclaimed her singular Modernist style, for she employs the methods of European Modernism yet tempers them with her own personal artistic expression.
Blanche Lazzell (1878-1956)
The White Petunia, 1932 (printed 1954)
Color woodblock print
The Art Museum of West Virginia University
Gift of James C. and Janet G. Reed (1995.025.003)
In 1915 Blanche Lazzell arrived in Provincetown to study with Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930), and the next summer she moved to E. Ambrose Webster's (1869-1935) more "progressive" school. In 1927, she was part of the committee in charge of the Provincetown Art Association's first Modernist exhibition after the split between "modernists" and "conservatives."
Influenced by fellow artists such as Ethel Mars (1876-1956) and Maude Hunt Squire (1873-1955), Lazzell was introduced to color woodcuts and the innovation of the white-line color woodcut method that eliminated the process of cutting multiple blocks (one for each color). This allowed Lazzell to simplify her subject matter and work with flat planes, hard-edged geometry, and color relationships. Today, her reputation rests largely on her accomplishments as a printmaker. Her works represent her daring and independent style as a pioneering American Modernist, and portray the distinct atmosphere of Provincetown, where she was an important presence for more than forty years.
White Petunia is one of Lazzel's most successful white-line compositions. The work depicts a bouquet of flowers in a pitcher composed of densely packed planes, and the petal and flower shapes proportionally merge with fragmented forms that suggest the vase, table, and surrounding space. The series of planes create spatial relationships, not perspective, as the geometric zones are woven with those representing the flower petals. Lazzell successfully achieved a balance between nature and intellectual contemplation by using the planes and aligning white lines to create rotation, rhythm, and movement in her print.
Lucy L'Engle (1889-1978)
Vanitas, 1928
Oil on panel
Collection of John Dowd
Born in New York City, Lucy L'Engle visited Provincetown in 1909 to study with Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930). In 1911, she attended the Art Students League in New York City, studying with George Brandt (1864-1943), and in 1913 she furthered her studies in Paris at the Académie Julian, later studying under Cubist Albert Gleizes (1881-1953). Starting in 1916, Lucy and her husband William L'Engle (1884-1957) spent the summer in Provincetown and were active participants in the town's intellectual and social milieu, including the theater group, Provincetown Players. Lucy, along with Blanche Lazzell (1878-1956), Agnes Weinrich (1873-1946), and Ada Gilmore Chaffee (1893-1955), was at the center of the rise of Modernism in Provincetown. In 1925, Lucy became a founding member of the New York Society of Women Artists.
L'Engle's daring abstract canvases recall Georges Braque (1882-1963) and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and were among the earliest American abstractions. Vanitas reveals L'Engle's interest in flat patterns and logically ordered shapes. Her concentration in Cubism lasted until the late 1920s, when she began to oscillate between the abstraction of Cubism and traditional figuration. In discussing Vanitas, the New York Times article of April 29, 1928, reviewing the New York Society of Women Artists exhibition stated, "Lucy L'Engle['s] painting [of] a dressing table, with a mirror, in the mirror a face, and beyond, a window through which is seen a tall building, succeeds quite remarkably in keeping everything in its separate plane without insistence on planar perspective."

William L'Engle (1884-1957)
Circus, ca. 1926
Oil on canvas
Courtesy of the Provincetown Art Commission
Collection of the Town of Provincetown
Gift of Mrs. William L'Engle (1959)
Born in Jacksonville, Florida, William L'Engle graduated from Yale University with a degree in Naval Architecture, after which he attended the Art Students League in New York City. He spent five years in Paris, studying at the Académie Julian with Provincetown artist Richard E. Miller (1875-1943) and at the École des Beaux-Arts with Jean Paul Laurens (1838-1924) and Louis Francois Biloul (1874-1947). L'Engle and his family spent almost every summer in Provincetown starting in 1916. He was closely associated with the Provincetown Art Association and the Modernist split, serving on the jury for the first Modernist exhibition in 1927 and becoming a trustee the following year.
L'Engle frequently took his subjects from the world of entertainment, as seen in Circus. The painting conveys the artist's desire to incorporate dynamism and movement by linking the composition through a network of lines and planes that move the eye to create energy. The repetition of the elephants, for example, creates an undulating, rhythmic motion. In Circus, there is a shift to the Cubist-realist style, which allowed L'Engle to experiment with abstraction while remaining somewhat literal. In this painting, the viewer's perspective is from a front-row seat, and the architecture of the tent and the elephants create a shallow and patterned yet balanced composition with an underlying geometric framework.
The theme of the circus may not appear to be directly related to Cape Cod, however, circuses were indeed held in town in the past, complete with elephant parades down Commercial Street. Furthermore, the two male performers on the right hint at the undercurrent of homosexuality and freedom of expression long associated with Provincetown.
Tod Lindenmuth (1885-1976)
Tremont Street Western School, ca. 1915
Oil on canvas
Collection of Helen and Napi Van Dereck
Landscape painter Tod Lindenmuth was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and became an integral part of the Provincetown art colony after his first visit in 1915. Lindenmuth was one of the founders of the Provincetown Art Association and advocated for the first Modernist exhibition held there in 1927. He also served on the jury for the exhibition and would remain active in Provincetown until 1940, when he and his family moved to St. Augustine, Florida.
Lindenmuth was both a successful painter and printmaker, creating images of the sea and land. Inspired by his wanderings along the coast and town neighborhoods, Lindenmuth's images evoke the European Impressionist trends that had become popular in the United States. In Tremont Street Western School Lindenmuth illustrates a walk to school. The bright palette of the composition successfully coincides with the shadows cast by the surrounding trees, and the artist's impression of the scene is captured through his loose brushstroke and expert illumination of the school and adjoining buildings. Lindenmuth also rendered the details of the figures as shapes of color.
While Lindenmuth was influential in the acceptance of both a "modernist" and "traditionalist" style in Provincetown, his approach to painting focused on the effects of light and color on the surroundings. Along with other Provincetown artists during the mid-twentieth century, Lindenmuth memorialized the Provincetown community through his Impressionist technique of representation.
Philip C. Malicoat (1908-1981)
Cape Split, 1963
Oil on canvas
ACME Fine Art and Design
Philip C. Malicoat was a student of some of Provincetown's most brilliant teachers. After studying at the John Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, Malicoat left his home state in 1929 to learn from Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930), Edwin W. Dickinson (1891-1978), and, later, Henry Hensche (1901-1992). Malicoat's strong presence in the colony was long-standing, as the artist had been an active member of the Provincetown Art Association and one of the founders of the Fine Arts Work Center. His marriage to artist Barbara Brown (1903-1987), whose father had been the director of the John Herron School, was a union that created "Cape Cod's first family of art." Malicoat's granddaughter, Robena (b. 1961) continues to uphold the family's artistic ties to Provincetown and paints in Philip's old studio.
Malicoat became instantly enamored by the sea after encountering it for the first time in Provincetown. His paintings capture the many different faces of the ever-changing waters of the Atlantic, from dramatic to serene. Malicoat's approach to painting Cape Split exemplifies his preferred use of loose brushstrokes, muted colors, and soft contours. The work also carries the legacy of Hawthorne's pedagogical emphasis on simplicity, which he often proclaimed with the injunction: "Let color make form, do not make form and color it."
Leo Manso (1914-1993)
Maharaja, 1989
Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Anonymous gift (1998.1539)
Born in New York City and educated at the National Academy of Design and the New School of Social Research, Leo Manso played an instrumental role in Provincetown's evolution as an art colony. In the 1940s, he participated in the watershed "Forum '49" exhibitions and discussions with Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) and Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) -- among others -- that helped propel Abstract Expressionism onto the world stage. Together with artist Victor Candell (1903-1977), Manso also established The Provincetown Workshop, a summer art school. After it closed in 1976, Manso's focus shifted to founding Long Point Gallery.
Widely admired for his collages, Manso reveled in the medium's potential to surprise the viewer with unexpected juxtapositions of different materials and subject matter. Inspired by Greek, Roman, and Etruscan civilizations as well as Eastern thought, Manso often incorporated references to ancient myths or historical narratives into his work. The title of Maharaja comes from the Sanskrit word for "great king." Central to the composition of this collage is an image of a Hindu leader on horseback accompanied by an attendant. Flanked by pieces of torn paper and cloth, the image interrupts the otherwise flat, dark background. The act of rupture and restructure that is inherent to the assemblage of a collage may evoke the kind of violence that often runs parallel to the making of "greatness."

Herman Maril (1908-1986)
Beached, 1953
Oil on paper
New Britain Museum of American Art
Gift of the Herman Maril Foundation (2011.42)
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Herman Maril received his early training at the Maryland Institute of Fine Arts, worked during the depression years on federal projects, and painted throughout his World War II military service. After the war, he began his long career as a teacher and painter at the University of Maryland.
Beginning in 1934 with his first visit to Provincetown, Maril frequented the art colony every summer with his family, buying an abandoned post office and converting it into a personal residence. Maril became heavily influenced by and friendly with noted local artists including next-door-neighbor, Mark Rothko (1903-1970), Milton Avery (1885-1965), and Karl Knaths (1891-1971). He was also "discovered" in Provincetown in the 1930s by Duncan Phillips, founder of the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.
It is within this supportive environment that Maril created his representational yet stylized paintings, drawing from nature and the world around him. Beached is one among a large number of seascapes depicting the coast and waters of Maril's summer retreat. A simplified form of a boat hovers onshore, forcing the peaks and valleys of the sand dunes into submission. Beached appears effortless -- deceptively so. By deliberately eliminating all "non-essential" elements from his composition, Maril searched for distraction-free harmony and "oneness."
Danielle Mailer (b. 1957)
The Good Daughter, 2007
Acrylic on canvas
Collection of Alexa Venturini
One of Provincetown's most famous residents was writer and director Norman Mailer. This Pulitzer Prize winning author co-founded The Village Voice in 1955 and is considered an innovator of narrative nonfiction. In 1954 he married artist and author Adele Morales (b. 1925), who is of Cuban, Peruvian, and Spanish descent. As a toddler, their daughter Danielle was introduced to her South American heritage through music, food, and her mother's vibrant color palette. Although Morales, a student of Hans Hofmann's (1880-1966), encouraged Danielle to spend hours painting to capture the essence of her subjects, Danielle credits her father with inspiring her to "always paint what you know."
Charged with a bold South American color palette, her two- and three-dimensional paintings are loaded with a personal iconography of Hispanic objects (such as skulls, chili peppers, and vines) that pulsate and add mystery to her paintings. Her figures are often timeless, sexual females portrayed in a spiritual landscape.
In The Good Daughter, Danielle's signature style is reworked into a quiet and peaceful meditation. Painted when her father was dying, the work depicts Danielle asleep, cradling Norman's novel Ancient Evenings. The ferns creep silently into the picture plane, indicating the cycles of life and death. The funeral was held in Provincetown, "where Norman wanted to die."
Danielle states that Provincetown is part of the "fabric of [her] life" and a truly "magical place." She has a deep attachment to Provincetown, where she summered annually with her father and siblings. She can even "remember living next to Robert Motherwell and Helen Frankenthaler." Mailer says that, although she lives in Connecticut, she "continue[s] to regard Provincetown as [her] home."

Robena Malicoat (b. 1961)
Lunaria, 2002
Oil on canvas
Collection of the artist and Schoolhouse Gallery
The Malicoats have been referred to as "Cape Cod's first family of art," and rightfully so. Their Provincetown legacy began when Hawthorne visited Harold Haven Brown in Indiana and recruited him to come to the Cape Cod School of Art. By 1923 the patriarch of the Malicoat family had settled permanently in Provincetown, and the following generations have all been involved in the art colony.
Robena Malicoat, a fourth-generation artist and granddaughter of Brown's daughter Barbara and Fine Arts Work Center founder Philip C. Malicoat (1908-1981), grew up in Provincetown on the Malicoat estate and now lives and paints there year round. Robena began using oil paint in 1985, which was "a mystery to figure out," one that led her to find "intrigue in detailed still lifes."
After working on Norman Mailer's film Tough Guys Don't Dance, Robena embarked on a thirteen-year film career that resulted in stints between Provincetown and Los Angeles. Ultimately, she returned to Provincetown, a place that "never ceased being [her] home." She finds the history of the colony, the beauty of the landscape, and the famous light to be inspiring and says that her paintings "come from the town, from my history."
Provincetown is a bustling environment of infinite intersections. Life, art, nature, and history all weave together inextricably, and Robena's paintings capture these sublte connections through their intimate views of daily objects. Lunaria depicts a solemn still life rendered in muted tones. The painting utilizes Philip's studio as a backdrop, imparting a sense of memory and legacy as symbolized by the branches of dried flowers. The coffee cup, bright and ready for use, also reminds the viewer that Robena is a contemporary participant, fulfilling her role as one of the next links in the Malicoat chain.

Michael Mazur (1935-2009)
Rocks and Water, 2002
Monotype on paper
Albert Merola Gallery
Born in New York City, Michael Mazur obtained his formal training in painting and printmaking at Amherst College and Yale University, then went on to teach at a number of distinguished institutions, including Brandeis University, Harvard University, and the Rhode Island School of Design. He and his wife -- poet Gail Mazur -- made their way to Provincetown in the late 1980s, drawn to the "company of artists, a sense of tradition, the light, of course, a kind of egalitarianism, and the sense of a shared spirit." Thereafter, Mazur joined Long Point Gallery and continued teaching, this time at the Fine Arts Work Center.
Although Mazur was known for his stylistic experimentation, his devotion to landscapes and nature remained constant throughout his career. Even the animated gestures and bold colors inspired by the Abstract Expressionists that are often seen in Mazur's work are ultimately references to nature rather than to autonomous abstract forms, concepts, or feelings.
The title of Rocks and Water points to the natural elements around which the work was based. Mazur was most celebrated for his printmaking, and this work of art exemplifies one of his favorite printing techniques - the monotype. Created by painting on a non-absorbent surface and then pressing the pigment onto paper, the monotype constitutes a single, unique image. Rocks and Water -- which belongs to a larger series -- reflects Mazur's interest in line as the foundation of his nature-inspired abstraction.
George McNeil (1909-1995)
Pamplona, 1960
Oil on paper mounted on panel
ACME Fine Art and Design
George McNeil's sixty-year career encompassed visually striking and culturally significant styles that have influenced the history of American art. McNeil's time in Provincetown proved instrumental in his artistic development. In 1936, McNeil was appointed class monitor and official assistant under Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) -- a role that familiarized McNeil with Hofmann's aesthetic theories. During that same year, McNeil and his fellow artists founded the American Abstract Artists, an organization committed to promoting abstract art.
Like many of Hofmann's students, McNeil ultimately turned away from pure non-objectivity in favor of a hybridized form of figuration and abstraction. In the 1950s, McNeil abandoned Hofmann's theories for color-based divisions of space and form-generated meaning. Fellow Days Lumberyard artist Lillian Orlowsky (1914-2007) described McNeil, "He expressed human emotions and aesthetic responses . . . George has all the emotions; he is like a Beethoven." As seen in Pamplona, the vague form of a figure emerges amongst the array of abstract patches, the bright colors and thick, textured layers of paint create a tumultuous surface.

Joel Meyerowitz (b. 1938)
Roseville Cottages, Truro, 1976
Chromogenic print
Courtesy of the artist and
Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York
Born in New York City, Joel Meyerowitz is one of the preeminent photographers associated with Provincetown. He began his career in 1962 working as a street photographer in the tradition of Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) and Robert Frank (b. 1924). In the 1970s, he traveled to Provincetown to produce a body of work that would become his first book, Cape Light. It has since gained the status of a "classic" because of its role in affirming the potential of color photography as a fine art medium.
Part of what turned Meyerowitz's camera lens toward Provincetown was the opportunity to tease out beauty from a landscape that lacked the grand splendor of the American West -- for example, Yosemite National Park or the Grand Canyon. However, the renowned Cape Cod light diffused across a relatively simple terrain offered exactly the kind of subtle beauty Meyerowitz was looking to capture.
In Roseville Cottages, Truro, the plain, yellow, cottage facades and their hilly, somewhat barren surroundings act as the backdrop to the main subject of the photograph: light. The work is a study of three different types of light and their respective "spheres" -- incandescent light guiding the entry into the domestic space, fluorescent light illuminating the public space of the telephone booth, and, of course, the famous natural Provincetown light. The vivid color and serene, timeless quality of the photograph are the results of Meyerowitz's use of long exposure. Despite the harsh, neon green light emitting from the telephone booth in the center of the composition, the pinkish purple dusk sky dominates the scene.

Richard E. Miller (1875-1943)
Boat and Horses, n.d.
Oil on board
Collection of the Town of Provincetown
Courtesy of the Provincetown Art Commission
Richard E. Miller was born in Missouri and studied at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts and the Académie Julian in Paris. After completing his schooling, Miller lived in France until the onset of World War I. While abroad, he joined the American Impressionist movement and worked with the Giverny Group -including Frederick Carl Frieseke (1874-1939) and Guy Rose (1867-1925) - in close proximity to Claude Monet (1840-1926).
After returning to the United States in 1916 and briefly teaching at the Stickney School in California, Miller and his wife became permanent residents of Provincetown. Miller brought a fresh vision to the colony, demonstrating a "masterful ability with color." Boat and Horses, a depiction of a turn-of-the-century Provincetown scene, uses a subdued palette and brushwork that is more refined compared to the works Miller produced in France. While the painting depicts an act of intense labor, it still exudes a quiet calm.
Ross Moffett (1888-1971)
Prison Riot, 1930
Oil on canvas
Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Gift of Robert Kingsbury (1985.819)
Ross Moffett attended the Art Institute of Chicago and, upon graduating in 1913 immediately moved to Provincetown where he lived and worked for over half a century. Moffett painted the beaches, harbors, and people of the colony with energy and empathy and captured the spirit of the town through his revolutionary Modern approach.
Through bold initiatives such as the petition of the Provincetown Art Association, Moffett established himself as one of the most important American artists of his generation. His paintings, noticed for their individuality Modernist principles, were exhibited in almost every major art institution in the country from 1920-1940.
Moffett's style was one of intense personal focus and emotion, which he paired with an orderly, abstract composition. He was interested in the relationship between, and incorporation of, the figure into the abstraction of the landscape. He chose not to portray figures as individuals but rather as archetypes.
Moffett's Prison Riot represents his focus on the monumentality of the figure in a landscape. The work is a combination of the representational and the abstract, which balance as a result of the dynamic composition and restrained color palette. He used the subject of prisoners to create figures that, in the context of their setting, serve as the jagged remains of society. He juxtaposed this symbol of degeneration with the imposing architecture of the buildings, towering above mankind. This painting depicts Moffett's unique philosophical approach to Modernism, one that was continually evolving with his personal exploration.
Ross Moffett (1888-1971)
Provincetown View, ca. 1929-32
Oil on Canvas
New Britain Museum of American Art
Gift of Olga H. Knoepke (1992.39)
In 1927 Ross Moffett wrote and circulated a petition with Tod Lindenmuth (1885-1976) that resulted in a "separate modernist exhibition" at the Provincetown Art Association. The aim was to alliviate tension between abstract and representational artists by providing equal opportunity for both groups to exhibit their work.
Moffet's paintings primarily depict the life and landscapes of Provincetown, and his work is celebrated for its individuality in his incorporation of the Modernist approach, as seen in Provincetown View. Here we see a group amongst the dunes of Gull Hill, a location Moffett features in other works. Provincetown View creates a strong sense of place, showing a solid earth and vast sky in a poetic world of bleak strength in which the forms and restrained colors speak to human fate. Color is a unifying element of the painting, while the group of figures counterbalance and offset the smokestack of the power plant and buildings. Although this is not the exact location of the power plant, Moffett used elements interchangeably that were central to the daily fishing life of the community.
The women and child in the work are humble archetypes of sturdy characters. Moffett's figures are unique, and they appear to be stooping as if the sky were too low or they too big for the world. Long Point Light is visible at the horizon, creating a focal point which establishes perspective, and the horizontal and vertical planes convey a design of natural rhythms that draw the eye from left to right and back again over the figures, smokestack, wharf, and sea-side buildings. The work demonstrates Moffett's eye for Cubism in color, form, and design.
A special thank you to Josephine C. Del Deo, Ross Moffett and Provincetown authority and historian, for her assistance with the research on this painting.
Robert Motherwell (1915­1991)
Elegy with Opening, 1984
Acrylic polymer and charcoal on canvas
New Britain Museum of American Art
Museum purchase (Charles F. Smith Fund) and Gift of the Dedalus Foundation (1995.09)
Born in Aberdeen, Washington, painter and writer Robert Motherwell played a pivotal role in the development of twentieth-century art. He first came to Provincetown in 1942, when it was becoming an important summer center for the first generation of Abstract Expressionists. Among them, Motherwell was by far the most involved and devoted to the colony. Through his interest in French Symbolist poetry, Spanish culture, and Surrealism, Motherwell linked Provincetown to not only the leading American art movement at the time, but also to the European Avant-Garde. In the early 1960s, he shared a studio with his wife, artist Helen Frankenthaler (b. 1928) at Days Lumberyard -- a building that later became the home of the Fine Arts Work Center, which Motherwell helped establish. As one of the founding members of Long Point Gallery, he was also instrumental in elevating the gallery to a high level of prominence and prestige.
Elegy with Opening is the product of spirited application of paint mixed with an element of automatism. Ultimately, Motherwell emphasized the importance of process rather than the end result when making an art work. While Elegy with Opening resists literal translation, its large and menacing oval shapes correspond loosely to "elegy," or the expression of sorrow and grief for the dead. Vivid interruptions of color within an otherwise black canvas create both visual contrast and metaphysical tension between life and death.
Seong Moy (b. 1921)
Abstract Visit, 1948
Color woodcut, 2nd edition, (21/30)
ACME Fine Art and Design
Seong Moy, born in Canton, China, is one of the most important American woodcut printers. After leaving China at the age of ten to live with relatives in St. Paul, Minnesota, Moy began making a name for himself in the American art scene. By the age of fourteen, he was enrolled in a Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project School and in 1941, Moy was awarded a scholarship to study at the Art Students League in New York. At the League, Moy chose to study under Vaclav Vytlacil (1892-1984) and Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) simultaneously. Vytlacil was himself a former student of Hofmann.
In 1946, his former teacher from Minnesota, Cameron Booth (1892-1980), rented a studio in Provincetown and invited Moy to visit for the summer. Despite his love for New York, Moy grew to appreciate the Cape where, ten years later, he returned to begin teaching each summer. Following the lead of Hofmann, he opened the Seong Moy School of Painting and Graphic Arts in 1954 and taught there for twenty years.
Moy's work from his early period is characterized by non-objective forms that consume the majority of the composition. Moy negotiated space with a linear tracery that may recall his background in Chinese drawing and calligraphy. Like Hofmann, Moy seems to hint at an underlying adherence to reality, or nature, typified by Abstract Visit. Though the print lacks any obvious narrative or figurative source, the balance and tension between the constructed layers and carved forms create a natural harmony typical of Hofmann's "push-pull" theory.

B.J.O. Nordfeldt (1878-1955)
Boats, 1906
Color woodblock print
Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Gift of Mrs. B.J.O Nordfeldt (1973.401)
Born in Tullstorp, Sweden, B.J.O.(Bror Julius Olsson) Nordfeldt came to the United States at the age of thirteen. Throughout both World Wars, Nordfeldt lived in New York and Provincetown, where he co-founded the Modern School of Art. Nordfeldt is also credited with the invention of the white-line woodblock print technique in 1915, along with the Provincetown Printers. According to Ada Gilmore Chaffee (1893-1955), a member of the Printers, "[Nordfeldt] soon became impatient with the mechanical labor of cutting so many blocks of wood . . . before he could express his idea; one day he surprised the others by exhibiting one block, with his complete design on that, instead of parts of it being cut on five or six blocks. He had cut a groove in the wood to separate each color, and in printing this left a white line which emphasized the design." Unlike the previous methods that required multiple blocks, the white-line allowed artists to work with flat planes, hard-edge geometry, and color relationships, putting the emphasis on composition and color development rather than carving techniques.
While in Provincetown, the artist produced prints such as Boats, which accurately captured the nautical culture of a typical New England port. His style consisted of flat, independent color combined with dense and strongly outlined forms, which create a substantial unity between figures and landscape. Nordfeldt greatly contributed to the legacy of the colony and embraced the progressive artistic values of the Modern era through active participation and innovation.
Lillian Orlowsky (1914-2007)
Untitled (Abstract), ca. 1950s
Oil on canvas
New Britain Museum of American Art
Gift of The Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed Foundation (2010.100)
Lillian Orlowsky, born and raised in Manhattan, boasted an extensive and diverse artistic education from the Educational Alliance, National Academy of Design, American Artist School, and the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts. It was her time with Hofmann (1880-1966), however, from 1937-1947 that most influenced her abstractions. Orlowsky claimed that Hofmann taught her how to see, stating, "I became aware of nature that went beyond the surface appearances of a two-dimensional picture plane."
After marrying William Freed (1902-1984) in 1942, Orlowski moved permanently to Provincetown with Freed. Her work from this time is characterized by the deconstruction of the large, solid forms and a more aggressive application of paint. Her palette lightened as rosy, light hues took over the more traditional primaries and bold pigmentation typical of Hofmann. As seen in Untitled (Abstract), these softer color swatches composed of smaller individual units replaced the earlier, more sculptural forms. Her painting appears to have a white glaze over the flowering colors, evoking the harmony of composition and fluidity of forms that embody Hofmann's "push-pull" theory.
Frequently acknowledged as one of Hofmann's closest friends and protégés, Orlowsky always spoke highly and affectionately of Provincetown, citing the "camaraderie and social and cultural exchange among the artists there."

Anne Packard (b. 1933)
Dory, 2001
Oil on canvas
Courtesy of the Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dennis, Massachusetts
Anonymous gift (2009.9.62)
Anne Packard is a third generation Provincetown painter. Originally from Hyde Park, New Jersey, she began spending summers on Cape Cod as a young child, eventually becoming a full-time resident in 1977. Initially a self-taught artist, later in life Packard studied at Bard College and with Provincetown painter Philip C. Malicoat (1908-1981). She considers herself a "traditional" artist like her grandfather, Max Bohm (1868-1923), a turn of the century Impressionist painter who came to Provincetown in 1916. While Packard maintains that she was never a formal member of the art colony or its various institutions, her ongoing interest in capturing the spirit of Provincetown confirms her connection -- both personal and artistic -- to the historic town. In fact, she and her artist children run the local Packard Gallery.
Packard has made a career of painting dunes, open skies, calm seas, and endless stretches of sand. She tends to use soft colors to capture minimal landscapes, creating works that exude a serene and meditative feeling. In Dory, a single boat is shown resting along a low-tide beach, quietly melting into the union of water, land, and air. As Packard herself explains, "When I paint a boat, it's not a painting of just a boat. The boat is my vehicle to get to this feeling I have -- I love boats -- less is more. And the mood -- it's the mood I seem to paint over and over. It's solitary, it's not lonely." Thus, for Packard, the states and forms of nature become metaphors for the inner, emotional world -- both personal and universal.
William McGregor Paxton (1869-1941)
Portrait of R.H. Ives Gammell, 1925
Oil on canvas
Private Collection
William McGregor Paxton first traveled to Provincetown in 1911 from Boston and set up a seasonal studio. Already an accomplished painter, Paxton had studied in Madrid and Paris and exhibited extensively in Pennsylvania, where he was dubbed the "court painter of Philadelphia." Known primarily for his figurative paintings depicting idealized images of the female form, Paxton's connection with the art colony was through his relationship with R.H. Ives Gammell (1893-1981).
Gammell was strongly attracted to Paxton's range of art technique and expertise. It is Paxton whom Gammell credited with teaching him the sight-size and drawing methods he would use throughout his artistic career. In Portrait of R.H. Ives Gammell the teacher has chosen his student for his subject and model. Gammell is portrayed simply and austerely, illuminated by a light source unseen by the viewer, an artistic device often used by Paxton in his portraits. His chin cleft and receding hairline give him an individualistic persona, imbued with life and awareness.
Paxton and Gammell remained close friends from 1915 when Gammell started his training until Paxton's death. While Gammell advocated for a traditional approach in the art colony during the mid-twentieth century, it was Paxton's influence that inspired his student to pursue a representational tradition during the wave of abstraction.
William McGregor Paxton (1869-1941)
Umbrella Shade, ca. 1910
Color drypoint and softground etching
Collection of Helen and Napi Van Dereck
At an early age, William McGregor Paxton studied under Dennis Miller Bunker (1861-1890) in Boston as well as under Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904) in Paris. Upon his return to the United States in 1893, Paxton became a prominent artist within the "Boston School," whose artists were heavily influenced by the Impressionists in France. Paxton experimented with numerous media and subject matter, eventually developing his signature depictions of idealized upperclass Bostonian women in luxurious settings. Because of his ability to precisely manipulate lights and darks, as well as his compositions which repeatedly depicted women within an enigmatic interior space, he has often been referred to as the "American Vermeer."
In 1904, Paxton's Boston studio burned down, which destroyed over one hundred canvases and sketches. After the disaster, Paxton taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, from 1906-1914. It was during this pivotal transition period that Paxton and his wife began spending summers in Provincetown. They would return to the seaside colony throughout their lives, and inspired many Boston artists to follow suit.
Paxton was in Italy around the time that Umbrella Shade was completed. Inspired by the summer, seaside lifestyle he experienced both abroad and in Provincetown, Paxton chose to depict a model leisurely reclining along the shore. The model's positioning of the umbrella as a direct shield against the sun connotes the blinding quality of the light that surrounded her. Paxton translates this brightness into color, giving the work itself a glowing, luminous feel.
Jim Peters (b. 1945)
Bed Tent, 2010
Conte, photograph (in collaboration with Kathline Carr), gouache, oil on primed cardboard
artSTRAND Gallery, Provincetown, MA & ACA Galleries, New York, NY
Originally from Syracuse, New York, Jim Peters studied physics and nuclear engineering prior to his professional involvement in the arts. It was during his service on the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy that he first began to paint. He became acquainted with Provincetown in the early 1980s, when he was awarded a fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center, whose Visual Arts Committee he later chaired. Currently working and residing in Rhode Island, Peters maintains a connection to Provincetown as a member of artSTRAND, a collective contemporary art gallery which he helped found in 2005.
Throughout his career, Peters has continued to investigate relationships between men and women as the thematic foundation for much of his art. The nude -- which frequents many of his canvases -- primarily attests to human vulnerability rather than eroticism. In Bed Tent, Peters incorporates a photograph of a female nude (modeled by his wife Kathline) into an otherwise painted and drawn picture. The work presents a contorted figure in a state of either distress or repose stretched out across a bed in a dark and bare room. While the scene offers potential for narrative, Peters avoids laying out specific storylines, allowing the viewer to freely interpret the emotional mood of his paintings and offer his or her own scenarios.

Jack Pierson (b. 1960)
Self Portrait #6, 2003
Pigment print
New Britain Museum of American Art
Charles F. Smith Fund (2005.121)
Internationally acclaimed photographer Jack Pierson was a Visual Art Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown in 1993 -- the same year he participated in the Whitney Biennial for the first time. Immediately following, Pierson was featured in "American Dreaming,"also at the Whitney. Comparing his work to the paintings of Edward Hopper (1882-1967) -- another Outer Cape artist -- the exhibition juxtaposed two distinct visions of daily life in America.
Pierson is known for dealing with sexuality, identity, and memory, and each of his monumental snapshots takes a nondescript subject and elevates it to an important, yet undefined, status. A self-labeled conceptual artist, he uses the photograph as a form of personal memory and creates a mythology focused on unidentified, attractive men who represent the artist himself, his friends, and his lovers.
In 2004 Pierson exhibited once more at the Whitney Biennial. He selected the Self Portrait series, comprised of fifteen snapshots of nude and seminude men at various stages of life all bearing the title Self Portrait. Interestingly, none actually depict the artist himself. They allegorically narrate his development from an innocent youth to the various stages of sexual maturity. By fictionalizing the documentation of his own life and visually constructing a new identity, Pierson questions the role of the photograph as a representation of reality.
It is common for Pierson's art to reflect his feelings regarding contemporary gay culture. As Pierson lives and works between New York, California, and Provincetown, it is safe to assume that the art colony's development of its own international gay identity contributed to Pierson's internal investigations.
Jackson Pollock (1912-1956)
T.P's Boat in Menemsha Pond, ca. 1934
Oil on tin
New Britain Museum of American Art
Gift of Thomas P. Benton (1973.113)
Jackson Pollock crossed paths with many other stars of the American art world. Hans Hofmann's School of Fine Arts became a leading resource for budding abstract artists including Pollock's wife-to-be, Lee Krasner (1908-1984). In 1942, Krasner introduced Hofmann (1880-1966) and Pollock, and the meeting resulted in a fiery clash. After observing Pollock's work, Hofmann remarked, "You work by heart, not from nature," to which Pollock responded, "I am nature!"
Though Hofmann's "push-pull" theory might not have resonated with Pollock, the energy, motion and inner forces of nature concerned Pollock from the very beginning of his career, as seen in this early example, T.P's Boat in Menemsha Pond. Captivated by Surrealism and the question of the unconscious, Pollock's early work seems to be an exploration of the complexities of his personal depression and anxiety. A similar fascination with the psyche is also apparent in the traces of the romantic-mystic in the canvases of Thomas Hart Benton(1889-1975), his instructor. Completed in 1934 during a visit to Benton's house on Martha's Vineyard, T.P's Boat serves as an example of Pollock's early ventures in Abstract Expressionism, depicting lateral movement and narrative. It captures a glimpse of nature and of Pollock's inner anguish, as the deep hues and swirling strokes seem to devour the figurative elements.
This painting connects Martha's Vineyard to Provincetown, two locales which share a love of art and culture. Many artists, including Hofmann students Selina Trieff (b. 1934) and Robert Henry (b. 1933), spent time in both communities.
Sky Power (b. 1951)
Beyond the Horizon, 2009
Oil on panel
Courtesy of Berta Walker Gallery
In 1976, Sky Power decided that Provincetown was in need of a horse and carriage company so she moved there to start one. Although she has painted since high school, Power ventured to Cape Cod because she was drawn to the ocean, small town, growing business prospects, and gay community.
Since 2003, Power has been the Managing Director at Berta Walker Gallery, an esteemed institution that features both contemporary and past masters. Through this venue, she became intimately familiar with the colony's legacy. "When you are around work by great artists," she says, "you learn from them tremendously just by seeing it and studying it." Power experienced a rush of creativity and swell of exhibitions in the past eight years, demonstrating her ability to turn a century of artistic energy into fuel for her own inspiration.
Power's dreamscapes are abstract representations of her internal "weather" at a given moment. As clearly seen in Beyond the Horizon, the rolling waves, veils of haze, and distant vistas of the Cape are powerful sources of aesthetic stimulation. With thinned layers of oil paint, she explores the "link between the inner and the outer" in her canvases. Heavily influenced by the Fauves, Power uses bold tonal juxtapositions and intense luminosity to imbue her work with a sense of internal conflict.
Due to her involvement with the community and camaraderie with local arts, Power developed the feeling that she "is totally connected . . . part of the history, the string from way back." The continuum of artists coming to Provincetown, learning, developing, and inspiring a subsequent generation is something Power hopes to perpetuate. Her work, which so precisely taps into the human spirit, also demonstrates the communal spirit of Provincetown itself.
Daniel Ranalli (b. 1946)
Snail Drawing: Double Line #2, 2007
Photographic diptych: archival inkjet print
Gallery Kayafas-Boston, MA
Daniel Ranalli's walks on Cape Cod beaches inspired work that was directly related to the delicate ecology and departed from his preceding abstractions. However, he creates Cape-inspired artwork that neither relies on the artistic traditions of Provincetown nor reproduces clichéd Cape Cod vistas. Instead, he focuses on series of photographs that recount a "personal natural history."
Ranalli has pursued an "active collaboration with natural forces." He blends the elements that rule the Cape with his tradition of abstract mark making to create "interventions" within the environment. The resulting photographs capture various natural cycles infused with elements of serendipity. For example, Double Line #2 from the Snail Drawing series documents his experimentation with a sea creature's basic instincts. After forming two parallel lines of snails, Ranalli took a photograph and then waited fifteen minutes. He documented them again, this time capturing the snails' random movements which etched the surface of the beach with designs.
Ranalli not only depicts the timeless, elemental movements of the sea, but also documents how random human interaction with these forces disrupts natural cycles. By collaborating with nature, Ranalli produces a personal yet environmental reaction to the beauty of the Cape that is completely original. His interest in natural history and concern for the future raises the awareness of new ways to find inspiration in a landscape that has been reproduced thousands of times. It also highlights the need to protect that very source. Ranalli spends time in the colony's traditional dune shacks whenever he can, which he claims are"an escape, like Provincetown was in general in 1899."

Paul Resika (b. 1928)
Fanfare, 1989
Oil on canvas
Courtesy of Berta Walker Gallery
Paul Resika was born into a lively art scene in New York City. He first studied under former Provincetown artist Sol Wilson (1894-1974) at the Art Students League from 1940 to 1944 and then flourished under the tutelage of Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) from 1945 to 1947 in New York and Provincetown.
Typical of Hofmann's students, Resika developed his own unique language of abstraction. Yet unlike most of Hofmann's students, he did not adopt Abstract Expressionism or, later, Pop and Minimal Art. Instead, after studying the Old Masters' use of light and color in Venice, Resika emerged with a distinctly subdued and deceptively simplistic style. By the 1980s, upon returning to America, he settled into his signature style in views of the boats, cottages, and harbors of Provincetown. The lasting influence of the Cape would continue to populate his canvases, characterized by sumptuous color within an unyielding structure.
Resika's oeuvre is largely indebted to Hofmann's mediation between Cubist volumes and the vibrant palette of the Fauves. Additionally, the simple geometric forms and patches of built-up color are reminiscent of Paul Cezanne's (1839-1906) rich landscapes of the south of France (where Resika vacations regularly each spring). Fanfare exhibits a limited palette and intersecting horizontal and vertical lines that feature Provincetown's Pilgrim Monument and humble cottages. These elements partition and interlace the piece with the shoreline, creating a harmonious and calming composition that celebrates the vibrant art colony.
Margery Ryerson (1886-1989)
Commercial Street, 1915
Oil on board
Collection of Helen and Napi Van Dereck
Margery Ryerson, who traced her lineage to early Dutch settlers, belonged to a family of artists and art aficionados. After graduating from Vassar College in 1909, Margery went to Provincetown to study under Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930).
The training she received proved essential in shaping Ryerson's future endeavors, and Commercial Street was created during this important moment of transition in her career. Her use of vibrant color and sketchy, quick brushwork points to Impressionist influences, and serves to convey the light, energy, and lively spirit of Provincetown's main street. The painting also demonstrates the early stages of Ryerson's exploration of the subject of children, which would ultimately become her lifelong focus. Beginning in the 1920s, Ryerson taught art in a New York settlement house, where she began painting and drawing working class and immigrant children. Encouraged by Robert Henri (1865-1929), Ryerson would go on to create a socially-conscious body of work that captured the childhood experience of New York City's underprivileged with immense sensitivity.
A practicing artist for over eighty years, Ryerson was also one of the many women to dramatically impact the Provincetown colony during the early twentieth century. She edited and published several books detailing Henri and Hawthorne's teachings, including Hawthorne on Painting.
Ben Shahn (1898-1969)
Portrait, ca. 1926
Oil on canvas
Private collection
Courtesy of ACME Fine Art and Design
Born in Russia, Ben Shahn immigrated to Brooklyn, New York, with his family when he was eight years old. He attended New York University and the College of the City of New York until he left to study at the National Academy of Design, while working as a lithographer to support himself. In the mid-twenties Shahn traveled to Europe and North Africa and as early as 1925 bought a summer home in Truro, Provincetown's neighboring village. Shahn's family currently occupies the house.
In the summers of 1930-31, photographer and friend Walker Evans (1903-1975) visited Truro and was inspired by the Portuguese fishing village nearby. In return, Shahn was inspired by Evans' photographs that captured detail, identity, and narrative. Shahn saw in Evans' photographs something that his paintings lacked: specificity and detail. As a result, Shahn's style began to shift. In 1930, dissatisfied with the direction of his work, he began to paint what would be later known as some of the finest works of Social Realism. His works were included in the Provincetown Art Association's "Modern" exhibition in 1932 alongisde Hans Hofmann (1880-1966).
Shahn executed numerous figure studies in the late 1920s which included portraits of friends such as Evans and reveal the range of styles with which Shahn experimented. In Portrait, the broad brush strokes and area of bright color on the model's cheek are arranged in decorative patterns and bring to mind portraits executed by Henri Matisse (1869-1954). The dissolution of the figure into the background is reminiscent of Matisse; however, Shahn's colors are somber browns, yellows, blacks, and greens.
Charles Sheeler (1883-1965)
Bucolic Landscape #2, 1958
Tempera on board
New Britain Museum of American Art
Charles F. Smith Fund (1976.03)
Like many of his contemporaries, Charles Sheeler traveled to Paris after completing his studies in the United States. Upon his return in 1912, Sheeler decided to practice photography in an effort to gain commercial success. His experience with photography and interest in painting combined to produce his own version of Precisionism. As a self-proclaimed Precisionist, the artist blended the sharp focus of realism with hard-edged design. He was interested in industrial subjects and glorified the American experience through modern, abstract images of factories and barns.
Sheeler's use of taut and precise balance, crisp outlines, machine-smooth surfaces, and high clarity of form is embodied in works such as Bucolic Landscape #2. This painting was completed in the last decade of the artist's life and utilized a nostalgic style similar to his earlier works of the 1920s and '30s. It represented a Cubist-inspired depiction of architecture in flat, overlapping, smooth two-dimensional patterns. Sheeler's geometric, abstract visions of American architecture idealized American industry.
Sheeler was friends with Charles Demuth (1883-1935) and Marsden Hartley (1877-1943), two notable Modernists who also found solace and inspiration in Provincetown. He was connected to George Ault (1891-1948) and Niles Spencer (1893-1952), both of whom were Precisionists who frequented the town with associates of photographer and Modern art advocate Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946), and had connections to the Provincetown Players. Spencer himself lived in Provincetown for over a decade at the start of his career.
Sidney Simon (1917-1997)
Headstand, 1994
Black walnut
Courtesy of the Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dennis, Massachusetts
Gift of the Estate of Sidney Simon (2007.16.1)
Sidney Simon was the only original member of Long Point Gallery to work primarily as a sculptor, using wood, terracotta, and bronze. A Pittsburgh native, Simon received his formal training at the University of Pennsylvania as well as at other distinguished institutions. After serving in the Army Corps of Engineers as captain in charge of organizing war artists, Simon remained committed to representational painting. It was not until the mid-1950s that he turned to sculpture and began to swim along the postwar, Abstract Expressionist currents of art. In the 1960s, he revisited figuration, this time in three dimensions. Throughout the rest of his career, Simon's work continued to oscillate between abstraction and representation.
Simon summered in Provincetown for many years, and was known for the humor and wit he brought to the tight-knit community of artists at Long Point. He was a master of puns -- a talent manifested in Headstand. The title of the work is a clever play on words that simultaneously refers to the inverted position of the carved figure and the base in which his head is lodged. By giving the work such a deadpan title, Simon cloaked the work in irony. The sculpture itself is a grotesque rendering of a nude and emaciated male whose head is trapped inside a block. It is unclear whether the "headstand" is an act of self-inflicted torture, intense concentration, or something else entirely.
Kathryn Lee Smith (b. 1953)
Ancestor Series: Dawn #3, 2009
White-line woodblock print
New Britain Museum of American Art
Gift of the artist (2011.02)
The white-line woodblock print is a staple medium of the Provincetown art colony and was invented there in 1915. Blanche Lazzell (1878-1956) became the master of this art form and began teaching it, offering her famous "five classes for five dollars." In 1950, a year after moving to the town, Ferol Sibley Warthen (1890-1986) took one such class and subsequently devoted her life to the technique.
Kathryn Lee Smith, Warthen's granddaughter, can remember sitting at the kitchen table working away at prints as early as age four. Smith returned to Provincetown in 1981 to study the white-line print with Warthen and claims, "this time, although I didn't know it then, set the course for the rest of my life." When she settled in Provincetown in 1988, Smith had resolved to devote her life -- as had Warthen -- to the study, practice, promotion, and instruction of the tradition.
In the last ten years, however, she has broken away from typical subjects to explore the limits of the medium and push it into the twenty-first century. One of the first printers to create abstract prints since Lazzell herself, Smith was recently inspired by dreams. The Ancestor Series was the result of an August 2007 dream that stressed the simplicity of design and use of direct, pure forms to depict prehistoric ancestral images.
Smith represents the culmination of a century of development of a unique and purely American technique. She offers a fresh, experimental take on the Provincetown white-line print without compromising the integrity and lineage of the medium. Both her new and her old work pay homage to the artistic trends that blossomed in Provincetown while retaining individuality, inspiring the next generation of white-line printers.

Theodoros Stamos (1922-1997)
Cathedral, 1949-1950
Oil on Masonite
New Britain Museum of American Art
General Purchase Fund (1992.01)
Born in New York City to Greek immigrant parents, Theodoros Stamos held his first one-man exhibition at the age of twenty and became the youngest of the eighteen-member group "The Irascibles" at twenty-seven. Boasting members such as Willem de Kooning (1904-1997), Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) and Jackson Pollock (1912-1956), "The Irascibles" protested against the Metropolitan Museum's "worship of art of the past to the almost total exclusion of art of the present." It is this fervor for Abstract Expressionism that Stamos brought to the art colony in Provincetown.
The Tirca Karlis Gallery featured the work of Stamos faithfully in its exhibitions. In 1959, Karlis mounted an exhibition showcasing forty drawings from her personal collection alongside eighteen works completed by Stamos. By this time, Stamos had become well-known as an artist and advocate for Abstract Expressionism, a status that was further solidified by Karlis' attention and promotion. In Cathedral, Stamos explored biomorphic imagery, seeking to define the underlying rhythm of nature. Stamos used earth tones in Cathedral to create undulating shapes, possibly denoting an abstract architectural image as suggested by the title.
Myron Stout (1908-1987)
Untitled, ca. 1951-53
Oil on canvas board
Private Collection,
Courtesy ACME Fine Art and Design
Myron Stout dramatically departed from Hans Hofmann's (1880-1966) teachings stylistically, while employing the same underlying philosophy. Hofmann's intention was to foster unique voices that, while adhering to certain fundamentals, would generate individual styles. Amidst the height of the Abstract Expressionist movement in both Provincetown and New York, Stout was able to retain a simple language of interacting geometric forms, recalling one of the most influential non-representational artists, Piet Mondrian (1872-1944).
Stout insisted that his subjects did not come from any remembered form, but rather, a personal encounter with nature translated into ethereal abstractions. He stated, "Having the true visual experience of nature is essential. It is what feeds you . . . Your imagination seizes on these things, and can go on from there."
Untitled appears compositionally tumultuous as the eye shifts to counteract the conflicting tones of red and yellow. Searching, one seeks to make sense of the piece by determining which interjecting prism slices through the other. The tensions between the slightly flexed shapes and strokes carry the weight of monumental conflict although at a glance it all looks utterly simple.
Stout settled in Provincetown in 1954, and remained in the art colony until his death. He spent his life in a small studio by the water, with the companionship of Provincetown's rich sand, sea, and sun -- the elements he then translated into pure abstractions.

Kenneth Stubbs (1907-1967)
Seaside Holiday, 1948
Casein on canvas
ACME Fine Art and Design
Kenneth Stubbs was born in Ochlocknee, Georgia, and began molding figures from clay in his early childhood. He was influenced by the Modernists in his late teens and twenties, and later by Cubists. Stubbs served in the Navy for three years, where he learned to design, write, and direct animated and live training films.
Stubbs studied at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C. and taught there for seventeen years both before and after World War II. He was highly influenced by Early Renaissance painter Piero della Francesca (1415-1492) and his Golden Ratio, a proportion that operates on the principle that all elements of the physical world are related to each other in linear length, shape, and color. Stubbs originally came to Provincetown as an art student in the 1930s, studying under E. Ambrose Webster (1869-1935), a founder of the Provincetown Art Association. He was also a member of the "Beachcombers of Provincetown," a group of artists and writers, established in 1916 who presented plays and musicals and held costume parties. Stubbs was a major figure in Provincetown for the next thirty years.
Seaside Holiday demonstrates geometric abstraction and Stubb's concern with flat or semi-flat patterns that depart from nature. He mastered the Cubist technique that led him to a controlled painting style, where bright colors and angular forms unite to create a sense of motion in the work. Seaside Holiday presents a stunning and colorful view of the Provincetown colony. The sea, quintessential New England cottages, and even the pulsing vitality of Provincetown are all captured in this painting.
Selina Trieff (b.1934)
Women in Hats, 1998
Oil and gold leaf on hypro
Courtesy of Berta Walker Gallery
Along with her husband Robert Henry (b. 1933), Selina Trieff was a student of Hans Hofmann (1880-1966). Eager to learn from the renowned teacher, both Henry and Trieff began their careers with an abstract style. Citing early influences such as Hofmann and Mark Rothko (1903-1970), Trieff gained a wealth of knowledge from some of the most prominent figures in mid-century American art. Her use of opulent color echoes Hofmann's teachings in the tradition of Abstract Expressionism, whereas her figurative subject matter recalls the earlier tendencies of European Expressionists.
Now in her seventies, Trieff has retired from overt abstraction. Her more recent canvases hybridize her abstract roots with an emphasis on theatrical portraits. Women in Hats features two figures painted in deep crimsons, seemingly frozen in space and time. Slightly departing from the Hofmann mantra of the "push-pull" theory, Trieff presents a rather static composition lacking tension and motion, in which the primary figures are solidly in place. Embellished with gold leaf, the contrasting green background forces the composition into the eye of the viewer. The figures' faces seem nearly identical, with piercing eyes, broad stylized noses, and turned-down lips -- all hallmark features of Trieff's portraits.
Distinguished for their lasting presence and influence on the art colony, both Henry and Trieff continue to leave their mark on the Provincetown community.
Jack Tworkov (1900-1982)
Untitled Q, 1980-81
Oil on canvas on board
ACME Fine Art and Design
Jack Tworkov grew up in New York City after his family left their hometown of Biala, Poland. Educated at Columbia University and the National Academy of Design -- where he studied with Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930) -- Tworkvov became a prominent painter, writer, and critic. Likely prompted by Hawthorne, his regular visits to Provincetown began in the 1920s. Later seeking a more "modern" instructive approach, Tworkov befriended Ross Moffett (1888-1971) and Karl Knaths (1891-1971). Tworkov remained a fixture in Provincetown until his death and was among the group of artists who founded the Fine Arts Work Center in 1964 in an effort to revitalize the creative fervor of the colony.
While he launched his career at the height of Abstract Expressionism, Tworkov hesitated to embrace the impulsive intensity typically associated with the movement. During the 1960s, Tworkov consciously began to imbue his paintings with a heightened sense of structure as a counterweight to the general state of unrest that colored the decade. Untitled Q is representative of Tworkov's rejection of the personal and the subconscious and his turn to the comfort of simplified geometry -- one of life's few universals.

Tabitha Vevers (b. 1957)
Shell Series: Pearlmaker, 2011
Oil and gold leaf on oyster shell
Courtesy of Clark Gallery
Shell Series: Safe Harbor, 2005
Oil and gold leaf on sea clam shell
Courtesy of Clark Gallery (collection of the artist)
Tabitha Vevers comes from a distinguished family of artists. Her father, Tony Vevers (1926-2008) and mother Elspeth Halvorsen (b. 1929) have been involved in the Provincetown art scene for more than fifty years. Tabitha cites both parents as sources of inspiration for her own work, claiming she inherited a "resourcefulness and sense of experimentation with materials" from her mother and a "sense of personal mythology" from her father.
Tabitha works in a distinct style that blends Old Master techniques with contemporary content. Organized into series, her paintings propose a different way of thinking about our relationships to the planet and to one another by tackling such diverse subjects as rape, sexuality, evolution, feminism, violence, genetics, and religion.
While she usually chooses her materials to correspond with a specific vision, Tabitha was surprised when the imagery for her recent Shell Series "grew out of the material itself." Research led her to erotic Japanese artwork, and she created her own mythology that explores relationships between women and sea creatures. Metaphors for man, the crustaceans examine various male roles, such as lover, protector, and adversary.
Like much of her work, Shell Series is set on the shore. Tabitha is constantly inspired by "the place where land meets the sea -- the known and the unknown, a source of life and a source of mystery." Provincetown, with its expanse of shoreline and depths of both personal and art history, is a constant source of inspiration. Her paintings expose the undercurrents of visual culture, and, therefore, of the colony itself.

Tony Vevers (1926-2008)
Hound Voice, 1961
Oil on canvas
Collection of the artist (estate)
Tony Vevers summered and worked in Provincetown for over half a century, constantly reinventing himself as an artist and making tremendous contributions to the development of the colony together with his wife, artist Elspeth Halvorsen (b. 1929). One of their daughters, Tabitha Vevers (b. 1957), is also a renowned painter whose practice has been colored by the work of her parents and shaped by inspiration drawn from Provincetown.
Born in England, Tony Vevers left for America at the outset of World War II. After serving in the US Army, he majored in painting and drawing at Yale University. In the 1950s, when Vevers first came to Provincetown, he exhibited at Sun Gallery, which was known for its loyalty to figuration and rejection of Abstract Expressionism, the dominant artistic current at the time. In the 1970s, however, Vevers was making nonobjective works, incorporating sand and found objects into his canvases and continued to work in abstraction during his years at Long Point Gallery, of which he was a founding member.
Hound Voice is a major work from Vevers' figurative period and shares its unusual mix of the domestic and the mythic with other paintings he made in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Painted in muted colors and using simplified, flat forms, Hound Voice depicts three male nudes surrounded by dogs and slain deer on a strip of sand. It owes its title to a W.B. Yeats poem which likens the excitement of a hunt to the kind of resurgence of energy that occurs when people experience an awakening.
Some day we shall get up before the dawn
And find our ancient hounds before the door,
And wide awake know that the hunt is on;
Stumbling upon the blood-dark tracks once more,
Then stumbling to the kill beside the shore;
Then cleaning out and bandaging of wounds,
And chants of victory amid the encircling hounds.
W.B. Yeats (1865-1939)
"Hound Voice" (final stanza)

Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
Man Ray, 1974
Acrylic polymer and silkscreen on canvas
New Britain Museum of American Art
Friends Purchase Fund (1979.084)
Known as the leading figure of Pop Art, Andy Warhol experienced the charm of the art colony in Provincetown. During the early 1950s, before Warhol became an internationally-recognized name, he spent time mingling and taking in the boisterous atmosphere of the town and frequented Ciro & Sal's Restaurant, run by Ciro Cozzi (b. 1921) and Salvatore Del Deo (b. 1928).
Warhol was known for creating images that question the fundamentals of style and composition, and elevating the silkscreen process into the arena of "fine art." One of his silkscreen portraits features the artist Man Ray (1890-1976), a leading proponent of the Dada movement. Commissioned in 1973 on the occasion of Ray's 85th birthday, Warhol's Man Ray aims to depict the essence of the artist through the use of color and shading. It is interesting to note that Ray was associated with Provincetown artists Jackson Pollock (1912-1956), Peter Busa (1914-1985), and Robert Motherwell (1915-1991). He also had a double wedding with noted collector Peggy Guggenheim and artist Max Ernst (1891-1976), who are connected to the colony. Ray himself traveled to Provincetown during his career, joining the long list of internationally acclaimed artists who have been present in the community.
Along with being exhibited at the Tirca Karlis Gallery, Warhol's work was featured in Provincetown at the Chrysler Museum of Art in 1967. Warhol visited the Gallery before becoming well-known, and Karlis's support of his work helped solidify his prominence both on and off the Cape.
Marcus Waterman (1834-1914)
Dune Landscape, n.d.
Oil on canvas
Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum
Marcus Waterman, a native of Rhode Island, was drawn from Brown University to New York City by his academic pursuits. He was particularly interested in landscape painting and traveled extensively -- from the forests of Europe to the deserts of Algiers and Morocco -- in order to experience different topographic extremes. Depicting exotic locations had become Waterman's passion by the time he returned to the United States to open a studio in Boston.
Waterman's extensive knowledge of New England's coastal landscapes led him to explore what was then the small, isolated village of Provincetown. Its sand dunes sparked Waterman's memories of northern Africa, with which he had fallen in love during his travels. Rather than crossing the Atlantic to paint the Sahara desert, Waterman decided to station his creative work in Provincetown. During periodic returns to his Boston studio, Waterman proclaimed the aesthetic allure of Provincetown with the declaration: "Come on down to the end of the Cape, and see one of the most remarkable places in the country."
Waterman's presence in Provincetown predated that of Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930) and certainly helped generate interest in the town. In Dune Landscape, Waterman highlights his favorite feature of the Provincetown landscape -- sand dunes -- through the use of contrast and color. The dunes possess a mesmerizing luminosity and warmth, drawing the eye into the distant horizon. It comes as no surprise that Waterman's ability to capture light was central to his success.
John Waters (b. 1946)
Providencetown, 2006
Chromogenic color print
Albert Merola Gallery
John Waters is a director, producer, actor, and screen writer who rose to fame in the 1970s with his transgressive cult films. He wrote and directed the 1988 film Hairspray, which has since been adapted into a Broadway musical and, in 2007, a musical film. Waters summers in Provincetown, but lives between New York, San Francisco, and Baltimore, Maryland, -- his hometown -- where his films are set.
Since the early 1990s, Waters has produced photography-based artwork and installations that have a keen sense of wit and play. They are exhibited both nationally and internationally, including at a 2004 retrospective at the New Museum in New York. Waters considers himself a conceptual artist, stating that "the craft is not the issue here. The idea is. And the presentation."
Stephen Borkowski, Chair of the Provincetown Art Commission, explains the "inside joke" of Providencetown:
"There could not be a more dissimilar place to Provincetown than Providence, Rhode Island. For some inexplicable reason -- probably due to the similarity in names -- we are often confused with it. This could explain why John Waters titled this piece 'Providencetown' as the town is sometimes referred to in error, often enough to make it a joke amongst those that consider themselves insiders.
A curator of the Musée d'Art Américain (now the Musée des Impressionnismes in Giverny), once referred to Provincetown in print as the 'artist colony in Provincetown, Rhode Island.' Such is our lot, or so it would seem; misidentified as a place in Rhode Island and lost to history . . . which allows you in on our secret joke."

Frederick Judd Waugh (1861-1940)
Breaking Surf, n.d.
Oil on canvas
New Britain Museum of American Art
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Prudden (2001.1)
Known for his passionate love of the ocean, Frederick Judd Waugh gained significant acclaim for his seascape paintings. The artist traveled extensively throughout his career after training at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts under Thomas Eakins (1844-1916). In 1896, Waugh wrote, "I began to concentrate my studies on wave forms, and it was at this time that my greatest ambition to paint the sea took possession of me." Waugh brought his excitement and international popularity (which, at the time, rivaled Picasso's) to Provincetown in 1928 and stayed until his death. Moving to the area to be near his children, Waugh constructed a personal residence and studio from driftwood, later purchased by Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) in 1946.
The photographic quality of Waugh's work is emphasized in Breaking Surf as the viewer is taken to the cliffs as the crashing waves abruptly meet dry land. While his style is distinct, Waugh was among a group of artists - including Winslow Homer (1836-1910) - who all focused on the depiction of the sea. Waugh expertly captured the mood of the ocean and the luminescent quality of the water through his dramatic use of light and shadow. As a Provincetown artist, Waugh scoured the coastline, making sketches of his subject matter. He would then translate these sketches, and others taken from his travels abroad, onto large canvases from memory.
The legacy left by Waugh echoed into the decades following his death. Fostering enthusiasm in the art colony by having regular social gatherings, Waugh's circle of writers and artists continued the tradition of cross influence between visual and literary visionaries.
E. Ambrose Webster (1869-1935)
View from the Studio, Provincetown, ca. 1919
Oil on canvas
Private Collection-Provincetown
E. Ambrose Webster was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, and worked as a commercial engraver while he studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston under Edmund Tarbell (1862-1938) and Frank Benson (1862-1951). Influenced by Claude Monet (1840-1926), Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), and Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Webster was one of the first American Fauvists.
Inspired by light and color, Webster moved to Provincetown upon his return from Paris in 1900. He immediately opened his Summer School of Painting, which rivaled Charles W. Hawthorne's own and was the first "modernist" school. Even though the press put Webster in Hawthorne's shadow, both were founding members of the Provincetown Art Association and played key roles in the development of the colony. In fact, Webster was among the artists displayed in the famous 1913 Armory show. He was also a successful teacher, lecturer, and officer of the Provincetown Art Association, and was admired as a visionary Modernist and innovator of color.
View from the Studio, Provincetown is Webster's second version of this scene, differing in palette and style from the first. Pale blue dominates the composition, with mustard-yellow as the contrasting color and orange highlighting the bushes, paths, and chimneys. The repeated pattern of angled roofs and rectilinear chimneys form the compositional basis. While this may appear to be a winter scene, some scholars believe it to be a summer study of Provincetown's blazing light and point to the sailboats in the harbor as evidence.

Agnes Weinrich (1873-1946)
Musical Abstraction, n.d.
Oil on board
Private Collection
Born on a prosperous farm in Iowa, Agnes Weinrich graduated from Burlington Institute College and continued her studies at Iowa Wesleyan College. In 1899, after her father's death, Agnes and her sister Helen traveled to Germany to study art and piano. In 1905, she returned to Chicago and studied for three years at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago under Ralph Clarkson (1861-1942), Frederick W. Freer (1849-1930), and John H. Vanderpoel (1857-1911). Inspired by Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) as well as Cubism in general, Weinrich was also impacted by the 1913 Armory Show in New York.
In 1914, the Weinrich sisters moved to Provincetown, where Agnes studied with Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930), and became close friends with Blanche Lazzell (1878-1956), who introduced her to the technique of the single-block color woodcut. Later that year, she enrolled in the Art Students League in New York. Weinrich was Karl Knaths' (1891-1971) sister-in-law and informal teacher, and was a proponent of the Modernist movement at the Provincetown Art Association. Along with Lazzell and Lucy L'Engle (1889-1978), Agnes organized and directed the New York Society of Women Painters in the 1920s and promoted Modernism in America.
Musical Abstraction reveals Agnes's experimentation with color and Cubism. Although flat, the geometric and multi-faceted areas of color break up the painted surface, evoking a musical instrument and the fractured nature of music itself.

John Whorf (1903-1959)
Untitled (Boats Along Wharf), 1925
Oil on canvas
Private Collection
John Whorf was born in Winthrop, Massachussetts, though his roots can be traced to Cape Cod, where his English ancestors settled in 1650. As a child, he spent many summers on the Cape, and when the School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston proved too rigid, the independent-minded Whorf decided to live full-time in Provincetown, which already had a reputation of being a vibrant center for artistic experimentation.
Having settled in Provincetown in 1917, Whorf studied under George Elmer Browne (1871-1946) as well as Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930), among others. When a fall left Whorf temporarily paralyzed at the age of eighteen, art became the ultimate outlet for his youthful energy. Upon his recovery, Whorf was eager to travel, ultimately choosing to continue his studies in Paris.
Untitled (Boats Along Wharf) was painted at the beginning of Whorf's public success, which was marked by his first solo show in 1924. Often referred to as "one of the most versatile American watercolorists of his generation," Whorf imbued even his oil paintings with the same spontaneous quality of freshness typically associated with the watercolor medium.
Nancy Whorf (1930-2009)
Green Trawler, n.d.
Oil on panel
Courtesy of Berta Walker Gallery
Mancy Whorf lived most of her life in Provincetown, as her family's artistic legacy is closely tied to the colony. Her father, John Whorf (1903-1959), introduced her to painting at a very young age. During her teen years, she worked at the gallery of the folk artist Peter Hunt (1896-1967), and went on to run a similar establishment of her own for almost two decades.
In 1949, Whorf enrolled in the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. It was there that she developed her own artistic vision: "I can't paint a pretty picture. I have to paint the truth I know," she proclaimed. That truth became Provincetown, and in the 1980s, Whorf turned her focus to capturing the colony. Rather than aiming to depict a technically accurate visual account, Whorf wanted to express a feeling and trigger an emotional response through her artwork.
For Whorf, art was not "a rarified thing confined to museums; it was what was talked about in the everyday course of life." Thus, she drew the subject matter for her work from her own lived experience. Green Trawler, a waterfront scene, expresses Whorf's love for Provincetown through its vibrant color palette. Although the influence of her father and other Provincetown greats such as George Elmer Browne (1871-1946) and Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930) is evident in this work, Whorf's daring, impassioned paint application serves as a declaration of her own singular style.

Bert Yarborough (b. 1946)
Night Light, 2008
Oil on canvas paper
artSTRAND Gallery
Born and raised in Miami, Bert Yarborough moved from Iowa City to Provincetown when he was named a Visual Arts Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in 1976. Over the next decade in Provincetown, he discovered the history of the colony. This period of research led him to find his own place in its legacy by forging connections with Provincetown legends, which he credits as "a crucial element" of his life.
Yarborough's unique mark-making style grew out of his intense study of line, geometry, and symmetry during his early training as an architect. Over the years, he says that he has "developed an iconography of suns, heads, birds, etc. from life in Provincetown." Yarborough uses these icons as individual marks on the canvas, replacing abstract lines with icons made of abstract lines.
At once figurative and abstract, Yarborough presents images that reference prehistoric times and the present, the body and the spirit, the animal and the human. This refraction is the direct result of his 1984 Fulbright Fellowship to study Yoruban carving traditions in Nigeria. Yarborough's "work is really about the polarities" between his experiences in the Provincetown art colony and his studies of traditional African tribal techniques. He appropriates icons that are weighted with millennia of history and, by using them as marks, gives them a blurred yet contemporary meaning. Night Light, for example, depicts a portrait rendered in abstract brushstrokes. The sun burns in a night sky - is this "night light" actually the moon? Yarborough merged these traditional symbols for the cycles of nature and male and female to create his own powerful iconography. By mining the visual history of Provincetown, Yarborough encourages the next generation of artists to study the colony's past and use it as a well of inspiration.

George Yater (1910-1993)
Self -Portrait, 1931
Oil on panel
Collection of John Dowd
George Yater grew up in Indiana and received artistic training at the Herron Art School in Indianapolis. He was inspired to travel to Provincetown because of the excitement surrounding Charles W. Hawthorne's (1872-1930) artistic genius and school. Yater arrived in 1931 -- the year after Hawthorne's death -- to take lessons with Henry Hensche (1901-1992), one of Hawthorne's protégés. Yater was one among the many artists relocating to Provincetown, collectively referred to as ". . . rivers running together, all flowing towards the sea."
Yater learned Hawthorne's principles from Hensche and put them to work when creating Self-Portrait. Yater avoided creating an idealized depiction, instead striving for a deeper truth. The robust figure is rough and worn, suggesting hard work, and Yater's use of a dark palette and Impressionistic brushwork further emphasize the labor involved in painting. Self-Portrait has the "no-glamour guts" approach that Hawthorne demanded: "Paint like an old tin can on the beach," he would say. In following this advice, students imbued their work with structure, honesty, and, most importantly, the commitment to conveying a clear inner vision.
Although he would later leave Provincetown to travel around Cape Cod and throughout the Virgin Islands, Yater forged influential friendships during the time spent in the colony. Furthermore, the lessons he learned from Hensche would stay with him for the remainder of his career.
Marguerite Thompson Zorach (1887-1968)
Interior of Tenth Street, 1921
Linoleum cut
Private Collection
Courtesy ACME Fine Art and Design
Born in Santa Rosa, California, Marguerite Thompson Zorach was an early exponent of the Modernist movement in America. She was one of a handful of women among many men. A true innovator, Zorach helped introduce the Fauvist and Cubist styles to the United States.
Marguerite Zorach's initiation into the European avant-garde scene commenced with a visit to Paris in 1908, where she attended the art school La Palette. After marrying William Zorach (1887-1966) in 1912, Marguerite and her husband returned to the United States, where the couple exhibited works in the famous 1913 Armory Show in New York. Known as the first exhibit of Modern Art in America, the 1913 Armory displayed the works of over 300 avant-garde artists from Europe and America. The couple spent four summers in Provincetown (1916, and 1921-23) where they founded the Modern School of Art, and Marguerite painted alongside other visionaries such as Blanche Lazzell (1878-1956) and practiced Cubist techniques.
Interior of Tenth Street is an example of the geometric aesthetic that Zorach adopted and developed. The image is most likely a self-portrait with her daughter Dahlov in their Manhattan apartment. William completed a sculpture of their daughter in that same year, also on view in this exhibition. Mother and daughter are depicted in a city interior with a strong graphic basis. By shifting the picture plane and flattening the space, Zorach suggests a Cubist approach similar to that of Lazzell as well as other Modernists. The linoleum cut technique reinforces the simplicity of the composition and the stark geometry characteristic of Cubism.
William Zorach (1887-1966)
Young Girl (Dahlov), 1921
New Britain Museum of American Art
Charles and Elizabeth Buchanan Collection (1989.49)
William Zorach went to Paris in 1910-11 where he met his wife, artist Marguerite Thompson (1887-1968), while taking classes at La Palette. Like Marguerite, William was interested in Cubism and embraced Modernist artistic methods. William, along with Marguerite, exhibited at the important 1913 Armory Show in New York.
William and Marguerite spent their summers in Provincetown where they founded the Modern School of Art in 1916 with B.J.O. Norfeldt (1878-1955). The new school contributed to Provincetown's reputation as "the biggest art colony in the world" as it was labelled by the Boston Globe that same year.
Zorach was an exponent of direct carving as opposed to plaster casting, and his technique was characterized by a strong understanding of materials combined with a figurative style. Young Girl (Dahlov) is a sculpture of his daughter who was four years old at the time. Interestingly, Dahlov is also portrayed in Marguerite's print of the same year, included in this exhibition. The sculpture shows Zorach's interest in Aztec and Mayan art which he emulated through the exaggeration and distortion of the figure. This non-Western approach favored a less naturalistic interpretation of the figure and emphasized the most unique characteristics of the model in an abstracted and geometrical style.
Zorach's work was influenced by the prominent artistic movements of the time such as Cubism and Expressionism; however, he departed from painting, and in doing so created sculptures that remain true testaments to the power of early American Modernism.

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