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Envisioning New England: Treasures from Community Art Museums

November 13, 2004 - February 27, 2005


Forty-seven of the best oil paintings from the collections of fourteen of the region's premier community art museums will be on view at Cape Museum of Fine Arts through February 27, 2005. Work from a number of emblematic artists are featured, from George Bellows and Thomas Hart Benton to Grandma Moses and Childe Hassam. Major trends in American art are represented, including the Hudson River School, Impressionism, Tonalism, and Realism. Cape Museum of Fine Arts is represented in the show by George Grosz's Driftwood (1948), oil on canvas, and Arthur Diehl's Provincetown Harbor (c.1920, oil on board.

This traveling exhibition is a groundbreaking effort of the Consortium of New England Community Art Museums to bring together images unrivaled in any single New England collection to inspire new audiences and connect communities through art.

Visitors to the show will be treated to a rare opportunity to see visions of New England as seen through the eyes of artists creating an ideal vision of New England that was carried to the western frontier, and a mystique that stays with us to this day. As William Truettner, Senior Curator at Smithsonian's National Museum, says in his introduction to the exhibition catalogue, "By the early twentieth century, that gave New England a unique historical status -- in the minds of many Americans, it had become a microcosm of the nation."

At the end of turn of the 19th century, art colonies were proliferating through New England. Jack Becker, Director of Cheekwood Museum of Art, tells us in the catalogue essay on the American Artist in New England that "Painters discovered picturesque subjects, inexpensive lodgings, the camaraderie of other creative souls, and a respite from city life... and artists drew their inspiration from the area's diverse landscape of mountains, valleys, salt marshes and harbors. ...the seafaring coastline, the dramatic splendor of the White Mountains, and of ancient colonial homes..."

"We're very proud to be one of the six Consortium museums hosting this exhibition," said Elizabeth Ives Hunter, Executive Director of Cape Museum of Fine Arts. "Not only is this an outstanding exhibition of important American artists, it also presents a context for understanding the importance of the art of Cape Cod within American Art History. Our Provincetown art colony, which began roughly in the late 1890's, was among the first and most influential where artists experimented with the exciting art movements of the 20th Century. We're delighted that James Bakker, former President of Provincetown Art Association and Museum, will be offering a talk on the artists of the early Provincetown Art Colony in mid-January."

CMFA Education Director, Linda Mc-Neill Kemp, said "We're very excited about the educational aspect of this exhibition. We've been working with the Cape & Islands Art Educators Association to make this a meaningful experience for their students. After visiting the exhibition, students will then create their own artworks in the theme of "Envisioning Cape Cod," and their works will be put on exhibition at the museum's Weny Education Center.

"We want as many Cape and Islands' students as possible to experience this exhibition," added Ms. Hunter. "We're on our way to accomplishing this through a generous $5,000 grant from Bank North which will provide transportation to school students to the see this enlightening show."

Ms. Hunter is presenting a Gallery Talk for the general public at the museum on Friday, November 19 at 2 pm, Wednesday, December 29 at 11 am and Thursday, December 30 at 1 pm.

The exhibition will next be on view at:

Farnsworth Art Museum, March 20- June 19, 2005
Newport Art Museum, July 9-October 2, 2005


RL editor's note: Readers may enjoy these earlier articles concerning the tour of this exhibition:

Read more articles and essays concerning this institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the Cape Museum of Fine Arts in Resource Library.

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