Sunday, March 29, 2020

One Pear Here

One Pear Here
A Bartlett pear (Pyrus communis)
on fresh snow, plowed, by the driveway
on March 24, 2020, painted March 26, 2020
5" x 7" (w x h), Daniel Smith, Schmincke Horadam, and
Winsor & Newton watercolors, selected for light fastness and
permanence, #3 graphite and Uniball waterproof fade proof
ink on 140 lb. Fabriano Artistico cold press rough 100%
cotton extra white watercolor paper
framed, $150

Saturday, March 28, 2020

One Pear There

One Pear There
A Bartlett pears (Pyrus communis)
on fresh snow, plowed, by the driveway
on March 24, 2020, painted March 26, 2020
5" x 7" (w x h), Daniel Smith, Schmincke Horadam, and
Winsor & Newton watercolors, selected for light fastness and
permanence, #3 graphite and Uniball waterproof fade proof
ink on 140 lb. Fabriano Artistico cold press rough 100%
cotton extra white watercolor paper
framed, $150

Friday, March 27, 2020

One Pair, Two Pears

One Pair, Two Pears
Bartlett pears (Pyrus communis)
on fresh snow, plowed, by the driveway
on March 24, 2020, painted March 26, 2020
10" x 8" (w x h), Daniel Smith, Schmincke Horadam, and
Winsor & Newton watercolors, selected for light fastness
and permanence, and Uniball waterproof fade proof ink
on 140 lb. Fabriano Artistico cold press rough 100%
cotton extra white watercolor paper
framed, $300

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Spring Field

Spring Field

ready for the next season
on March 16, 2020, painted March 21, 2020
10" x 8" (w x h), Daniel Smith, Schmincke Horadam,
and Winsor & Newton watercolors, selected for light fastness
and permanence, and Uniball waterproof fade proof ink on
140 lb. Fabriano Artistico cold press rough 100%
cotton extra white watercolor paper
framed, $300


Photographed in this field... 


Reality March 2020
photo and text by Bruce McMillan © 2020

A breeze, cold,
snows departed,
leaving behind
once hidden ochres,
forest leaves grounded,
tangled,

in a field's underbrush,
constrained,
going nowhere,
confined,
yet,
seemingly sailing by.

A field, a world, waits
to spring to life, yet,
life is on hold,
the world's population,
sailing in place,
confined.
 
Strange but True Facts & Deep Thoughts: Flew is the past tense while flu is the present tense.


Prescient Art Quiz

Art Quiz?

Who was the most noted and prescient painter,
who lived from 1882-1967, 
for the year 2020?

prescient (PREH-she-ant) - adjective,
human anticipation of the course of events, foresight.

1a
Study with notes for Morning Sun


1b
Morning Sun
Oil on canvas, 40" x 28" (w x h), 1952
Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio


2a
Study for South Carolina Morning
The Johnson Collection, Spartanburg, South Carolina


2b
South Carolina Morning
Oil on canvas, 40" x 30" (w x h), 1955
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York

In the spring of 1929, the artist and his wife visited Charleston, South Carolina. He produced eleven paintings, mostly architectural and beach scenes. Their trip occurred during a period of artistic revitalization in the city known as the Charleston Renaissance. They stayed for three weeks and met with the local artists and citizens. While there, the artist visited St. John's Lutheran Church, possibly at the suggestion of the owner of the boardinghouse where they stayed. It became the subject of his only known painting of a church interior. The artist was also interested in the city's unique houses, with their unusual sideways positioning. He and his wife explored the Low country and visited the surrounding, rural areas where he painted isolated cabins and palmetto trees along the coast. During their trip to the surrounding countryside, they encountered a woman who stood in front of her cabin but retreated indoors when her husband came home. Many years later, the artist revisited this chance meeting in the painting South Carolina Morning. It's the only painting in his works that depicts an African American woman.

3a
Notebook Sketch for Office in a Small City
3b
Office in a Small City
Oil on canvas, 40" x 28" (w x h), 1953
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York

Begun in Cape Cod over the summer
and finished in New York City, it was the
only oil painting the artist produced that year.

4a

Study for City Sunlight

4b

City Sunlight
Oil on canvas, 40" x 28" (w x h), 1954
Smithsonian Institution,
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.

5a

Study for Cape Cod Morning
Conté crayon, 1950

5b

Cape Cod Morning
Oil on canvas, 40" x 34", 1950
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

Answer: Edward Hopper


Hopper's timeless art, coronavirus stay at home quarantine in 2020, how did he know? The art of prescience.

Read the article, How artist Edward Hopper became the poster boy of quarantine culture, by Lydia Figues at dazeddigital HERE.

 

Friday, March 6, 2020

Two In Two Out

Two In Two Out
at Cape Porpoise Harbor, Kennebunkport, Maine
painted plein air February 26, 2020
8" x 10" (w x h), Daniel Smith, Schmincke Horadam,
and Winsor & Newton watercolors, selected for light fastness
and permanence, and Prismacolor waterproof fade proof ink on
140 lb. Fabriano Artistico cold press rough 100%
cotton extra white watercolor paper
framed, $300

Thursday, March 5, 2020

A Port View


A Port View
from our Art Group of the view of the coast
in Kennebunkport, Maine, painted on February 26, 2020
10" x 8" (w x h), Daniel Smith, Schmincke Horadam,
and Winsor & Newton watercolors, selected for light fastness
and permanence, and Prismacolor waterproof fade proof ink on
140 lb. Fabriano Artistico cold press rough 100%
cotton extra white watercolor paper
framed, $300

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Model Art Group Pose Study 2

Model Art Group Pose Study 2
Rachel at our Art Group on the coast
in Kennebunkport, Maine, painted February 26, 2020
10" x 8" (w x h), Daniel Smith, Schmincke Horadam,
and Winsor & Newton watercolors, selected for light
fastness and permanence, and Uniball waterproof
fade proof ink on 140 lb. Arches cold press rough
100% cotton watercolor paper framed, $300

Model Art Group Pose Study 1

Model Art Group Pose Study 1
Rachel at our Art Group on the coast
in Kennebunkport, Maine, painted February 26, 2020
10" x 8" (w x h), Daniel Smith, Schmincke Horadam, and
Winsor & Newton watercolors, selected for light fastness and
permanence, and Sennelier oil pastels on 140 lb. Arches
cold press rough 100% cotton watercolor paper,
framed, $300

Monday, March 2, 2020

Lobster Home

Lobster Home
in Cape Porpoise Harbor, Kennebunkport, Maine
painted February 26, 2020
19" x 13" (w x h), Daniel Smith, Schmincke Horadam,
and Winsor & Newton watercolors, selected for light fastness
and permanence, and Uniball waterproof fade proof ink on
140 lb. Fabriano Artistico cold press rough 100%
cotton extra white watercolor paper
framed, $650

Monday, February 24, 2020

Blue Pole Pose


Blue Pole Pose
with model Rebekah
at our Kennebunk, Maine
art group on February 21, 2020,
10" x 8" (w x h), Daniel Smith, Schmincke Horadam,
and Winsor & Newton watercolors, selected for light fastness
and permanence, and #3 graphite on 140 lb. Fabriano
Artistico cold press rough 100% cotton extra white
watercolor paper framed, $300

Sunday, February 23, 2020

One Leg Up

One Leg Up
with model Rebekah at our Kennebunk, Maine
art group on February 21, 2020,
7" x 5" (w x h), Daniel Smith, Schmincke Horadam,
and Winsor & Newton watercolors, selected for light fastness
and permanence, and Uniball waterproof fade proof ink on
140 lb. Fabriano Artistico cold press rough 100%
cotton extra white watercolor paper
framed, $150.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Trunks Packed

Trunks Packed
by the woods behind my home in Shapleigh, Maine
on February 17, 2020, painted February 18-19, 2020
14" x 11" (w x h), Daniel Smith, Schmincke Horadam, and
Winsor & Newton watercolors, selected for light fastness
and permanence, and #3 graphite on 140 lb. Fabriano
Artistico cold press rough 100% cotton extra
white watercolor paper framed, $500

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Amy's Front Row Handshake


Amy's Front Row
Handshake
at the American Legion Hall in Rochester, NH with
Senator Amy Klobuchar on the eve of the NH 2020 Primary,
February 10, 2020, painted February 12, 2020
7" x 5" (w x h), Daniel Smith, Schmincke Horadam,
and Winsor & Newton watercolors, selected for light fastness
and permanence, and Uniball waterproof fade proof ink on
140 lb. Fabriano Artistico cold press rough 100%
cotton extra white watercolor paper
framed, $150


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Photo using camera painting motion of
Senator Amy Klobuchar speaking on the eve
of the NH 2020 Primary at the American Legion Hall
in Rochester New Hampshire February 10, 2020


Thirty Minutes Away
by Bruce McMillan

On a Monday evening
I get in my car, set my GPS,
and drive
thirty minutes away,
across the state border,
this night before
New Hampshire citizens
cast a vote.
 
I slide to the front
of the American Legion Hall
in Rochester
with my camera
and my note pad,
up close, no one between,
to see a candidate speak
and wonder,
 
"Am I possibly seeing,
am I listening to,
the first woman
President of US;
am I seeing
so close,
so personal,
history in the making?"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 









Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Pear Apple Pair

 Pear Apple Pair
A still life snow life of a Comice pear and Opal apple
on January 17, 2020, painted February 5, 2020
7" x 5" (w x h), Daniel Smith, Schmincke Horadam,
and Winsor & Newton watercolors, selected for light fastness
and permanence, and Uniball waterproof fade proof ink on
140 lb. Fabriano Artistico cold press rough 100%
cotton extra white watercolor paper
framed, $150



Waiting to Pose
Bruce McMillan
 Shiny bowl on snow,
circular room for models,
all sunshine ready.

 

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Three Pears Ascending...

Three Pears Ascending
Snow to One Apple
three Forelle pears and one Gala apple on a snow drift
behind my home on December 19, 2020,
painted January 30, 2020
8" x 10" (w x h), Daniel Smith, Schmincke Horadam,
and Winsor & Newton watercolors, selected for light fastness
and permanence, and Uniball waterproof fade proof ink on
140 lb. Fabriano Artistico cold press rough 100%
cotton extra white watercolor paper
framed, $300

 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Pears on Snow
in a Museum or not...

Franz Marc

The highest price paid for a Franz Marc painting is $20,201,000 USD. That painting is the last one below.


1
Haystacks in the Snow /
Hocken im Schnee

Franz Marc (1880-1916) German
Oil on canvas, 39" x 31" (w x h), 1911
The Franz Marc Museum, Kochel, Germany


2
Haystacks
(also known as Alpine Scene)

Franz Marc (1880-1916) German
Oil on canvas, 32" x 43" (w x h), 1912
Private collection

3
Reed-Stacks
Franz Marc (1880-1916) German
Oil on canvas, 25" x 26" (w x h), 1909
Museum: LWL-Museum für Kunst
und Kultur, Münster, Germany

4
Haystacks
Franz Marc (1880-1916) German
Oil on canvas, 17" x 14" (w x h), 1910
Private collection

5
Little Reed Stack near Brunnenbach
Franz Marc (1880-1916) German
Tempera, pencil and watercolor on paper,
11" x 17" (w x h), 1908
Museum:
Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany

6
Woman Standing in a Winter Landscape
Franz Marc (1880-1916) German
Oil on cardboard, 16" x 11" (w x h), 1906
Private collection

7
Dog Lying in the Snow
Franz Marc (1880-1916) German
Oil on canvas, 41" x 25" (w x h), 1911
Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany

8
The Waterfall
(Women Under A Waterfall)

Der Wasserfall (Frauen Unter
Einem Wasserfall)

Franz Marc (1880-1916) German
Oil on canvas, 63" x 65" (w x h), 1912
Sotheby's November 2007 Auction
Estimate $20,000,000 - $30,000,000 USD
Sold $20,201,000 USD, highest price for a Franz Marc
Sotheby's Notes (edited):
Marc's colorful The Waterfall is a pivotal work of the German Expressionist movement, created at the dawning of a new era in 20th century painting. He painted Der Wasserfall in Sindelsdorf, a small town on the foothills of the Bavarian Alps. Similar to the Impressionists before him, Marc and his colleagues August Macke and Heinrich Campendonk wanted to escape the city and seek inspiration from the countryside. In 1910 he moved to this area because he was attracted by its bucolic splendor and the abundance of farm life.
    Marc chose as his subject for this painting one of nature's most dramatic and powerful spectacles -- a waterfall. The natural formation and its surroundings define the rhythm of the composition. He made the unusual choice of including human figures along with animals in this composition, underscoring the harmony between the human and animal kingdom. He unified all of these elements through a series of colorful diagonal formations. The blue and white spill of the falls reiterates the movements of the figures. This landscape of towering rocks and rapid falls has a strong primal and mystical quality that is totally opposed to the pastoral and realistic aesthetic of academic landscape painting.
    Marc explained to August Macke that his coloration was not arbitrary and that his color choices represented specific characteristics, "Blue is the male principle, severe, bitter, spiritual and intellectual. Yellow is the female principle, gentle, cheerful, and sensual. Red is matter, brutal and heavy, the color that must be fought and overcome by the other two!" (quoted in Angelica Zander Rudensteine, The Guggenheim Museum Collection: Paintings 1880-1945, volume II, New York, 1976, page 493).
    This picture was once in the collection of Marie von Schintling, who acquired this work around 1917 and kept it in her collection in Germany. In 1939 she sent the painting to the New York dealer Curt Valentin so that it could be exhibited on the occasion of the San Francisco Golden Gate Exhibition. The painting remained in the United States throughout World War II, and it was eventually sold to the American collector Samuel G. Dretzin and then to the Guggenheim Museum in New York.


About Franz Mark (Edited source, Wiki):
Franz Moritz Wilhelm Marc (1880-1916) was a German painter and print maker, one of the key figures of German Expressionism. In 1911 he was a founding member of The Blue Rider (Der Blaue Reiter), a journal whose name later became synonymous with the circle of artists collaborating in it, including Auguste Macke and Wassily Kandinsky.
    Marc was born in 1880 in Munich, then the capital of the Kingdom of Bavaria. His father, Wilhelm Marc, was a professional landscape painter; his mother, Sophie, was a homemaker and a devout, socially liberal Calvinist.
    With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Marc was drafted into the German Army as a cavalryman. By February 1916, as shown in a letter to his wife, he'd gravitated to military camouflage. His technique for hiding artillery from aerial observation was to paint canvas covers in broadly pointillist style. He took pleasure in creating a series of nine such tarpaulin covers in styles varying "from Manet to Kandinsky", suspecting that the latter could be the most effective against aircraft flying at mile or higher.
    After mobilization of the German Army, the government identified notable artists to be withdrawn from combat for their own safety. Marc was on the list but was struck in the head and killed instantly by a shell splinter during the Battle of Verdun in 1916 before orders for reassignment could reach him.
    After the National Socialists took power, they suppressed modern art; in 1936 and 1937, the Nazis condemned the late Marc as a degenerate artist and ordered approximately 130 of his works removed from exhibition in German museums. His painting Landscape With Horses was discovered in 2012 along with more than a thousand other paintings, in the Munich apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt whose dealer father, Hildebrand Gurlitt, was a collector of Modernist art the Nazis called degenerate.
    Marc's family house in Munich is marked with a historical plaque. The Franz Marc Museum opened in 1986, and his dedicated to the artist life and work. It houses many of his paintings, and also works by other contemporary artists. The website for the Franz Marc Museum in Upper Bavaria is HERE.


See more or Franz Marc's art HERE.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Sunset Twilight on Woods

Sunset Twilight on Woods
capturing the visual movement
by a snow field behind my home in Shapleigh, Maine
on January 1, 2020, painted January 28, 2020
7" x 5" (w x h), Daniel Smith, Schmincke Horadam,
and Winsor & Newton watercolors, selected for light fastness
and permanence, and Uniball waterproof fade proof ink on
140 lb. Fabriano Artistico cold press rough 100%
cotton extra white watercolor paper
framed, $150

Sunday, January 26, 2020

An Opal Apple...a Pear Aunt Lei...


An Opal Apple
Turquoise Duct Taped
to Snow Shadowing
a Pear Aunt Lei
Still Life.
(Saying the title aloud, a minor tongue twister, may reveal a pun.)
on January 21, 2020, painted January 24, 2020
10" x 8" (w x h), Daniel Smith, Schmincke Horadam,
and Winsor & Newton watercolors, selected for light fastness
and permanence, and Uniball waterproof fade proof ink on
140 lb. Fabriano Artistico cold press rough 100%
cotton extra white watercolor paper
framed, a very nice frame, $3,000

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
 Opal's Other Side
by Bruce McMillan

Behind a secured
sunscreen on a blanket
of white snow an Opal
apple cast a shadow
pear, thus completing the
picture, a pear aunt lei.
 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 
The Comedian Banana Art
The notorious banana duct taped to a wall as art titled The Comedian along with some insightful observations in this intuitive article in GQ magazine.
This Banana Was Duct-Taped to a Wall.
It Sold for $120,000.

Brief excerpt:
"Here's the central rub with the banana duct-taped to a wall. It is both a funny critique of the absurdities of art and capitalism, yet it is inherently part of that problem, too. It's having your cake and eating it too (although maybe "having your banana bread" would be more appropriate here). Art is valuable and artists certainly deserve to be paid for their work. Nobody gets to define what isn't art, and The Comedian is absolutely art. Heck, it might even be powerful art, given how much chatter it has already inspired. The Comedian is just laughing along with the people it's making fun of, and that's a bummer.
    So, is the banana duct-taped to a wall Good or Bad? I don't know, man. It's higher in potassium than most art, so maybe let's just say, by that metric, it's Good."
Read the full article HERE.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Strolling by Spruce Ledge...N.C.Wyeth...

Strolling by Spruce Ledge,
Peering at The Doryman
at in the N.C. Wyeth New Perspectives exhibition at the
Portland (Maine) Museum of Art on January 12, 2019,
painted January 16, 2020
7" x 5" (w x h), Daniel Smith, Schmincke Horadam,
and Winsor & Newton watercolors, selected for light fastness
and permanence, and Uniball waterproof fade proof ink
on 140 lb. Fabriano Artistico cold press rough 100%
cotton extra white watercolor paper, framed, $150

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
N. C. Wyeth: New Perspectives


N. C. Art Then, N. C. Art Now
by Bruce McMillan

He got to stand outside or
in his studio, painting,
so many years ago, while
pausing and contemplating.

We get to stand inside a
fine art museum, peering,
so many years later, while,
pausing and contemplating.

Note: The painting on the left, Bright and Fair, also called Eight Bells, Port Clyde, Maine, is of N. C. Wyeth's home in Port Clyde, which he called Eight Bells in honor of Winslow Homers painting, Eight Bells, (see the Homer painting HERE). See the 1936 N. C. Wyeth painting in the exhibition of his home in detail along with a photograph of him painting it HERE, oil on canvas, 52" x 42" (w x h), 1936, Farnsworth Museum, Rockland Maine. See a 1922 H. C. Wyeth painting of the same view of his home with a photo of him painting it HERE.

Strange but True Fact
N. C. Wyeth's mother's maiden name was Henriette Zirngiebel, and ironically, it was his mother who encouraged his art career while his father, Andrew Newell Wyeth II, called an artist's life "shiftless, almost criminal."


1
The Guard

2
Dark Harbor Fishermen
N. C. Wyeth (1882-1945), American
Tempera on hardboard (Renaissance Panel),
38" x 35" (w x h), 1943
Portland Museum of Art
Bequest of Elizabeth B. Noyce, 1996
Catalogue Notes:
Wyeth had painted the same composition in oil on canvas in 1935, a painting he exhibited under the title of "Herring!". By 1944, the artist was trying to sell this painting. In April, the price during the National Academy exhibition was $2,000. Later in the year, at the Wilmington Society of the Fine Arts exhibition the price had dropped to $1,500.

The frame, carved by Maurice Fincken, was probably cut down to fit this painting. Fincken's name appears in Wyeth's address book, "107 Wayne Ave., / Aldan, Pa."

See this 1943 painting done in tempura in detail at the Portland Museum of Art website HERE or in the Brandywine database website HERE. See the first draft 1935 painting first done in oil, in the Brandywine database website HERE. It's in the Phyllis and Jamie Wyeth Collection. Both paintings were painted from his same charcoal sketch. See N.C. Wyeth's charcoal sketch for this painting HERE




3
In a Dream
I Meet General Washington

N. C. Wyeth (1882-1945), American
Oil on canvas, 79" x 72" (w x h), 1930
Brandywine River Museum of Art

Curatorial Note:
In 1930, atop scaffolding to complete a mural of George Washington for a bank in Trenton, New Jersey, N.C. Wyeth lost his balance and almost fell 30 feet to the marble floor. The shock resulted in a dream that haunted him until he committed his vision to canvas. In that dream, Wyeth watched the Battle of Brandywine unfold before him as Washington narrated. The site of the battle is not far from Wyeth's studio, and with his lifelong love of history he was familiar with details of the encounter.

To dispel the dream which he described as "amazingly vivid," Wyeth painted himself on shaky scaffolding in the foreground, palette and brushes in hand, speaking to Washington. British and American troops march across an autumnal colored landscape, and Major General Lafayette appears in the woods on the left. In the lower left corner, young Andrew Wyeth, accompanied by his dog, sits sketching as he often did in his father's studio.
Wyeth wrote to his brother, "This is the painting that I am certain excels anything done to date." Although the painting was based on a dream, Wyeth felt, "this fact in no way interferes with its abstract attraction as a painting to be engaged for color, pattern, technique and intriguing interest."

See this painting in detail at the Brandywine website HERE.
 
4
Strolling by Black Spruce Ledge
(Lobstering Off Black Spruce Ledge),
left, and peering at Lobsterman
(The Doryman), right.


See Black Spruce Ledge (Lobstering Off Black Spruce Ledge) in detail HERE.

See the artist's charcoal sketch for this painting HERE. A lantern slide of this drawing was probably used in the transfer of the design to the panels for both 1939 and 1941 versions.

Curatorial remarks:
In the summer of 1939, N.C. Wyeth began working in tempera, a medium he learned about from his son-in-law Peter Hurd and his son Andrew. In late August he wrote, "I start tomorrow on my first tempera panel for myself. I shall have a full month to do what I want." Later in the fall, he wrote to Peter Hurd "Three new Maine temperas you haven't seen deal with the lobstermen..." One of the three was this painting which the artist sold to Forbes Lithographic Mfg. Company for $750 in January, 1940.
Forbes reproduced the image as an art print and a calendar image, both entitled "Lobstering Off Black Spruce Ledge." Wyeth completed another version of the painting in 1941.
The 1939 charcoal drawing appears in a lantern slide, that was undoubtedly used in the transfer of the design from paper to canvas panel.
In an undated and unattributed review of New York 1939 (probably by Henry McBride, in the New York Sun, BRM library), the author felt that this picture demonstrated the influence of modern photography on the artist's work, "...the clouds in the picture...might almost have been first caught by the camera, so like they are to the effects seen in prize-winning photos."


5
Studying The Lobsterman
(The Doryman)

I observed that this painting on loan from the MET in New York was one of the most studied in the exhibition, viewers pausing a long time to take it in.


6
The Lobsterman (The Doryman)
N. C. Wyeth (1882-1945), American
Tempera on hardboard, 47" x 23" (w x h), 1944
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gift of Amanda K. Berls, 1975

The doryman was N.C. Wyeth's son Andrew Wyeth's friend and model Walter Anderson (1923-1987). In September 1944, N. C. Wyeth wrote to Andrew Wyeth, "My two panels, plus the one of Walt which I have just about completed are unquestionably 'way and beyond anything I've ever done in or of Maine. My "Walt" is probably the best." This and two other temperas Wyeth did during his eight-week stay in Port Clyde during the late summer of 1944 were done on gesso panels that Wyeth prepared himself, rather than the manufactured Renaissance Panels he used for commercial work at that time.

The painting's presence in the 1945 Commencement Day exhibition is noted in a letter Wyeth wrote to his daughter Henriette: "A Mr. McCann from Greenport, L.I. (an alumnus) bought "Walt in the dory" from my small display. I kind of hated to let it go but he paid my price so I couldn't refuse."

To the first owner, Thomas McCann, Wyeth wrote "It may be of interest for you to know that this painting is done with egg tempera on a wood panel. It is varnished with Damar and should last as well as the works done during the early Renaissance. The picture was done in Port Clyde, Maine, and the island back of the fisherman is Caldwell's, just at the mouth of the Georges River. The doryman is an actual character--and an old friend of mine--a flaxen-haired lobsterman named Walt Anderson."

Even during the N. C. Wyeth's lifetime, the painting, The Lobsterman (The Doryman), had alternate titles: The Doryman, In Penobscot Bay, Caldwell's Island, and Off Caldwell's Island.

See this at the MET Museum, New York, web page HERE.

See this at the Brandywine Database HERE.

The Brandywine River Museum holds a drawing study in charcoal, In Penobscot Bay, 1944.
See this charcoal study HERE.

On a personal note, I was the island caretaker for McGee Island off Port Clyde, from 1973-1975. Walter Anderson was the local calm digger usually found at the dock where I came ashore to pick up the mail and groceries. Walt would stand next to my son, 4-then-5-year old Brett, hold his hand out to measure his height, and comment on how much he'd gown since the last trip in. My acquaintance with Walt led me to write the following letter-to-the-editor, which appeared in DownEast magazine.

The Painter and the Pirate, a twelve-page article with paintings by Andrew Wyeth of his friend and subject, Walter Anderson, appeared in the September 2001 issue of DownEast. The following letter was published in the November issue.

November 2001
Vol. 48, Number 4
Letters to the Editor
Andrew Wyeth's Friend
Thanks for the well-written article on Walter Anderson by Edgar Allen Beem. It brought back some nice memories. From 1973 to 1975 I was an island caretaker off Port Clyde, and on my trips ashore for mail and supplies I always stopped to chat with the local character, a fellow named Walt, who hung around the dock wearing his distinctive, well-worn clamming boots. He had all sorts of tales about the islands, including the one I was working on.
Many months after I'd gotten to know Walt, he mentioned he was looking forward to seeing his friend, Andy, who was coming up to visit and paint. I wondered to myself whose house they were going to paint, but before I could ask, I figured out from the context of his conversation that Walt wasn't talking about a house painter. Then I realized his Andy was none other than Andrew Wyeth. I wasn't sure if this was a tall tale or not, but there was a real nugget of sincerity in the way he talked about his friend and their childhood together. Two days later as I was boating back to my island, I noticed a painter out painting on one of the islands.
Thanks to Walt, I knew who it was, and thanks to Ed Beem's fine article now I know even a bit more.
Bruce McMillan
Shapleigh, Maine
Online HERE.


7
Departing the Exhibition
I admired N. C.'s exquisite and unusual use of light. I said good-bye to Mother and the cove.
(Treasure Island, page 58, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1911), Alternate Title(s):Hawkins Leaves Home; Jim Hawkins Leaves Home; Jim Hawkins Leaves Town, oil on canvas, 36" x 47" (w x h), 1911.

Curatorial Remarks:
N. C. Wyeth had members of the Taylor family of Chadds Ford model for Mrs. Hawkins and Jim. Fifteen-year-old Walter Taylor posed for Jim Hawkins; Walter died tragically at the age of 18 in 1914. Margaret Taylor posed for Mrs. Hawkins. This painting was one of three the artist chose to represent his work in the first exhibition of paintings by pupils of Howard Pyle, held in Wilmington, DE in 1912.

Wyeth himself had repainted portions of the picture by 1920. In a January 17, 1920 letter, Wyeth mentioned to former Pyle student Sidney Chase that a particular varnish he had used liberally about 1911 was yellowing badly; as an example, he cited "Jim Hawkins leaves Home." He repainted the "illuminated" section of the image, "on account of the blues turning snuffy green and the clear whites turning yellow," "Just a word about the varnish..."
See this painting in detail on the Brandywine website HERE.


8
I departed the exhibition,
leaving the guard to patrol the gallery.

The show's catalogue book, N. C. Wyeth: New Perspectives, Yale University Press, 216 pages, reprint edition (June 25, 2019), at the museum is $45, but is $24.50 on amazon with free next day shipping using amazon prime HERE.

The book's cover features his painting, The Harbor at Herring Gut, 1925, seen HERE. It features, familiar to me, Port Clyde.

Curatorial notes:
Two weeks after the death of his mother, the artist wrote to his father on August 27, 1925, in reference to this painting, "I believe it marks an important epoch in my painting--with one lash I have cut my moorings to certain old habits and feel free now to develop along a much larger line....I feel that the intensity of the past weeks with you and Mama played a tremendous part in sustaining my courage to carry on this work."

The painting, strikingly different from previous work, incorporates many of the principles expounded by Christian Brinton, friend and art critic who collected Russian folk art. Despite the element of fantasy, Mosquito Head, the Marshall Point Light, several distinctive buildings in Port Clyde and the steam boat "Governor Douglas" are all recognizable. An anonymous reviewer for the Wilmington newspaper Every Evening saw the influence of 19th century bird's eye views.

In an undated letter to friend Edward K. Robinson, Wyeth wrote, "I am working much more intensively than ever and really believe that I am pulling into an idiom of expression that will amount to something...I am enclosing three photos of three canvases done in the past year which slightly indicate my direction....You will perhaps recognize a "composite" or inventory of Port Clyde. (This canvas has stirred considerable interest in two different shows.)" The letter contained a photograph of the painting, "The Harbor at Herring Gut," on the reverse of the photo Wyeth had written "Port Clyde--An Impression."
See the show on the Portland Museum of Art website HERE.



I shared some notes on the dory paintings of N.C. and Andrew Wyeth with Carol Douglas, which she expanded into a fascinating post, Beautiful Glimpses of the Past HERE.