Published: June 17, 2011
The New Britain Museum of American Art (NBMAA) will present “The Tides of Provincetown: Pivotal Years in America’s Oldest Continuous Art Colony (1899′011),” July 15 ⁏ctober 16 in the museum’s McKernan Gallery. There will be an opening reception on Sunday, July 17, 2 to 3:30 pm.
“The Tides of Provincetown” focuses on Provincetown’s legacy as an art colony (in 1916, the Boston Globe declared it the “Biggest Art Colony in the World”) and will cover more than 100 artists and as many artworks from Charles W. Hawthorne’s founding of the Cape Cod School of Art in 1899 to the present day. This will be the largest and most comprehensive examination of the art colony ever completed; the last Provincetown survey (exhibited more than 40 years ago) ended with artwork from the 1970s.
The exhibition will be divided into eight chronological sections that focus on various key years and events in the art colony and highlight Provincetown’s importance in America’s art history. From the founding in 1899 through the early years of the century to Hans Hofmann establishing a school there in 1935 to the 1950s through the end of the century and today, all will be reviewed.
Artists have been selected based on their contribution to the Provincetown art colony as well as their influence beyond Cape Cod. Just as the focus is on the key moments in the colony’s history, so the exhibition will highlight artists who played a pivotal role in the colony and were the important figures and artistic forces. Furthermore, their presence in Provincetown as well as their influence on other artists through schools, mentorships and/or pure aesthetic power of their artwork are examined.
Paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures and photographs have been loaned from a variety of national museums, as well as from Provincetown galleries and private collections both on Cape Cod and across the country. The NBMAA is fortunate to have an extensive collection of Provincetown art as part of its permanent collection.
While many of the artists worked or lived in Provincetown for years †such as Milton Avery, Charles W. Hawthorne, Henry Hensche, Hans Hofmann, Blanche Lazzell, Robert Motherwell and E. Ambrose Webster †others “passed through” the art colony. The exhibition suggests that many of the great artists of the Twentieth Century †including Stuart Davis, Willem de Kooning, Charles Demuth, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko Red Grooms, Edward Hopper, and Andy Warhol †were inspired by Provincetown, even if they were only there for a short period.
A robust schedule of related programming has been planned, including a symposium, an evening of learning, lectures and films. Studio classes will also focus on Provincetown.
A fully illustrated, 176-page catalog will accompany the exhibition. The exhibition will travel from New Britain the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, October 30⁊anuary 22; Wichita Art Museum, February 5⁁pril 29; and the Cape Cod Museum of Art, May 18⁁ugust 26, 2012.
The New Britain museum is at 56 Lexington Street. For more information, 860-229-0257 or www.nbmaa.org .
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