Published: May 24, 2011
In the first half of the Twentieth Century a small group of American Modernists chose to summer in the midcoast communities south of Bath, Maine, in a region that was then known as Seguinland.
“Maine Moderns: Art in Seguinland, 1900‱940,” on view June 4 through September 11 at the Portland Museum of Art, will feature more than 65 paintings, sculptures, drawings and photographs by artists such as Mardsen Hartley, Max Weber, Marguerite and William Zorach, Gaston Lachaise, Gertrude Käsebier and others. The exhibition will examines the close personal and professional relationships of this group and the distinctive landscape that bound them together.
Although much of their artistic activity was centered in New York City with their mentor, photographer and art dealer Alfred Stieglitz, these artists all chose Maine as their summer home. It was here that they developed a camaraderie and sense of place that strongly influenced their work.
The exhibit begins with an examination of pictorial photographs by F. Holland Day, Clarence White, Gertrude Käsebier and others taken around Day’s home in Georgetown and White’s summer art school at the neighboring Seguinland Hotel. “Maine Moderns” also looks at the work of Modernist painters Max Weber and John Marin, who both showed their Maine images in Stieglitz’s New York galleries.
In the early 1920s, the sculptor Gaston Lachaise bought a summer home and studio in Georgetown and welcomed the painter Marsden Hartley back to his native state, when Hartley returned to work here in 1928.
Other frequent visitors to the Lachaise house included the photographer Paul Strand and the painters Marguerite and William Zorach, who had settled at the other end of Robinhood Cove not far from Lachaise. Among this group, it was the Zorachs whose work most frequently depicted this region.
Seguinland provided a unique artistic experience and was distinct from the better known art colonies at Ogunquit and Monhegan Island. In those places, larger numbers of both professional and amateur artists congregated for lessons and exhibitions, intermingling with a tourist community. But the two coastal areas south of Bath, Georgetown and Phippsburg, remained more isolated.
The exhibition is accompanied by a 170-page fully illustrated catalog which will be available in the museum store for $50 (hardcover).
The Portland Museum of Art is at Seven Congress Square. For general information, www.portlandmuseum.org or 207-775-6148.
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