New Discoveries at Fitz Henry Lane Online
Long known to the Museum is Fitz Henry Lane’s preliminary drawing for Western Shore of Gloucester Outer Harbor. While work was being done on the Fitz Henry Lane Online project the drawing was unframed and a second pencil drawing was found on the reverse side. In this second drawing, entitled Looking Toward the Loaf from Cross Island, Essex River, Lane shows a view of Two Penny Loaf from Cross Island in Ipswich Bay, with a typically long low horizon line and detailed coastal rocks and foliage, often extremely pronounced in his drawings. The drawing has been photographed and will be available for public viewing when Fitz Henry Lane Online is launched in early 2015.
(top) Western Shore of Gloucester Outer Harbor (1857). Pencil on paper, 9 x 28" (22.86 x 71.12 cm). Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Massachusetts. Gift of Samuel H. Mansfield. [485.85]; (bottom) Looking Toward the Loaf from Cross' Island, Essex River (1862). Pencil on paper, 9 x 28" (22.86 x 71.12 cm). Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Massachusetts. Gift of Samuel H. Mansfield [485.85]
Fitz Henry Lane Online
Begun in 2010, Fitz Henry Lane Online is a state-of-the-art web-based resource that will combine a free public catalog of Lane's paintings and drawings with research into the history of the 19th-century coastal life he portrayed in his work. Original documents pulled from the Museum’s library/archives—most rarely seen by the public—will be linked to Lane’s paintings and drawings to offer a fuller understanding of the history of fishing, maritime activity and life along the New England coast. This resource will be useful to all ages and interests, from elementary school students to scholars. The Museum hopes to launch the website in early 2015. Funding for the project is provided by the Cape Ann Museum, the Wyeth Foundation for American Art, the Danversbank Charitable Foundation, the John H. and H. Naomi Tomfohrde Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Research on Fitz Henry Lane's work and impact is ongoing. In July of 2007, the Cape Ann Museum mounted the exhibition Fitz Henry Lane and Mary Blood Mellen: Old Mysteries and New Discoveries curated by noted Lane scholar Dr. John Wilmerding. As a follow-up to the exhibition, a Scholars' Gathering, funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art, brought together leading scholars and experts on Lane and Mellen to consider unresolved issues in the artistic relationship of the two artists, thus opening the door to further inquiries. Collectors, museums and galleries who own or have owned works by Fitz Henry Lane are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org or to download and submit the Fitz Henry Lane Online Information Form.