Rock Bound: Painting the American Scene on Cape Ann and Along the Shore

June 3, 2017 — Oct. 29, 2017

In the years immediately following the Civil War, Cape Ann set out on a path that would make it one of New England’s most vibrant and influential art colonies of the early 20th century. As the foundation on which this growth took place was broad, with countless artists working in a myriad of media, no one trend or style would come to dominate the emerging colony. There did arise, however, a fascination with capturing the "American Scene" as embodied on Cape Ann and in the surrounding areas.

With paintings drawn from private collections and the Museum’s own holdings, Rock Bound will explore the ways in which an array of artists of the early 20th century sought to capture the natural beauty of the area, the power of the ocean and the hardscrabble way of life that was quickly disappearing in other areas. The exhibit will also consider how artists placed local populations and traditions in their context, whether it was carpenters working in the shipyards of Essex, women and children relaxing on wide sandy beaches, or fishermen and quarrymen pursuing their timeless and dangerous ways of life. Artists featured in Rock Bound will include Jane Peterson, Martha Walter, Gifford Beal, Leon Kroll, Marsden Hartley and Stuart Davis.

⇒ View additional images from the exhibition

⇒ Find exhibition related programs

⇒ Read Cate McQuaid's review in the Boston Globe

⇒ Read Keith Powers' review on Wicked Local

Top: Gifford Beal (1879–1956), Northeaster #2, Bass Rocks, 1930, oil on board, private collection. Middle, left to right: Emma Fordyce Macrae (1887-1974), Stage Fort Park, Gloucester, c. 1930s. Oil on prepared canvas. Private Collection; Martha Walter (1875-1976), Grey Day, Bass Rocks, c. 1915. Oil on board. Private Collection; William Glackens (1870-1938), Beach at Yellow Island, c. 1917. Oil on canvas. Collection of Roswitha and William Trayes.



The Museum is deeply grateful to the lenders to the exhibition and
to the following individuals and businesses:

Mary Craven   |   Margaret Pearson   |   John Rando   |   Arthur Ryan





Related Programs

The following programs and events have been organized in connection with the special exhibition Rock Bound. They are intended to expand participants’ knowledge about important and influential collectors, sharpen one’s skills at identifying and acquiring antiques and collectibles, and broaden one’s understanding of the Cape Ann Museum’s vast collection of artwork and artifacts.

The Littles of Cogswell’s Grant
Thursday, July 20 at 7:00 p.m.
Cogswell’s Grant site manager, Kristen Weiss of Historic New England, presents the history of renowned American folk art collectors Bertram K. and Nina Fletcher Little. Cost is $10 for Museum members / $15 nonmembers (includes Museum admission). Registration required.

Collecting at the Cape Ann Museum
Saturday, July 29 at 3:00 p.m.
Cape Ann Museum Curator Martha Oaks offers a look at the history of the Cape Ann Museum’s collection. Free with Museum admission. Registration required.

An Insider’s Guide to Collecting with Jim Callahan
Thursday, August 17 at 7:00 p.m.
Jim Callahan is an appraiser on PBS’ Antiques Roadshow and Vice President and Director of Asian Art for Tremont Auctions. In this presentation he will share anecdotes from his many years in the business and will also address market priorities and offer hints for collectors. Cost is $10 for Museum members / $15 nonmembers (includes Museum admission). Registration required.

Appraisal Day at the White-Ellery House
Saturday, September 9 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Meet with experts from Blackwood/March Auctioneers for a verbal evaluation and possible consignment of your fine art, antiques, books and manuscripts. Cost for verbal appraisal is $5 for one item or three items for $10 (three item limit). This program will be held at the Museum’s White-Ellery House (1710) located at 245 Washington Street in Gloucester. All proceeds will go toward preservation of the White-Ellery House.



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