Sixty Works, 60 Years
SHOWCASE – May 2013
Edited by Rebecca Falzano
The Ogunquit Museum of American Art celebrates its 60th anniversary.
Painter and teacher Charles H. Woodbury first laid eyes on Perkins Cove in 1888 while visiting his fiancée in York Beach. Eight years later, he purchased five acres off Shore Road for just $400 (part of which would later become the site for the Ogunquit Museum of American Art). In 1898 Woodbury opened an art school on the south side of the cove—a six-week course in painting and drawing from nature—that attracted aspiring artists from near and far.
On the other side of the cove, Hamilton Easter Field and his French protégé, Robert Laurent, founded the Field Summer School of Graphic Arts. Field taught painting and life drawing while Laurent taught sculpture and woodcarving. Field rented farms in Cape Neddick to New York artists in exchange for their artwork. In 1919 Henry Strater arrived to study at the school. Strater was a close friend of Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, and Ernest Hemingway and an active participant in the Paris avant-garde.
In 1928 Woodbury and friends joined to form the Ogunquit Art Association, an organization of working artists that is still active today. Architect Charles S. Worley Jr. designed the original building for the Ogunquit Museum of American Art in 1952, and the next year, Strater opened the museum to honor the town’s importance in the history of American art. As a logical site for the museum, he chose a piece of land at Narrow Cove where generations of artists had come to paint, including Edward Hopper, Bernard Karfiol, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and Leon Kroll. Strater dedicated the museum to “the people of Ogunquit, and of York County, and of the State of Maine.”
In celebration of this rich history, the Ogunquit Museum of American Art will open its 60th anniversary exhibition, Sixty Works, Sixty Years, on May 8. The exhibition will feature 60 of the most important works from the museum’s collection, illustrating the collecting trends of Strater and the OMAA. Featured will be internationally known artists Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Reginald Marsh, Walt Kuhn, Rockwell Kent, Jack Levine, Robert Henri, Gaston Lachaise, Charles Burchfield, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and Peggy Bacon. Also featured will be nationally known artists who have strong ties to the Ogunquit art colony such as Hamilton Easter Field, Charles Woodbury, Alexander Brook, Bernard Karfiol, Beverly Hallam, John Laurent, Robert Laurent, DeWitt Hardy, and Harmon Neill.