Friday, July 23, 2010

A Louisiana Collection Grows................... in Massachusetts

Selecting art for design projects is absolutely my favorite aspect of the job. And the way that is done best varies from project to project. The norm is for the art to be selected last but at times the opposite is true. For the study in a house that I am working on where only the rug will remain and the upholstery and curtains will be solids, I am starting with a fantastic grouping of five paintings that I have found over the last week during several days of gallery hopping on the Cape.

For years, Provincetown, MA, has been an artists colony. By 1916, Provincetown was considered the largest artist colony in the world with many very famous artists (Reynolds Beal, Childe Hassam, Hans Hofmann, Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler, etc, etc) studying and painting here at some point in their careers.

Still today, nearly 100 years later, many extraordinary artists come to P-town (as we regulars call it) for workshops, gallery shows, inspiration, & artist comraderie.
It is always a joy each summer to see what each gallery has that is new and exciting. No difference this year as I set out to find perfect pieces.
I am presenting the five pieces to be used in the Study in order as I discovered them so that you can see how the grouping was chosen.

All collections need a starting point and for this particular room, Cynthia Packard's My Room mixed media piece is the perfect springboard.

One of the pre-eminent Provincetown based artists, Packard is the daughter of the famed landscape painter, Anne Packard. With a style in high contrast to her mothers, Cynthia has claimed her own stake in the art world nationally and internationally with shows in New York, Atlanta, Boston, and her work is in over 300 collections in the United States and Europe.

This particular paintings is a mixed media collage with oil & paper included in the mix.
The abstracted figure is simply stunning and the electric blue mixed with greens and umbers is perfect for the space I am working on:

Cynthia Packard
My Room
Mixed Media on Board with Finished Sides
11" x 14"

Julie Heller ( been one of the top dealers in Provincetown for years with a gallery that represents pieces from the estates of many of America's best artists including Milton Avery, Blanche Lazzell, Charles Hawthorne, Ada Gilmore, Robert Motherwell, & Fritz Bultman, as well as living artists whose work I love: Hannah Bureau, Patrick Webb, and David Wells Roth.

In complete juxtaposition to the Cynthia Packard piece, this New York City scene is hard lined and very geometric which is necessary to balance the fluidity of the figure in the Packard piece.

David Wells Roth's paintings have been shown in galleries in Massachusetts and New York, including Allan Stone gallery in New York which featured Andy Warhol and Willem de Kooning's work early in their careers.

David Wells Roth
Queens Morning
Oil on Canvas
16" x 20"

After finding the above two pieces, I was excited to keep the momentum and search going. On a trip up Cape to Wellfleet & Chatham, I was able to complete the perfect assemblage with the following three pieces:

Since 1971, Left Bank Gallery ( in Wellfleet has represented a vast stable of artists with a large concentration of fine landscape painters including Gregory Kammerer and Willoughby Elliot.

Kammerer's ethereal landscapes have been shown in shows in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Delaware, and New York. I absolutely love the fogginess of this piece. It captures a real coastal landscape perfectly.

Gregory Kammerer
The Changing Landscape
Oil on Cavnas
14.5" x 13.5"

With brighter colors in his palette, Willoughby Elliot also achieves a wonderful landscape by taking the details just to the line where more would be too much. Elliot's paintings have been shown around the country including Boston, the Cape, and Rhode Island.

Willoughby Elliot
Fog and Sun
Oil on Linen
11.25" x 13"

and finally, the crowning jewel...a small landscape by the master Arthur Cohen:

Arthur Cohen
McMillan Pier
Oil on Panel
12" x 15"

When I saw this piece at The Munson Gallery ( in Chatham, I knew the room was complete. Arthur Cohen is one of my favorite artists whose work I first saw in New York years ago. I have never seen a painting by Cohen that I did not like which is a hard thing to say considering that nearly every artist that one loves at some point produces something that just doesn't move you. Not Mr. Cohen, and this has been recognized in his long career as an artist with shows in New York City, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Massachusetts, California, Virginia, etc, etc, etc.

The Munson Gallery has been representing Arthur Cohen since the 1960s and over 40 years later the relationship is still strong and Cohen's paintings even better!

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