Sunday, January 9, 2011

Alice Kent Stoddard at the Monhegan Museum

View from the lighthouse tower.

Looking back over the last few months' posts, I realized I hadn't blogged about my annual trip to Monhegan with the Maine Landscape Guild. Every year for the past four years, my artist buddies and I have carved out time for a week-long stay on this very special island nine miles off the coast of Maine. Last fall, our stay coincided with "Lighthouse Day," a fundraising event for the recently restored Monhegan Lighthouse. We got a tour of the buildings and we were able to climb up the iron staircase to the top of the lighthouse tower--very exciting for me because not only do I love lighthouses and towers, but also I love to paint views looking down on the landscape from an elevated viewpoint. Needless to say, I took a lot of photos from the tower looking out over the village and neighboring island of Manana.

After the tour, I was walking through the Keeper's house, also known as the Monhegan Maritime Museum, and I noticed a wonderful portrait by Alice Kent Stoddard. I had seen some of Stoddard's work in Philadelphia, in the Drexel Collection, and this portrait of a former lighthouse keeper was among the best I had ever seen of her work! I asked the curator about it, and she said, "Oh, there are some even better ones in the vaults! Would you like to see them?" Of course I said yes. She took me to the "vault," which on the outside looks like just another white clapboard building in the lighthouse complex. But inside was rack after rack of incredible paintings, including a staggering collection of paintings by Alice Kent Stoddard! I thought she painted men especially well-and here are three of my favorites:

Portrait of the man who built the Island Inn, by Alice Kent Stoddard
Portrait of landscape artist Andrew Winter by Stoddard
Another Stoddard portrait

I highly recommend the Monhegan Museum to anyone interested in seeing a star-studded collection of work by well-known artists who painted in Maine. Both the keeper's house and assistant keeper's house have been made into exhibition spaces. And if you happen to get there on Lighthouse Day, you'll get to climb the tower and get a 360 degree view of this artists' island.

2 comments:

Rebecca said...

What an amazing opportunity! Your description makes me want to visit this place.

Alexandra Tyng said...

If you are an artist and you love Maine and landscape painting, you should seriously consider visiting Monhegan. Rebecca, I'm glad if my description made you want to go there.