Cahoon Museum of American Art

photo © 1996 Paul Murphy, Hyannis, MA

Cotuit, MA




The Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod: Signature 2000 / The White Mountain Pastels of Mabel Williams (1870-1944)


The Cahoon Museum of American Art is presenting two exhibits celebrating the luminous medium of pastels during the month of May. Both shows will run through 27, 2000. (left: Carole Chisholm Garvey, Down Time, pastel, 16 x 21 inches)

"The Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod: Signature 2000" will feature a vibrant selection of 35 landscapes, still lifes and portraits. The works will be drawn from the pastel society's elite group of juried Signature artists, including Cape residents Carole Chisholm Garvey, Joan Ledwith, Jane Lincoln, Rosalie Nadeau, Lorraine Trenholm and Sarah Fielding-Gunn.


left to right: Phyllis Bezanson, Maine Trio, pastel, 15.75 x 21.75 inches; Katherine Smit, Erin, pastel, 24 x 30 inches; Susan Guest-MacPhail, Red Pears on Silk, pastel, 29 x 33 inches; Lee McVey, Rock and Surf #1, pastel, 8 x 12 inches; Mona Podgurski, Queen Anne's Lace, pastel, photo by Steve Gyurina Photography; Rosalie Nadeau, Fragrant Peonies, pastel, 16 x 20 inches

Fielding-Gunn, who lives in Barnstable, founded the organization in 1995 for the purpose of promoting the public appreciation of pastels. The response from other pastel artists was so enthusiastic that, less than five years later, the organization boasts 250 members representing more than 20 states.

There will be a gallery talk on by Edith Cohenno Bryant at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 17 and a slide lecture on "The History of Pastels" by Anne Heywood at 11 a.m. Friday, May 19.

The companion show is "The White Mountain Pastels of Mabel Williams (1870-1944)" an array of more than 20 pastel paintings on sandpaper from a private collection. The pieces express a feeling of tranquility and an impressionist's sensitivity to color. (left: Mabel Williams (1870-1944), Sunrise, pastel, 9 x 7 inches, Photo © KeitanoYoshioka/Yoshioka Photographic Vision)

From 1908 until her death in 1944, Mabel Williams, a Boston-area artist, spent summers in Jackson, N.H. She was quite successful with her paintings of mountain peaks, valleys and gardens, selling them as souvenirs for as little as $2 and $5.

In the early 1980s, art collector Samuel Robbins was shown a cache of unsold Williams paintings in a New Hampshire basement. Although the pastels were soiled with decades of dust, mouse droppings and dead insects, he recognized he had rediscovered a wonderful talent. He purchased about 40 of the pieces and had them restored to their original beauty.

Read more about the Cahoon Museum of American Art in Resource Library Magazine

Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

For further biographical information please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 2/4/11

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