Cahoon Museum of American Art

photo © 1996 Paul Murphy, Hyannis, MA

Cotuit, MA



A Taste of Provincetown: Works From the Collection of Napi Van Dereck


The Cahoon Museum of American Art will present A Taste of Provincetown: Works From the Collection of Napi Van Dereck, an exhibition that will reveal the heart of a collector and the soul of the fishing village/art colony as it was in days gone by. The. show will run from March 27 through May 12, 2001, with an opening reception scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, March 30.

Van Dereck and his wife, Helen, are the owners of Napi's restaurant, located for more than 25 years on crooked little Freeman Street in Provincetown: Built largely of materials salvaged from 19th-century homes, the popular restaurant serves an eclectic variety of internationally inspired dishes. Paintings of Provincetown hang on the walls. These are an appetizer - merely a hint of an extraordinary art collection of 200 to 300 pieces. A Taste of Provincetown will make 50 of Van Dereck's artworks readily accessible to art-lovers in Mid and Upper Cape towns. (left: Daisy Hughes, Three Towers to the East, oil on canvas)

Van Dereck has lived in Provincetown most of his life. When he began collecting paintings of his town, he was motivated by nostalgia more than aesthetics. "I was trying to capture as many memories of Provincetown as I could get my hands on," he says. "I'd say, 'There's a picture of a wharf that's gone. I'm going to get it." As time went by, Napi realized early Provincetown art is plentiful. He became more discriminating, developing a collector's eye.

Most of the works in the exhibition date from the first four decades of the 20th century, although two were done in the late 19th century, before Provincetown had even become an art colony. Such significant artists as Charles Webster Hawthorne, George Elmer Browne, Oliver Chaffee, Ada Gilmore Chaffee, Richard Emil Miller, Ross Moffett, Reynolds Beal, Gerrit Beneker, Blanche Lazzell and John Whorf will be represented in A Taste of Provincetown. But Van Dereck shows just as much regard for artworks by John Foster, Daisy Hughes, Charles A. Kaeselau, Julius Katzieff, Ora Inge Maxim, Mildred McMillen and other artists whose names may be less familiar.

A Taste of Provincetown offers the opportunity to appreciate the vision of one particular collector. Many of the pieces document the activities of fishermen, capture the romance of boats and beaches, or record the town's streets and architecture. A large portrait of Ida Ruth Rauh introduces us to a fascinating actress who was associated with the Provincetown Players. Napi bought Some paintings because they perfectly capture certain conditions of weather or light in his beloved seaside village. Taken as a whole, the show conveys a profound sense of place.

More paintings in the exhibition

Ada Gilmore, Gossip, c. 1916, white-line woodcut, 9 x 10 inches


Charles A. Kaeselau, The Reckoning, oil on canvas, 30 x 36 inches


George Yater, Winter View, watercolor, 25 x 29 inches


Mildred McMillen, Reflections, 1916, black-and-white woodblock print, 10 x 8 inches


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 on selected artists cited above 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. 5/23/11

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