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Ship to Shore


A large exhibition of marine scenes including works in oil and watercolor from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries will be on exhibit in the Groh Gallery at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown from July 25 through September 14, 2003. From ships being rocked by the sea to coastlines bathed in sunshine, the exhibition celebrates the ocean and includes harbor views, beach scenes and seascapes. With more than forty works, this exhibition demonstrates the breadth of the Museum=s extensive holdings in this area and the generosity of our many donors.

Images of rolling gentle waves washing up on sandy beaches, such as Near Cape May by Thomas P. Anschutz, given by Dr. & Mrs. Albert R. Miller, Jr. of Baltimore, Maryland, images of rocky coastlines pummeled by crashing seas as in Frederick J. Waugh's canvas entitled Sunshine & Shadow, donated by Mr. Lawrence P. McCoy of Manchester, Vermont, stormy skies over the restless ocean as seen in Overcast Day on Conanicut Island by Edmund Darch Lewis, a gift of Dr. & Mrs. Albert R. Miller, Jr. and a calm day at Cos Cob as seen in Birge Harrison's painting given by Mrs. J. Alan Sellars of Marietta, Georgia, comprise the exhibition.

The ocean and scenes of the sea have long been popular themes with many artists. Early works included in the exhibition will be The Rescue by Thomas Birch, Nanhant Rocks painted in 1864 by William Stanley Haseltine, given to the Museum by Mrs. Helen Haseltine Plowden of London, England, an 1872 oil by James Hamilton and Alfred Thompson Bricher's 1889 canvas Early Morning Effects.

Birch's oil painting, executed in 1837, represents a subject which, in its day, was both popular and, unfortunately for some, very real. It serves as a reminder of the constant perils of travel by sea. Birch, who was known for depicting shipwrecks, received the inspiration for this work from a popular poem of the day written by William Falconer. Falconer, whose experience of surviving a shipwreck is recounted in the poem, ironically drowned in a subsequent wreck at sea.

In addition to the work by Birge Harrison, his brother, Thomas Alexander Harrison will be represented with a painting entitled Seascape, one depicting waves for which Harrison was well known.

Hamilton's oil, The United States Monitor Weehawken, shows the famous Civil War vessel struggling under its ironclad weight in dark spray-filled seas, against what appear to be rather awesome odds as it fought against a gale off the coast of Virginia on January 20, 1863. Hamilton, born near Belfast, Ireland in 1819, became known for the extraordinary imaginativeness that he brought to American marine painting. Influenced by the British artist J. M. W. Turner, Hamilton in turn was the teacher of another artist in the exhibition, Edward Moran.

Other nineteenth century artists included in the exhibition are James Buttersworth, Franklin Dulin Briscoe, Edwin A. Harvey, Thomas Buttersworth and William Trost Richards.

More modern works on view will be Beach Scene by Milton Avery, donated to the Museum by Mr. Donald M. Gillett of Hagerstown, Maryland, Square Rigger by Gordon Grant, given by Mr. & Mrs. Donald Fidlow of Silver Spring, Maryland, Herman Maril's 1955 painting entitled Woman on the Beach, a gift of Dr. Barbara Young of Baltimore, Maryland, Under Full Sail by Charles Robert Patterson and Ogden M. Pleissner's 1950 watercolor, Side Street, Hobe Sound, donated by Mrs. Mortimer C. Addoms, Jr. of Dorset, Vermont.

Grant, born in San Francisco, California in 1875, had a very profound experience with the sea during his youth when he journeyed to Scotland to attend school. The four and a half month trip took him from San Francisco around the southern tip of South America in a full rigged Glasgow sailing ship.

Patterson was born in England and settled in New York City in the 1920s. He became a sailor at the age of 13 and rounded Cape Horn four times.

Works by Carl W. Peters, August F. Lundberg, Leonard Ochtman, Charles Paul Gruppe, John A. Cook and Jay Connaway will also be on view.

rev. 12/20/03


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