Lyman Allyn Art Museum

Connecticut College

New London, CT



Maritime Exhibitions at Lyman Allyn Museum of Art


Lyman Allyn Museum of Art at Connecticut College is hosting three exhibitions featuring maritime themes that will coincide with the OPSAIL 2000 Connecticut Festival in the Summer of 2000.


The Montesi Ships: Maritime Folk Art

Open to the public now, "The Montesi Ships: Maritime Folk Art," displays the fine handcrafted ships made by Pasquale Montesi, an Italian immigrant who settled in Norwich in 1898. As a youth, Montesi learned to sail in the Italian Navy and came to Norwich via a shipwreck off Bermuda. He eventually opened a fish market on West Main Street in Norwich. (left: Montesi ships on display at Lyman Allyn)

Since fish was eaten mostly on Fridays and other Catholic holidays which mandated abstinence from meat, Montesi had plenty of time between peak periods in his market to pursue a beloved hobby. Pasquale Montesi literally whittled his time away. The combination of his seafaring experiences, his memory for details and his wood-carving talents resulted in a fleet of seventeen ship models ranging from a tugboat and barge to the America, a full-rigged clipper ship measuring more than 12 feet long and 10 feet high. The America's keel is shaped out of white pine and cypress and is complete with rigging, sails, trailboards, hatch covers, dories, and working bilge pumps.

Pasquale Montesi never learned to read or write and relied only on his memory and experience to create these remarkable maritime models, working without the aid of blueprints or drawings. The exhibition is augmented by a full-size wall mural of a rolling sea created by local artist Terry "Dave" Davis to enhance the three-dimensional maritime ship models. "The Montesi Ships: Maritime Folk Art" will remain on view through April 2002.


The Sailing Coast Guard

"The Sailing Coast Guard" opened to the public on June 24, 2000. This curatorial collaboration between the Lyman Allyn and the U. S. Coast Guard Museum offers the public a unique opportunity to see artworks from the Coast Guard collection that are not often on view.

For more one hundred years, the Coast Guard has relied on sailing ships. From the decks of sloops and schooners, it has patrolled the waters, engaged the enemy, serviced lighthouses and rescued people. Rarely more than 80 feet in length with no more than a 10 foot draft, these Baltimore clipper hulled, topsail schooners were the backbone of the early Coast Guard. With that history as backdrop, "The Sailing Coast Guard" will examine three themes. (left: Anton Otto Fischer, US Revenue Cutter Bear Rescues Whalers, c. 1942, oil on canvas)

The first theme is the ships themselves. The ships are presented using works of art from the Coast Guard collection: oils on canvas, watercolors, and etchings. Small artifacts from actual vessels such as pennants, flags, sextants, wardroom china and uniforms examples will also be displayed.

The second theme explores the designers and builders of these Coast Guard cutters. Many of the naval architects and designers are (or were) quite prominent in their respective fields. Biographical information about these various designers and builders is displayed as well as personal portraiture and photographs and actual ship plans.

The third theme draws on the research of Howard Chapelle, Don Canney and other historians who specialize in reconstructing vessels from archeological and written evidence. It is often difficult to determine the specifications of a ship after it has been destroyed and this visual history lesson will prove fascinating to visitors.

The Sailing Coast Guard remains on view through September 10, 2000.


The OPSAIL Art Exhibition: Michael Keane's Maritime Paintings

"The OPSAIL Art Exhibiton: Michael Keane's Maritime Paintings" is on view to the public during the month of July 2000. Michael Keane has been chosen as the official artist of the OPSAIL 2000 Magazine and his artwork accompanies the Tall Ships Festival to each of the hosting cities. Lyman Allyn has been designated the OPSAIL 2000 venue for the presentation of his work.

Michael Keane's first picture, at the age of four, was of a boat. He has been painting and drawing the sea and its ships ever since. His extensive training in classical oil painting and lifelong interest in ships are braced by his "second" professions as a ship model builder and technical illustrator. Keane has won numerous awards for his paintings including the R. J. Schaefer Award of Excellence at the Mystic Seaport International Juried Show. His original works and limited, edition prints are displayed in numerous private and corporate collections.

Read more about the Lyman Allyn Art Museum 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. 3/18/11

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