Cape Museum of Fine Arts
The Twelfth National Exhibition of the American Society of Marine Artists
April 28 - July 15, 2001
Cape Cod is indeed the perfect place to celebrate the achievements of some of America's finest maritime artists. It was this environment and its people that drew important artists of the early 20th century to the region to initiate what has become the oldest artist colony in the country.
One might jump to the conclusion that this exhibition would be an easy to digest, uncomplicated collection of portraits of ships at sea. However, the beauty of the Twelfth National Exhibition is that it offers a wonderful variety of media, subject and approach to composition.
History of American Society of Marine Artists
In 1979, a small group of artists gathered together to form the American Society of Marine Artists, a platform to "...recognize, encourage and promote marine art and maritime history." Offering the opportunity for all interested parties, artists and non-artists alike, to come together in their love of the sea and its environs, the Society has grown from that small conclave of artists to over 700 presently active members.
ASMA now has members in 46 states, and that great geographic spread means that there are more artists concerned with inland waters, creeks, backwaters, marshes, and the intertidal zone.
If ship portraiture is less a staple of marine art than it was in 1979, the offsetting benefit is that marine artists now enjoy a much greater range of compositional possibilities and a more personalized approach to the maritime world. All exhibited works are representational paintings and sculptures. What's more, many of the artists have been to sea professionally.
As is obvious, quotes Peter Rogers, vice president, ASMA, "most of us still have our technique, subject matter, and collective intellect deeply rooted in the rich traditions and demands of representational marine art. Since many of us have been to sea, painting in a realist manner is a vocation and craft hard to turn one's back on."
The American Society of Marine Artists (ASMA) is a non-profit tax-exempt organization based in Ambler, PA. Its purpose is to recognize and promote marine art and maritime history and to encourage cooperation among artists, historians, and marine enthusiasts. With members in 46 states, the Society has compiled an impressive record and is widely respected by the art community, galleries, maritime museums, marine and naval enthusiasts, as well as art collectors and art critics. ASMA welcomes as members everyone interested in marine art, the history of marine art, and our rich maritime heritage.
Cape Cod Artists
Five artists from Cape Cod have been juried into the Twelfth National Exhibition of the American Society of Marine Artists (ASMA) which opens at the Cape Museum of Fine Arts in Dennis, MA on April 28, 2001.
Among the 80 juried artists are: Donald Stoltenberg, Nancy Braginton-Smith, Howard Heath, William Muller and Charles Kenney.
The exhibition is considered one of the most prestigious of its kind. Its East Coast appearance is the first in a decade and its first ever on Cape Cod. William Muller and Donald Stoltenberg, Cape Cod ASMA members and artists in the exhibition, were instrumental in persuading the society to have the exhibition appear in the newly expanded Cape Museum of Fine Arts.
Because of its light, many artists are still attracted to the Cape. Last year, American Style magazine named it the "Number One Arts Destination" in the country.
Nearly 30 of the artists in the exhibit come from New England.
Studying the methods of the French Impressionists, Nancy has developed her unique recognizable style using her signature vibrant palette, setting her apart from many contemporary artists. Living on Cape Cod, near the waters of Lewis Bay, provides the artist with the subjects she is most known for: classic sailboats, bay scenes, and children at play on the beach. These are widely collected. (left: Nancy Braginton-Smith, With the Wind, oil, 24 x 30 inches)
Nancy has earned numerous awards and honors, and is an elected member of the CopIey Society (C.A.) in Boston, and the Pastel Society o America (P.S.A.). Her education includes studies at the Cape Cod School of Art, Swain School, and New England School of Art and Design, forming a solid foundation for her work. (right: Nancy Braginton-Smith, A Hazy Wet Sail, oil, 21 x 25 inches)
Braginton-Smith was commissioned by Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, the Figawi Race Committee, and the Falmouth Yacht Club to produce promotional paintings for their events, as well as participating in fundraising events at the Cape Museum of Fine Arts.
Howard Heath is a native of Massachusetts, born in Brookline and educated in Needham. During World War II he served in the US Army Air Force in England and France. He has always had a great love of art and showed natural talent and promise. After the War he graduated from Vesper George School of Art in Boston and then worked in industry and art studios as a designer and illustrator for over 35 years. His desire to realize his own creative potential caused him to participate in several workshops including portraiture with Robert Cormier of Boston, water color techniques with Bill Ternes from Sherborne and figure drawing with King Coffin at the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts. (left: Howard Heath, Changing Weather, oil, 30 x 38 inches)
Professionally, Mr. Heath is a member of the Cape Cod Art Association, the American Society of Marine Artists, the Yarmouth Art Guild and the Museum of Fine Arts in Dennis. He has received awards and honors from these as well as from the Latham Foundation, the North Light and Artist's Magazine. He is also a member of the Oil Painters of America.
Charles Kenney was born in Boston in 1919. He served in the United States Coast Guard during World War II. After attending art school in Boston, he enjoyed a successful career as a commercial artist. Since retiring from this profession, he has worked exclusively as a marine artist at his home in Sagamore Beach, Massachusetts. He is an elected member of the American Society of Marine Artists, and his art work is seen not only in its original form on canvas but also in print form and on calendars. He has received commissions from the Navy Department and the Raytheon Company. Mr. Kenney's paintings have been displayed in leading East Coast galleries including The Mariners' Museum at Newport News, Virginia, The Maryland Historical Society, and the Marine Gallery at Mystic Seaport, Connecticut. (left: Charles Kenney, Island Steamship Sankaty Leaving Nantucket, oil, 21 1/2 x 27 1/2 inches)
Mr. Kenney's heritage is firmly anchored in the sea. His father, an uncle and his grandfather were all shipmasters, the latter having been lost at sea. His uncles were all sea-going men as was his maternal grandfather, who was also a builder of small schooners and brigs.
William G. Muller was a founding director and is a Fellow of the American Society of Marine Artists, and is an elected member of the Society of American Historical Artists. An advisor to the National Maritime Historical Society, Bill's art work is widely recognized by maritime historians and curators for its scholarship, sensitivity and historical accuracy.
Inspired during his childhood years while growing up in New York City near the Hudson River where he watched the busy shipping traffic, Bill was especially enticed by the majestic old sidewheel river steamboats that were still plying the Hudson back then. He subsequently served for several of his youthful summers as Quartermaster-pilot of the famous "Alexander Hamilton", last of the now-vanished classic steam side-wheelers.
"As a painter," Bill explains, "I am especially and aesthetically attracted to the historical maritime decades from the 1850's through the 1930's. This was a significant time span, in my view, when most vessels, whether sailing craft, trans-ocean liners or harbor tugboats, emerged from their builder's yards as objects of beauty and grace. They possessed a grand character with their rich content of woodwork, and in the alluring curves of their sculpted hulls and sweeping sheer lines. They stood uniquely apart in their distinctive form from all other massive man-made structures. They were an ultimate symbol of human achievement and mobility. It is my passion to try to recapture in my paintings the majesty of those grand vessels and, as well, to capture the compelling atmosphere of the old ports and waterways that the vanished ships had served." (left: William G. Muller, Liner "Independence" Departing New York, oil, 27 x 37 inches)
His work has been exhibited in many maritime museums, and is represented in numerous private and corporate collections.
Donald Stoltenberg received a BS from the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology, and has taught at the Institute of Design in Chicago, the Rhode Island School of Design, the DeCordova Museum School, Falmouth Artists Guild, and the Cape Cod Conservatory of Music and Art. He is the author of Collagraph Printmaking and The Artist and the Built Environment. His work is in numerous collections and he has been awarded many prizes including the Boston Park Purchase Award for 1996 and First Prize for Watercolor, Chatham Creative Arts Center, 1996. His work has been illustrated in Painting with the White of your Paper; Splash 1, 2 and 4; Best of Watercolor; Best of Watercolor 2; and Abstracts in Watercolor. (left: Donald Stoltenberg, QE2 at Bermuda Dockyard, oil, 31 x 45 inches)
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