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Ocean Scene Aiden Lassell Ripley, Beach Scene ca. 1935, Images © Arthur J. Phelan


The Phelan Collection

This exhibition traces the maritime and seaside history of the U.S. through 50 paintings beginning with a rare 1828 portrait by John S. Blunt of a U.S. Naval frigate.  It includes a paddlewheel steamboat by James Bard, commercial vessels on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and the Great Lakes, an oceangoing tall ship in New York Harbor by Antonio Jacobsen and 20th century racing yachts by A. O. Fischer.

Highlights of the exhibition are paintings by major American Impressionists, William M. Chase, Frank W. Benson, and Robert Vonnoh. It also offers many views of Connecticut seaside towns, whaling ports turned tourist meccas for artists and the wealthy. These range from Cos Cob’s Mianus River by Elmer MacRae, through scenes Old Lyme by Wilson Irvine and Willard Metcalf, to views of Mystic, by G. A. Thompson, Charles H. Davis and others.

The subjects range from seascapes by A. T. Bricher and William Trost Richards and West Coast views of Lake Tahoe and the Columbia River, to life on the beach in the 20th century.  A selection of industrial waterfront scenes from 20th Century modernists such as Preston Dickinson and Reginald Marsh reflect the time when even artists celebrated the heights of American industry.

Click to read an article on Reflections of Water that recently ran in the February 2012 issue, page 74, of American Art Review


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