Cape Ann Museum July 27 | Who Was Ben Butler? special program with Gloucester Stage

16. Alfred James Wiggin (1823-1883), General Benjamin F. Butler (1818-1893).jpgUpcoming special event at Cape Ann Museum

Who Was Ben Butler? A series of presentations at the Cape Ann Museum

The Cape Ann Museum and Gloucester Stage Company are pleased to present Who Was Ben Butler? a special arrangement of speakers and performers on Saturday, July 27 at 2:00 p.m. This program will take place at 27 Pleasant Street, Gloucester and is free for Gloucester Stage Company & Museum members or $10 nonmembers(includes Museum admission). Reservations are required. For more information visit capeannmuseum.org or call 978-283-0455 x10.

Benjamin Franklin Butler of Gloucester had many admirers and detractors as he helped shape the course of mid-19th century America.  He won a seat in Congress while camping in Bay View, started the Cape Ann Granite Company, owned the yacht “America,” championed women’s suffrage, and changed the course of the Civil War, not through military skill but legal acumen.  These accomplishments are among many achieved in a life spent in business, law, and the military.

In 21st century Gloucester, however, Butler remains a cypher.

The Gloucester Stage Company and the Cape Ann Museum are pleased to re-introduce Ben Butler to his adopted city.

Gloucester Stage will present the play BEN BUTLER August 2-25, and in anticipation of that, the Cape Ann Museum and Gloucester Stage will offer an opportunity to acquaint themselves with one of Gloucester’s most accomplished citizens.  Professor Robert Forrant (U. Mass Lowell), a noted Butler historian, will join some of Butler’s Bay View descendants for a lively discussion, and actors from the play BEN BUTLER will make an appearance to give a hint at this fascinating and witty play.

Image credit: Alfred James Wiggin, Benjamin F. Butler. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum.

About the Cape Ann Museum Continue reading “Cape Ann Museum July 27 | Who Was Ben Butler? special program with Gloucester Stage”

Sold 91+ million! Edward Hopper crushes world auction records at Christie’s American sale

The 1929 painting, Chop Suey, by Edward Hopper, sold for $91,875,000 (including auction and buyer premiums) on November 13, 2018. It was the premiere lot at Christie’s November sale of American art, and provided quite a return for the heirs dispensing the Barney A. Ebsworth marquee collection. A native of St. Louis, Ebsworth made his fortune in the travel industry (Royal Cruise Lines). He maintained ties with museums across the country because of his stellar collection. Reportedly, Ebsworth promised to gift the painting to the Seattle Art Museum about 2007 and contradicted those statements in later years. Even if it’s spelled out directly, wills and contracts can be broken.

The hammer price for Chop Suey was 85 million net which fell squarely within its presale auction estimate range of 70 million to 100 million. The buyer is unknown. There was a bidding war, and initial rumors suggest it was acquired for a public collection.

Hopper’s prices have raced since 2000. Hopper’s former record at auction was 40.5 million- also at Christie’s– for East Wind Over Weehawken, a 1934 oil painting sold  on November 26, 2013. That sale toppled Hopper’s prior record of $26.9 million (for Hotel Window). Just ten years ago, the Cincinnati art museum purchased one of Hopper’s masterpieces, Prospect Street Gloucester, 1929, for 2 million from yet another Christie’s sale. That selection was one of the countless smart acquisitions led by a superb curator, Jane Glaubinger. Hopper’s 1934 oil painting of Sun on Prospect Street had been part of the museum’s collection as a result of the Edwin and Virginia Irwin Memorial since 1959. (At 8.4 million, Cape Ann Granite was a savvy purchase from the sales last spring.)

c EDWARD HOPPER _Chop Suey_32 x 38_ 1929 oc_Christies presale estimate 70 mil to 100 million

Edward Hopper_Sun on Prospect Street _Cincinnati Art Museum collection

New York Times features Edward Hopper #GloucesterMA painting

 

“What was an important early personal acquisition?

“The Hopper painting. It’s called “Hodgkin’s House.” I was really nervous about it. It was at the time certainly the most expensive thing by far I had ever bought. It belonged to David Geffen. It’s one of the things that’s skyrocketed in value. There are just so few in private hands.”

EDWARD HOPPER all around Gloucester Hodgkin's House 505 Washington Street GLOUCESTER MA© c ryan

New York Times Jan 8 2018 Laurie Tisch Edward Hopper Hodgkins House prior owner was David Geffen

Hodgkin’s House was one of nine Gloucester paintings included in the 1933 Museum of Modern Art Edward Hopper retrospective. The eight other paintings were: Cape Ann Granite,  Houses of Squam Light, Haskell’s House, Marty Welch’s House, Adams’s House,  Freight Cars at Gloucester, Italian Quarter, and Box Factory Gloucester

 Christie’s auction house has released more information about one of the upcoming Rockefeller sales. It includes a good reproduction of Cape Ann Granite.

Edward hopper Cape Ann Pasture ©Christies photograph 2017

What if…a section of Dogtown brush was cleared away? If you missed Chris Leahy at Sawyer Free Library last week come to a summit by Essex County Greenbelt & Mass Audubon at Cape Ann Museum March 4

“This Saturday morning forum is offered in collaboration with Essex County Greenbelt, Friends of Dogtown, Lanesville Community Center and Mass Audubon and held at Cape Ann Museum. The forum will be moderated by Ed Becker, President of the Essex County Greenbelt Association.”

Register here

UPDATE: Cape Ann TV is scheduled to film the event!

hopper-yale
Edward Hopper Cape Ann Pasture watercolor drawing (ca.1928) was gifted to Yale University in 1930
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East Gloucester Atwood’s Gallery on the Moors as seen on the left in 1921–open vistas at that time

 

Chris Leahy gave a presentation at Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library on February 23, 2017: Dogtown- the Biography of a Landscape: 750 Million Years Ago to the Present
A photographic history through slides presented by the Gloucester Lyceum and the Friends of the Library. Mary Weissblum opened the program.

Chris broadly covered the history of the local landscape from an ecological bent with a bias to birds and blueberry picking, naturally. New England is a patchwork of forested landscapes. He stressed the evolution of bio diversity and succession phenomenon when the earth and climate change. “Nature takes a lot of courses.” He focused on Dogtown, “a very special place”, and possible merits of land stewardship geared at fostering greater biodiversity. Perhaps some of the core acres could be coaxed to grasslands as when parts of Gloucester were described as moors? Characteristic wildlife, butterflies, and birds no longer present may swing back.  There were many philosophical takeaways and tips: he recommends visiting the dioramas “Changes in New England Landscape” display at Harvard Forest HQ in Petersham.

“Isolation of islands is a main driver of evolution”

“Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester has the highest concentration* of native butterflies in all of Massachusetts because of secondary habitats.”  *of Mass Audubon’s c.40,000 acres of wildlife sanctuaries statewide. “The fact that Brook Meadow Brook is in greater Worcester, rather than a forested wilderness, underscores the value of secondary habitats.”

“1830– roughly the time of Thoreau (1817-1862)– was the maximum period of clearing thus the heyday for grasslands…As farmsteads were abandoned, stages of forests return.”

Below are photos from February 23, 2017. I added some images of art inspired by Dogtown. I also pulled out a photograph by Frank L Cox, David Cox’s father, of Gallery on the Moors  (then) compared with a photo of mine from 2011 to illustrate how the picturesque description wasn’t isolated to Dogtown.

img_20170223_200058img_20170223_190206img_20170223_190350img_20170223_200204

hopper-2
Edward Hopper, Cape Ann Granite, 1928, oil on canvas can we get this painting into the Cape Ann Museum collection?

dogtown-cape-ann-massachuestts-by-louise-upton-brumback-o-c-vose-galleryLouise Upton Brumback (1867-1929), Dogtown- Cape Ann, 1920 oil on canvas

atwood-cox-gallery-on-the-moors-photo-1921

Discover the History of Cape Ann Granite

Local author releases exciting new title featuring stunning, vintage images

The Cape Ann Museum is pleased to present an illustrated book reading/signing with local author Paul St. Germain on Saturday, July 25 at 3:00 p.m. Cape Ann Granite is the newest title in Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series. The book, which is set to release on July 20, 2015, boasts over 200 vintage images, many of which have never been published. This program is free and open to the public.unnamedThe granite industry began on Cape Ann with the first sale of a piece of Rockport granite, for use as a millstone, to a farmer in Newburyport in 1800. The industry would grow to include more than 60 quarries and operations around the cape, becoming the second-largest economic force in the area behind fishing. Hundreds were employed as quarrymen, stonecutters, paving cutters, and finishers. Cape Ann was particularly well fitted for the pursuit of granite as its rocky hills and shores afforded a comparatively inexhaustible source of supply, and its splendid shipping facilities gave the advantage of quick and economical transportation to market by sea and land. The industry eventually declined, and by 1930, most quarries had gone out of business because of labor strikes and low demand. Today, most of these quarries are filled with water, and many are used as reservoirs for the surrounding communities.

The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

Paul St. Germain has been a Rockport resident for 20 years and has written two other books in the Images of America series about the lighthouses and lifesaving stations on Cape Ann and Thacher Island. With assistance from the Cape Ann Museum, the Sandy Bay Historical Society archives, and other private collections, he has developed a revealing record of the men, the quarries, the tools, and the final uses of Cape Ann granite around the nation.