“Monhegan to Paris” opens at the Wiscasset Bay Gallery in Wiscasset, Maine on Saturday, July 7th with a reception from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. The event is free and open to the public and light refreshments will be served.
Viewers to the show may wonder what two seemingly disparate places, the cosmopolitan metropolis of Paris and the remote island of Monhegan, ten miles off the Maine coast, have in common. Both developed as artist destinations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Paris became an intellectual center for the arts with artists gathering in cafes for lively and heated debates. Monhegan, on the other hand, became an escape for many artists from New York and other urban areas and provided a freedom of exploration in a rugged, natural setting.
As Paris expanded rapidly during the Industrial Revolution and a bourgeois class began to develop, Parisian artists likewise sought to escape the city’s confines and soaring real estate prices. They retreated to the edge of the city in Montmartre, where some rural landscape remained with windmills, farms and cheap rent.
In Fernand Herbo’s (French, 1905-1995) colorful and dynamic gouache of “Place Blanche, Paris,” the viewer sees the foot of Montmartre and the bright red windmill of the Moulin Rouge. Opening in 1889, Moulin Rouge was an entertainment magnet for Paris bourgeois and artists alike. Auguste Grass-Mick (French, 1873-1963) captured the star of the Moulin Rouge, Louise Weber or La Goulue, in a vibrant pastel showing her profile in blues, greens and oranges. La Goulue was also a favorite of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec and he featured her on some of his most famous posters.
Traveling back across the Atlantic, the viewer observes Walter Farndon’s (American, 1876-1964) “Summer Day, Monhegan Harbor.” Farndon first came to Monhegan in the 1920’s and in this work he captures the warm afternoon light on the sailing and fishing boats contrasting the cool blues of the water and soft purples of the wharf. Contemporaries of Farndon, Charles Ebert (American, 1873-1959) and his wife Mary Roberts Ebert (American, 1873-1956) likewise explored the island rendering the village harbor and Manana island in both oils and watercolors. Other important Monhegan Island artists featured in the exhibition include Andrew Winter (American, 1893-1958), Jay Hall Connaway (American, 1893-1970), Samuel Peter Rolt Triscott (American, 1846-1925), Sears Gallagher (American, 1869-1955), Theophile Schneider (American, 1876-1960) and Morris Shulman (American, 1912-1978).
Important Paris artists whose works are also on display include Francois Gall (French, 1912-1987), Edouard Manet (French, 1832-1883), Aristide Maillol (French, 1861-1944), Andre Derain (French, 1880-1954), Cesar Villacres (French, 1880-1941) and Lucien Genin (French, 1894-1953).
“Monhegan to Paris” will continue at the Wiscasset Bay Gallery, 67 Main Street, Wiscasset, Maine through August 8th. For further information, call (207) 882-7682 or visit the gallery’s website at www.wiscassetbaygallery.com. The Wiscasset Bay Gallery is open daily from 10:30 am until 6:00 pm and is located at 67 Main Street (Route 1) in historic Wiscasset village.