- Lesson Details
In the first week of this course, you will learn from instructor Stapleton Kearns how to analyze the design and composition of New England landscape painters in history, like Aldro T. Hibbard, Emile Gruppe, Lester Stevens, and others. These lectures lay crucial groundwork for your landscape painting journey.
Throughout this course, you’ll have access to the NMA community for feedback and critiques to improve your work as you progress.
want to talk to you today about little bit about art history, but
a specific area. I'll talk about New England art history.
Being a New England artist these are my heroes,
I want to stop first and say a little bit about the importance
of knowing your art history. Particularly your area's art
history or at least your nation's art history. I think
it's a -
it's important for a couple reasons. Imagine if you came
to me and you had that brand new cheap Squier Stratocaster
in your hand and you said Stape I'm going to be a rock and roll
guitarist and I said, you mean like Chuck Berry
and you said to me who?
I think what
you got to know Chuck Berry if you're going to be a great
guitar player, you gotta know Jimi Hendrix. You gotta
know Lonnie Mack. It's just the way it is because you can't
make great art without knowing what it looks like and looking
at your own art won't get you there. You need to figure out
what it is about that is great art and why your art isn't.
It's always about making your art better and that's about
having models to look at. A lot of times I'm out painting,
I'm at a loss for how to handle something as I joked yesterday
in the episode we're doing these you got to watch me
struggle. I struggle with this. It never gets easier,
the longer you do it the harder it gets. But one of the things
that helps me a lot is I've put a lot of study into artist's
old art, particularly a couple and for me - it'd be different for
you. But for me, it's Willard Metcalf and Aldro Hibbard. To a
lesser extent Edward Seago.
And I'll be on a location and I'm confused about how to
I can't - I'm not sure how I want to deal with some painting problem that's
hopped up at me. But
I know how Willard Metcalf would have done it and that's a
start. Doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to do it the way
Willard did, but I know at least one solution, probably a couple.
I probably know how Aldro Hibbard would paint this subject. bird would pay this subject
That gives me a - I've got in my head running all the time a
library of great art that I know that I can shuffle
through when I'm looking for the solution to the painting
problems. More than that, you know, there are a lot
of people - like take John Sargent. There are a lot of people
out there have fabulous chops. Sargent had fabulous chops,
his technique was impeccable, but that 19th century was full
of people with those chops. You've go to the auctions and
you see somebody you've never heard of, some French guy from
1870 with just amazing abilities, technical abilities.
You never even heard of him, he isn't even good enough to be in
the museums. You can buy one for the price of a used car.
Chops are great. You're expected to have them but there's another
thing that's at least as important. And that is taste.
Sargent was great not because of his technical chops. Yeah
he had them but he was great because of his taste. You've got
to have taste and taste is developed by studying
aesthetics. You need to know
as much about art as you can. You may not use any of it, but
you got to have it in there and that doesn't include just
paintings. You should know the orders of furniture. You need
to know a little bit about architecture, don't need expertise on
any of these except maybe the art but you should know a
little bit about all the things that mankind has built that are
beautiful, why they're beautiful, what the tenants are that make
them beautiful and almost all the art, you go to the museum, all
those artists knew this stuff.
Now we have tendency to sort of live in the present and think
that what only matters is the now but you'll be a far better
painter if you are advised by a whole mental library full of
great art running in the background of your mind just as a
musician needs to know
the guitar players that came before him. You need to know
the painters that came before you, it's important.
Transcription not available.
And these are painters who were my heroes.
And I went to - I went to the art schools like everybody did for about a
year, had a great time in art school.
Women love me when I was young, they imagined I was sensitive.
You could have a lot of fun in art school in 1970, but I didn't learn anything.
I was embarrassed to be spending my parents' money just burning my
parents' money at such a rapid clip.
But I was, my teachers didn't know anything.
And I got ended up getting correspondence with this old man in Boston, R.
Ives Gammell and going to study with him.
And he put before me, what had been his education ran for World War II.
He was a student of all the Boston painters, Benson Tarbell, and I
turned into a landscape painter, but I was trained as a figure,
you know, doing figures and heads and all the sort of things that
you guys are probably working at.
EIther way, one afternoon, I was walking down Newbury Street and,
which is the, the art - where the art galleries are in Boston.
And I saw Childs Gallery, no longer there, but at that point was the
oldest existing art gallery in America.
And they had, I went in and they had a show of a guy that I'd heard his
name, but I didn't know about him.
His name was Aldro T.
Aldro short for [indistinct], T.
Hibbard, H I B B A R D.
And I saw this show and it changed my life.
I looked at this stuff and it was just so cool.
and it set me off on a search eventually put me in Rockport, Massachusetts.
He was associated with Rockport, but let me tell you about Aldro
Hibbert was born 1886, dies in 1972.
So he would be my grandparents generationI suppose, born in Falmouth
Mass moves to Dorchester, graduates from Dorchester high school in 1906, to give
you an idea of the time period here.
Studies at what was then the mass normal school of art, again on Newbury
Street, that building's still there, but it's no longer an art school.
And, here's Aldro now let's see if I can blow up and you see his face.
This is a picture of him when he's older, but he's out painting in the snow.
And he was known as a snow painter.
That was his thing.
He paid a lot of other things.
Funny thing was he was a remarkable guy.
He was actually played a lot of baseball and he was - he had a good
chance of being a professional baseball player and he had to make a choice.
He was being drafted or they were trying to get into play on some farm team.
I think for Cincinnati.
Doesn't matter, either way he had deliberately decided
no I'm going to paint.
It's more important to me than baseball, but he spent the rest
of his life coaching baseball, and he knew people like Ted Williams.
He was a baseball fanatic.
I think maybe a lot of guys in that generation were, but he
was very tall for his period of - time period in which he lived.
And he was muscular and rangy and he was, he was really, quite a vital guy.
Think John Wayne with a paintbrush, he studies in Boston with Tarbell
Benson day camp, and they're the people that are called the Boston school.
And they were very important group of American painters from late 19th in
the very beginning of the 20th century.
And a lot of them were teaching, what was then the Mass.
Normal school and what became Mass.
College of art and design.
In fact, my own teacher Ives Gammell, stayed with those people
and was the same generation.
Hibbard is sort of a prodigy in art school.
He's at one point evidently Tarbell took him aside and asked him if he could make
it look like it was a little harder.
He was just a natural to the extent there are naturals, he worked real
hard, but he was marked from the beginning as somebody who was special.
He wins a prize, the Page Traveling Fellowship to go and tour Europe.
Takes his mother with him.
I always wondered what the deal was with that, but he took his mother
with him and they travel in 1913.
They go over and they travel in England and Italy and the really the earliest
non-student paintings we see from Hibbard are of Venice and they're like 1913, but
he's got a scholarship to travel a couple of years, but World War I breaks out.
He and his mother cut the trip short and come back.
And, a few years later Aldro Hibbard - well, first Wilder, Hibbard finds Vermont.
Discovers Vermont and begins painting snow pictures in Vermont.
And he's - ends up associated really with Jamaica, Vermont.
That's tiny little town in Vermont, still there.
And he is enamored with a guy I talked about a little
bit earlier, Willard Metcalf.
So he's painting sort of like Willard Metcalf in a broken color technique.
In about 1920, he discovers Rockport, Massachusetts.
Moves to Rockport Massachusetts, and Rockport at this time is full of artists.
People are moving there from New England and from really all over
the country, all over the world, because it had a funny thing about it.
People thought of it - well, originally the artists moved there to paint cause
beautiful, the old harbors and granite quarries and lot of subject matter.
And it was a fishing town about 40 miles North of Boston, but it was very
picturesque, old too, a lot of houses in the 1700s and a few older than that.
Very, very picturesque, very affordable.
And within a few years, clients started coming to Rockport to
buy the art of the artists there.
The modern thing really hits after the arm race and it becomes harder for
people to find traditional painting more and more becomes difficult.
And they start - Rockport becomes the go-to place to buy a traditional
painting in New England, even from people coming from New York.
So you have influx of summer visitors and in those days, you know, those
early days, it was hot in the cities.
Air conditioning wasn't a thing yet.
And in the early part of this year, you could still get
cholera in Boston in the summer.
So and the railroad lines ran up to Rockport.
It made sense to rent for the summer in Rockport, put your wife
and kids in Rockport and then.
you go to work on the train, come home at night, but families and people would come
for the entire summer to be in Rockport.
And during that time, they'd collect art.
I got there in 83, opened my first gallery in 83, and I saw people from all over
and people would come for a week maybe in those days, people would come in the
summers much later, but they'd come for an entire week and they'd spend that week
walking around and see every painting.
And they're probably 50 professional artists galleries in that town.
And it was a different situation than anywhere else you'd open a gallery.
If I had opened my gallery in Chicago, people walk in and say,
well, there's only one artist in this gallery, and this is the guy,
that doesn't seem very professional.
Where's the dealer with a dozen different artists for me to choose
from, it would seem off, but in Rockport it was the expectation.
People came to Rockport to meet the artist, see his work in the
gallery and buy a painting from him.
And that went on for about 50 years.
It's died back a lot.
Now, there aren't that many art galleries in Rockport now,
but there were probably 50.
When I got there in 1983, run by a single artists, selling their art at the door.
I opened my first gallery because there really wasn't a gallery in New England
in which to show my work there weren't galleries for traditional painting.
There were galleries for modern art, but there weren't galleries in
traditional painting that's changed.
but in those days, people went to Rockport for that.
And so the artists moved, there was a beautiful place to paint and they
could open a little gallery, sell their art, but also they ran summer schools.
Almost all the artists I'm going to show you had summer art program.
They ran and people came from all over the country and they knew their work
from the art magazines, particularly the old American artists magazine, it's gone
now but when I was a kid, it was - when I was a kid it was a great magazine.
I came to Rockport partially because I knew all the Rockport artists from
that magazine was a huge national, it was the how-to magazine until 20 years
ago, 15, 20 years ago for a long time.
And all these artists had been in magazines and a lot of them were
featured national advertising, things like the railroads hired Aldro
Hubbard, paint pictures of their trains running through beautiful scenery.
And there were pretty well known artists these guys, they weren't
just regionally known ,s they sold out all over the country.
The first one Aldro Hibbard here, and this is is Aldro and he's out
painting and he's got all his equipment with him in the snow, big cigar,
trademark cigar in his mouth there, gets to Rockport in the early 1920s.
And within a couple of years, he's a leader.
Within a couple of years he and some buddies get together and they
form the Rockport Art Association.
Now it still exists.
Now it's the Rockport Art Association and Museum, still exists.
They had some money.
They had some wealthy donors who helped them buy what was a small
Tavern from gee I think a little before the American revolution.
And build a big gallery on the back of it and connect to another existing
building that was sort of a barn.
And they had a big show space.
And probably hang 300 paintings in the place, big place.
Either way Aldro forms the Rockport Art Association.
He is the leader of a group of artists and they all pretty much looked up
to him as a very successful artist.
Although I knew his daughter pretty well.
I never knew Aldro.
I missed all these guys are going to show you except for one, Aldro developed
a, sort of a shorthand style though.
Almost all these are winter pictures.
There are summer pictures from Aldro Hibbard, but not that many.
He was a snow painter.
In the summer he ran a school.
People came from all over to study with Aldro Hibbard.
And then he you'd see his classes out on the wharves or up in the
headlands, overlooking the town.
There's lots of photographs of Aldro out with 10, 15 students.
And he had a monitor.
A fellow helped him teach named Alden Brian, who I did know
Alden died maybe 10 years ago.
So I've had some - I've listed some - I talk about being
in one of Aldro's classes.
I wish I could have been there.
I have to say though, there are a bunch of people I knew who stayed with them
and a few of them were good, but all in all for some reason, Aldro didn't
produce great streams of students who became famous artists one or two
well-known, but not so many oddly, I don't know if he was a good teacher or not.
I'm not certain of that, he was certainly a great painter.
Let's look at some of those paintings here.
See if I can make this thing work, I have to hit this button and then I get, I'm
just going to pick this one right here because I think it's particularly nice.
I was like this one, this guy is my hero.
Uncheck that, and then I got this.
Well, here's now over here, bird now.
And this is a particularly good one.
I know where this one lives.
I've actually seen in the flesh a couple of times, a fabulous painting.
It's about this size.
It's a pretty good picture.
It's probably a 30 by 40 or something in there.
Hibbard did a funny thing, you know, one time he walked into - he was
showed a lot with dealers in New York and he walked into a dealer.
Artists like to walk into galleries they were in on announced to see if
they've got your paintings hung up.
sometimes you'll have bunch of art in a gallery and they won't hang it.
You go in there and your paintings aren't hung on the wall.
In which case I usually pull my art.
I tell them, you know, I got closets at home, but in this instance, Aldro
walks into a well-known gallery in New York and his picture isn't hanging
and he looks around and one of his frames is, they've pulled one of his
valuable frames off his painting put somebody else's picture in so they
could sell it and hung it on the wall.
And Aldro was very unhappy about that.
And so he started painting off sizes.
So 24 by 36 is a standard size.
Aldro would paint 25 by 36 that sort of thing.
So the oftentimes Aldro's are slightly unusual sizes.
Most of the Rockport guys, and you're going to see tended
to paint a square format.
In fact, a lot of people did in this era, they really we're talking 1920 to 1965 is
the era most of these guys operated in.
And a lot of them painted square sizes and I tend to paint some
square pictures of myself.
Just I find a little easier to design.
Oftentimes I'm designing a, you know, longer format like an 18 by 24.
And I've got this piece out over the, on the end I don't really need.
The picture is here and I'm trying to figure out what to do with this quarter.
The canvas is sticking out by this end.
So a lot of times these guys paint a 25 by 30s.
Willard Metcalf painted 26 by 29s.
I've done a lot of those too, and that's a nice, just almost square . I
like to paint 16 by 20s, 20 by 24s.
Square shapes and lot of these Aldro Hibbard's are that way too.
This is less that way.
There's probably 24, 30, maybe a little bigger and it's - I've
tried hard to find this bridge.
I'm guessing it just no longer exists.
The title of the painting is the eyebrow bridge.
You can see it's got this arch over the top, like an eyebrow.
But let's talk a little bit about how this - Aldro is a designer.
These things are deliberate arrangements.
And they're not exactly - I mean, it's believable, but it's not exactly
what's in front of hime, made a lot of changes to the way nature appears
to make it bolder, to get power into his paintings, his powerful paintings.
He's done a bunch of things.
One of them is that this picture, you don't look into the picture and see it.
Here's this, this is behind it.
This is behind it.
This is behind this, that.
The recession into the picture plane is not straight down the middle like this.
The recession is picture plane is diagonal.
As it goes into the picture, it goes diagonally in the picture.
He starts in this corner.
The tree is behind that.
The river's behind that, this embankment, these stones, it marches back the planes
march back into this painting at a 45 degree angle of the picture plane.
That's a little unusual.
It's something he uses over and over again.
In fact, he does this, he's got this front - the closest thing to
us right here, the two corners of this painting are not equidistant.
Most times when you get up plein air painting and you get people outside
you look at the picture and the whole foreground is an equal distance from you.
The right-hand corner of the left-hand corner equally far from you, but
that's not what's going on here.
He's starts you going into this picture from the lower right-hand
corner and everything - the left-hand corner is further away.
This pictures recession is at a diagonal going into the picture.
Rather than you're marching straight back with the things behind you and each
of these corners equally far from you.
I hope I've made that clear.
It's a little confusing.
Let me explain it like this: this corner goes in like so, like here,
and the next plane, that river, goes behind it, it looks like this here's,
this corner goes rocks in like so and this plane shoots behind it.
It's built in a different way than you might imagine.
Another thing that goes on here is the planes of which these things are
constructed are very obviously laid out.
All these rocks in here.
Let's see if I can blow it up.
Look at that.
See these rocks here in the foreground, look at the lines which
define them, see how those are all defining these sort of square planes
and go back into the distance.
All those marks and they're here too see them, there's - I'll accent the
planes, this is plane, our construction.
It gives form gives solidity to things.
He's thinking always about how those planes are going back into
space and they're all over it.
There's another one that the structure of this thing, you can see those lines
right in there doing the same thing.
It was all deliberately arranged and that isn't - he's twisted what he's looking at.
He's taken what's in front of him and simplifying it and reducing
it and putting structure into it.
And that's typical of these paintings is that there's enormous
amount of structure in them.
So many other things going on here a lot.
Let's talk about simplification in that these things are really simplified.
Look at - well, look at these trees.
See how few branches they're on these trees?
Nothing extraneous in this.
He wants to just see this big sky up there.
And so he, there's only a certain amount of incursions allowed.
So it isn't just filling this things with trees and leaves.
He strips it back to the essential.
They'll put a handful of branches in there and we'll see some hemorrhage
here as we go along or where you get, you got 10 trees with four
branches going out in the sky.
He just eliminates, throws all that extra detail away because he
wants you to see that sky there.
But of course he places a few things in front of it to form a decorative pattern.
And look at the same thing going up in those trees, see how
simplified those trees are in there?
Let's look at these trees up here.
You see how simplified those trees are?
He's not gone in and looked at here's this tree and here it has this branch on it
and here's this branch and this branch.
Rather than painting individual branches on trees and rather than paying the trees
themselves, he's he goes at the whole clump, the whole bunch of trees with
eight 10 brushstrokes, very simplified things and organized and grouped and
perceived in what they call the call big, the largest possible units going it's
simplified and things are grouped and simplified into a broad masses that you
look at their - you don't see here's the tree, there's a tree, there's a tree.
Oh, there's a bunch of trees back there.
It's all one big unit.
And he does that over and over.
And the whole thing, things are simplified and made more
effective so it reads better.
There are different lines going on here.
You've got this.
you have a waltz, interplay of different lines or a Hibbard is real big on rhythm.
I've talked about rhythm before.
Rhythm is when one line plays with another, either repeats the
curve over again, or sets it off.
Rhythm is how the different lines in the painting relate either echoing
or playing off of one another.
And there's a lot of that going on in here too.
We've got this line coming down like so, it was countered by this
line going the other way over here.
This curve right here that echoes this curve right here.
And that one that echoes it.
And that one echoes it again.
We've got this curve and this curve are related, this curve
and this curve are related.
There's another one here.
All this didn't just happen.
They weren't observed into this landscape.
They were installed.
We've got two hands out there in the landscape.
When we're working, we got to know which one to be using.
You've got one hand, which is observation.
What's out there I put it on the canvas.
nNd the other hand is installation.
What do I take from my own brain and put on that canvas.
And it's always both hands working at once.
You always have to know, am I observing and installing in the landscape?
Or observing in the landscape where I'm installing this painting, both
going at once, gives us a sort of a waltz between art and nature.
Both going at once intertwined on the canvas and that's what's going on here.
There are those lines that play off one another.
Okay, I'm going to come back to this in a few minutes.
Gonna take a little break and I'll be right back.
I'll see you on the other side.
Let's go back and talk some more about Hibbard.
Now, I really stretched out on this one.
I'm going to speed through the next, so many little faster, but I really
wanted to talk about the design ideas in this particular Hibbard.
And you'll see these things happening over and over again.
I'll refer to them briefly, but we're going to move a little quicker now.
There we go love this one too.
Now we're getting into typical Hibbard stuff.
Aldro became known as a snow painter.
Most of the paintings you've seen by Aldro Hibbard are going to be snow pictures.
He was a winter guy, as I said in the summer, he was running a teaching program
in Rockport and playing a lot of baseball.
He coached the town team.
It's funny to think of somebody dividing so much of their time between
painting and athletics, but he did.
This is Rockport.
We're looking out over Rockport, Massachusetts.
His studio is just around the corner here.
If you look down this what looks like a road down the center, it's not, but
it looks like a road down the center.
Just to the left is his studio looking out on back beach and
there's Rockport in the distance.
This place is still there.
Pretty much unchanged today.
It's a little grownup, it's got a lot more weeds and stuff in it.
But what was that they're in his day is behind it on the top of this
hill, which was empty in his day.
there is now a large sort of townhome complex.
And this is in the backyard now of a townhome.
I've actually stood in this location, looked at, there are a
number of versions of this picture.
Now we've got a couple of things going on here Iant to draw your attention
to, one is that I remember I was talking the other day before about
how difficult it was to get a branch on a tree in a Hibbard painting.
He leaves his trees really bare while you're there.
Here's an example of that.
He has left all the branches off these trees.
He wants you to look through them at the landscape and he throws a couple in there.
Just give you the idea that there are trees.
You know, there's a few branches, but all the branches pretty much
been stripped off of these trees.
Guaranteed they didn't look like this was probably completely occluded and all
full of brush and all sorts of stuff.
He leaves it all out.
He's making choices about what he really wants the thing to look like.
There's nothing going on here.
All the values light to dark, all the values are dropped down
low so that the snow is light.
Everything is pretty much silhouetted against the snow.
Everything in the picture is darker than the snow.
He's also dropped the values of the snow down.
He's transposed all the values of what would probably be just
glaring white down a level or two, so that he can model that snow.
If it was just straight white paint, he couldn't get any modeling in there.
So he's dropped the values of all that.
So makes these sort of a lower key picture t.Hen you imagine a outdoor impressionist
painter make. They're lower in key.
That is their values are couched a little lower than we'd expected.
Lovely, broken color thing going on in many places.
There it is.
And in that house right there we are again, that's Rockport.
And we've got that same thing we had before.
Remember here's the same trick going on that we saw in that last
painting, this side rolls in like so, and this drives behind it.
In this case, it also takes you down into the picture.
But the closest thing to us in this picture is this and the middle
ground drives behind - is behind it.
Just pictures divided.
There's one, two, three sections in the foreground that are all in
different places and dimensions.
There isn't one foreground that goes all the way across.
It's all a unified, there's three separate sections.
And none of this gets into this picture by accident.
Everything that is in a picture like this has been plotted out.
He didn't - it didn't just sort of come out that way.
He deliberately made these things happen.
We'll go onto the next one here.
I got a bunch of them I want to show you and I want to keep moving.
I'll stop that one, uncheck that one.
And then we'll go up here and we'll get this right.
And this is my, this is probably the most famous of Aldro Hibbard's paintings.
It's the one you're most likely to run into out there.
And that's a real beauty.
That's Aldro at the height of his powers.
This is up in Vermont.
I don't know just where I haven't found this location.
I know many of his locations, but I don't know just where that is.
And it's full of all kinds of interesting stuff.
Let's look at his paint handling real quickly and pull
up this passage right here.
You look at this, you see the paint in there?
Distance you'd imagine it's just sort of red paint, but you kept close to there's
all kinds of stuff going on in there.
And that was a great example.
I mean, look at this right within this passage here, look at this bar.
This is a big painting by the way.
It's about like this.
Look at this passage here and look at the different - see that,
that's broken color in there.
See that all the different strokes they're running different
directions in different colors.
And he's got this lively looking paint all over this picture and it's
- look at this passenger over here.
See what's going on here?
Another example and all this stuff, our vision assembles it into a
believable picture, but if you pull up close and look at it, you can see all
the variation he has got within it.
Very smart stuff.
Same thing's going on here.
I mean, it's all over.
It's harder to see in here, but if you look at - you see
the snow in the distance.
You've heard me talk about now- certainly it's in here.
Look at that.
See the divisionist or broken color in that.
It' s all over.
It's here in the background, everywhere you look.
This color is enlivened by this variety of stroke and handling.
It's in the foreground, the snow look at this snow look, it touches
these and reflected lights.
He touches those reflected lights in there, and here's our planar stuff.
We've talked about our planes before.
There are some - see that see those planes there is establishing these structures,
marching back into the picture to establish our the other thing about this
picture thing I like so much in Hibbard is everything in this picture is hooked up.
I can put my finger on this painting.
And travel all the way through the darks, through this entire painting,
they're all linked in one way or another.
And it's almost like this one big dark shape that I can travel
all the way through the painting.
pretty much without lifting my finger.
Sometimes that juncture is implied like there, but still
the whole thing is all linked up.
All those darks.
And again that didn't just happen, Aldro put that there let's go on here.
Look at another one.
This is fabulous painting.
I've been always been impressed with that one.
Here's another particularly nice one.
Here we are.
This is up in what is up in Acadia National Park.
It's up - you've probably heard of Bar Harbor.
This is up near Bar Harbor.
Been to this place, stood in this location, studied it, amazing
all that he brought to it.
This not visible.
Any of you that know Bar Harbor or know Acadia know this is sand beach back here.
So he's looking out.
This is Schooner Head that goes out.
It's a point of land that goes out and he's looking back at the
mountains and shore of Acadia and look at that broken color in here.
See this in here, all these fine little brushstrokes, all different colors that
your eye assembles into a lively painting, but it's a much livelier, exciting
handling than just plane brushwork.
Of course, it's impressionist theory.
Same thing goes on down here.
You can see that it's a brush work with the different strokes.
The strokes are laid on the surface of the rocks.
The strokes describe how that rock turns through space and they're all of
them, little different color so that it gives a sparkle and life to the thing.
And then there are these little accents thrown all over, see little white accents,
which I've been known to refer to his puff-o-pods, of things full of puff-o-
pods, little accents thrown all over it.
And look at how bold the darks, the statement of the darks.
This is muscular painting.
It's got a lot of punch to it, lots of strong darks and
strong outlines on things.
Always that visible brush work then, you look in there and you don't just see the
picture of the place, but Aldro is in there too saying how he feels about the
place and expressing it with this sort of excitement and joy in his brushwork.
The brushwork is as much a part of the picture as what the subject is.
It's not really so much where it's a picture of, but how it's a picture of
that's important here . His handling, his treatment, his arrangement
of everything is as important to him as what he is painting.
Oh, uncheck that and go up here and grab this one right here.
I like this one right here.
There we go.
Here's a wonderful painting.
I helped put on an exhibition of about 150 of these.
Back on land maybe 15, 20 years ago now.
And this was one of the pictures I hadn't seen though it was in the show and I've
loved this one and same thing going on here with see over and over again.
Here's this foreground coming in like so, the background ducking behind it.
And again, I don't know where this is.
This may well still be there.
Some of these locations are so typical.
This could be a lot of different places.
I don't particularly know where that is, but there's a lot of places in
Vermont and you could go out and find places that look like - just
like that today without a problem.
And we've got this wonderful simplification of all these trees,
you can see that they're just handful of brushstrokes, but he's doing
another interesting thing in here.
If you look at this, you see how he's throwing - he throws almost
throws the wrong color down first and throws the right color into it.
These trees have got this kind of olive or this green color underneath
them, and then the yellow or the orange color he throws down on top of it.
And it because he's provided the compliment, it doesn't
look over overdone overstated.
He's provided the opposite of the color he wants to use.
And all these are deep violet in this stuff right here.
See how deep and violent that stuff is?
That's cobalt violet, I'm assuming, could be dioxin, but I'm assuming it's cobalt.
So he's got these deep purple shadows, which are characteristic of impressionism.
Then of course, the logic, the reason for that is that - we've got bright sunlight
and in bright sunlight, the shadow takes on the copper and the color of the light.
So if you've got this bright, yellow way, orange light blowing into this thing,
your shadows are going to be violent.
There it is in those.
And they're going to reflect the sky and that's why the snow
is so blue in the foreground.
And of course, there's wonderful variation in the colors of that as well.
It's warmed and cooled, there's variation.
So it isn't like house painting so you don't look at it as one, just solid tone.
Everything is enlivened with variations and all these houses he's dropped
down, were they all painted that dark.
I doubt it.
They're all deliberately - everything has made darker than the snow.
He wants that snow to ring out and be real important.
Most of the picture, you know, there's a nice rule of thumb on
snow painting and seascape paying.
If you're paying, painting a snow scape, you want most of
it to be covered with snow.
Going to exceptions to that.
But most of the time you want most of us know skid recovers, snow,
and this one is, and he's dropped everything else down in value.
So it tell us against that snow, keeps that snow nice and bright.
This picture is up in here.
I'll bet it's about a 20 by 24, maybe a little larger than that.
here's a sweet one too.
I like this one.
I've seen this one in the flesh.
It's in a collection that I happened - o was invited to see.
And it's got wonderful - again, that wonderful brushwork going on up in here.
See the variation in there and here that wonderful brushstrokes laid over the top
one another all kind of closely related.
Some are a little redder, r some a little greener, but they're all
closely related notes, but they assemble and make you believe
that that building is so variable, weathered and lovely texture to it.
And it's exciting painting when you look at it.
And of course, things are very simplified.
There's this tree with maybe - right here with maybe six, eight, 10 brush strokes.
Bang one, two, three.
There it is.
It's an obvious, all it needs to say.
It doesn't have to go in and make a portrait of that individual tree.
He has made portraits for the individual buildings.
That's important to him all the time we're looking at Hibbards or
other Rockport guys, there's always this awareness, the part of what
should be specific, what should be generic and this is real specific.
That's just that barn.
It's got all those variations in it, that tree's generic.
Could be any tree it's not particularly characterized.
It's not a portrait of an individual tree.
It's almost a tree symbol.
And this picture he's beginning to go into, what is almost a shorthand
for expressing what he's looking at, this thing has got a lot of velocity
in it as a very quickly painted.
That deliberately looks to have been very quickly painted
more so than a lot of his work.
There's a broad range in his work.
It goes from very loose and rough that's looser and rougher, big brush
strokes, big plane, some outlines.
See the outlining that says drawing and hanging out there.
the summer like that now there's are very much more polished.
A pretty good example.
Here we have an interesting thing.
There's a wonderful sort of rural scene up in Vermont.
All this interesting stuff I've been talking about all along.
Look at all the variation in here.
Each of these roof sections faces a different direction.
They're different shapes.
They're saggy and they've got spots and dots and lines.
He's made this through his paint handling.
Just as interesting as you possibly can.
Look at this passage here, see on the brushwork in there, different lines,
established the way planes lay out.
There's lots of stuff there.
That's just a lot.
I don't know what this is.
Is that a pile of something?
I have no idea.
Don't need to know.
Little dots like this and little accents of red in the door.
This pillar is in the light at the top and not at the bottom, no serious counter
change against the light background.
The pillars dark against the dark background.
The pillar becomes light, all sorts of little tricks going in there
to give it sparkle and energy.
Every time he does one of those little things it's to give the painting life.
To make it more lively than it would be without it.
And to explain the form and give that impression as brush stroke so that
there's fun for the viewer in seeing it,
And as usual he's - a lot of - there are a lot of, fall paintings by Rockport,
Gloucester artists of the era that are up in Vermont and often they're there
just after peak, that's sort of the golden time up there after Columbus
Day when it it's past peak and there's just enough foliage left to give you
some color accents, but not enough to occlude the landscape behind it.
There's another weird thing that goes on in this painting you
see all the time in Vermont.
You all are familiar with using atmospheric perspective, but often time in
Vermont, oftentimes the most, the darkest thing in the picture is the distance.
You don't get as much atmospheric perspective out there.
Out west when the mountains are 50 miles out you've got a lot of
intervening atmosphere and you had a lot of atmosphere, atmospheric
perspective, but up somewhere like Vermont, that mountains, not all
that far away, though, it looks big.
It's not vast distances.
The Vermont landscape is far more intimate than that.
So a lot of times the darkest thing in a painting is the very distance.
And so a lot of the atmosphere or the, a lot of the perspective is established.
It's rooted in the drawing, this overlaps that this is overlapping that,
and the dropping out of complication.
See how complex is foreground here compared to up here in the
middle, where it's so simple.
And everything is, you know, that's, this is all very character, you know,
worked out with all kinds of little, dots and dashes and variations in it.
Whereas you get outside that house, which is the subject matter era area.
And everything's pretty simply painted a few brush strokes in
each one of these groups of leaves, few brush strokes over here.
The house is pretty worked up.
I mean, it's put a lot of time in there, but all this just sort of
supporting cast, it's very simplified and deeply these trees back here.
See that it's real simple.
There's not much there doesn't need to be a lot.
There just has to support the story.
Let's go on and see if I've got another one here.
I'll bet I do.
Uncheck that, and we'll go here and we'll look at, well, there's a nice one.
There we go.
This is Lanesville Massachusetts.
This location is by and large, totally unchanged today.
The boats are gone, but this place is still essentially there.
And it's got all kinds of interesting stuff in it too.
We've got these leading lines taking you in, see these stuff
zigzagging back into the background?
And then the boats are all at different angles.
There's this sort of rhythmic - here's the rhythm like this.
And there's the two sides of the canvas here to here are
chained together by those boats.
The two sides of the canvas are bound together by this curving arch.
And it's a sprung arch.
It implies compression.
This arch that goes across here isn't - it's a compressed arch.
It implies weight.
It wants to spring up like so, so it gives a tension to the painting.
Just the fact that it - that it is the shape that it is.
And then of course, all these buildings are dropped in value back here,
again, to light up the snow, but it's just a nice effect and they're
wonderfully varied in their color.
And there's a good example.
If you look closely at that, he's got those compliments
going over top of one another.
He painted it with the - probably with the greens first, drop the reds into it.
A lot of that goes on in these paintings, a lot of complex
color assembled like that.
We'll show about one or two more of these and we'll move on.
Those of you who are doing plein air stuff will like this.
I expect there's probably a one to this, almost certainly a one-shot
thing out in some birch forest, but absolutely wonderful, simple picture.
Very, very fast.
Lots of velocity.
Almost without a doubt, one shot.
It may have been fooled a little bit in the studio, but basically
one shot and look at the color variation in those trees, see that?
And there's a bit of line drawing in this.
This is not just a tonal painting.
There's line drawing going on.
It's sneaking in in all sorts of different places.
You see he's got to find brush, probably a rigger.
Like the one you've seen me drawing on there.
We'll keep on going.
I think we'll quickly look at one more here.
What have we got?
Oh, there's a wonderful painting.
This is a wonderful, wonderful thing.
One of my favorites and this belongs to the Whistler House Museum,
James McNeill Whistler, Whistler's mother, famous artists and
theoretician late 19th century.
His house is preserved in Lowell, Massachusetts.
And they have a collection.
They have about a half dozen exhibits.
There's some very good ones.
This is their best, wonderful street scene.
I don't know where this is.
I can't think off the top of my head, but this place still exists.
I don't know how much it looks like that anymore, but this place still exists
and it's got wonderful arrangement.
The balance of these houses this across here.
And again, there's that implied arch in this thing.
And you've got your foreground that rolls and the hills rolls in hardest,
tend to get an idea and work it and work it and work it, return to it over and
over again, as some of the same ideas.
That's wonderful tracing, you see these, you see the drawing in all this stuff.
Wonderfully, simply done shorthand.
You look at it, you know its bushes.
But every different shape in here, this shape is different than this
shape is different than this shape is different than this aperture
is different than that aperture.
There's almost no repeated shapes, this lump and that lump are different sizes.
This goes off in a different direction.
Everywhere you're looking at, it has variety of shape.
All of the different shapes in this picture are designed to be as
different one another as possible and that, but they all have a
rhythmic relationship to each other.
And another thing you see a lot in Hibbard and other Rockport guys is
this sort of handling up in the trees.
We'll see this over and over again.
This brushy, sort of handling it's just enough.
And that comes from John Carlson.
I've been routinely recommending John Carlson's book.
That's the John Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting.
And John Carlson is a big influence on these guys.
He was a friend.
He wasn't a previous generation, but he was a teacher of a lot of people.
We've got some people that had some study with him, but John Carlson was enormously
influential in the school of painting.
And again, this is Aldro Hibbard.
We'll go on here and we'll see if we can look at somebody else.
So here's another picture of him.
We have a good look at Aldro here though.
Well, maybe we won't.
Seemed like a good idea at the time.
There we go.
And there's Aldro with his brushes in a studio with a
wonderful painting behind him.
Hibbard , my hero.
I moved to Rockport to be where Hibbard had been in 83.
I saw a show that was put on it when he died.
So I never met him, but I chased Aldro Hibbard to Rockport, Massachusetts.
When I got there, I knew no one who lived there other than Aldro and he was dead.
I'll stop with that and, we'll take a little break and we'll set up the
next artist and we'll be right back.
Thank you very much for listening in.
I'm excited to show you this guy.
I love this stuff.
I spent my life studying it.
I collect some of this work myself.
This next guy's is Emile Gruppe, G R U P P E.
Born 1896 died 1978.
Originally from Rochester, New York.
Rochester, New York was kind of hotbed of artists in the late 19th century.
There's a collecting base.
Anytime you get people who are buying art, you're going to
have people who are making it.
He was actually born in Rochester, New York, but his father was an
art dealer from the Netherlands.
There was a group of painters called the Hague school and he
was their dealer in America.
Either way Emile has moved back to the Netherlands, grows up
there, studies in the Netherlands.
But while we talked about Aldro Hibbard over there in Europe,
having to return to this country in 1913, because of the looming war,
the same thing happened to Emile.
Emile's, father and family get out, they moved back to Rochester, New York.
And when Emile was about 11 or something, somewhere in there I
guess I could figure it out from his birthday, but he's young man.
They moved back to Rochester, New York and he's interested in art and he
eventually ends up schooling again with John Carlson, that name keeps popping up.
In fact, Carlson is teaching for the Art Students League and begins a
summer program first in Gloucester, but also famously the Art Students
League is running a summer program in Woodstock, New York, either way
Emile is - among other people - a student of John Carlson, they ended up
working together for a couple of years.
They ran the school of their own in Gloucester.
I'm showing you this stuff and you wonder what ties to all together, what
do all these artists have in common that make them a school or alike.
And there are threads of ideas that run through all of these paintings.
And they're a heightened kind of color, interest in design, interest in
brushwork, a real strong interest in all the sort of synthetic things that
can be in a painting like brushwork and design but rule number one for all
these Rockport guys, Gloucester guys, Cape Ann school guys, is everybody's
supposed to have their own thing.
Nobody's supposed to be a clone of each other.
They're all trying to be individual.
It was real important to have an individual look to your art.
So part of what they all have in common is they're all trying to look different.
Here's a Emile Gruppe, Emile's a brushwork guy.
He is lightening fast, probably made north of 12,000 paintings in his lifetime.
They vary from fabulous to God awful .When he was on he was fabulous,
when he wasn't on he can be horrible.
So there's a vast range of quality in Gruppe's work.
True of a lot of these guys, particularly true o f Gruppe was pretty much
like one to two paintings a day guy.
He may have worked on a little bit in the studio, but basically he'd
go outside for three hours, bang it out, take it home, hang it up in
his gallery . Had a gallery in area Glouchester called Rocky neck, he'd
make these things and then people would come into his gallery and buy them.
He went through a lot of art, made a lot of money, made a lot of pictures,
very successful artists, excellent sales person from an artistic family.
All of his brothers and sisters were artists.
One was a cellist.
His brother, Carl was a well-known sculptor.
And his son is alive today.
Robert Gruppe an excellent impressionist painter, painting
a similar style to his father.
So everybody in the family and his father besides being an
art dealer was also a painter.
So everybody that's been attached to this family.
There's an art gene that runs strong in this family.
Everybody from this family is in the arts one way or another, and still
to this day, there's a daughter who has - who's a painter and has a
gallery up in Northern Vermont, Emily.
This is Gloucester on the waterfront there.
You can pretty much find this scene unchanged today.
I do know where this is.
The wooden boats are getting a little rare.
That's a dragger.
They've gotten rare.
In fact that really no wooden draggers left in Gloucester, but still this with
the exception, you know, slightly more modern boats, it could be, have been
painted today, but notice how rich and different the color is in this stuff.
See these colors here, Gruppe's on a different palette.
he uses a color, very powerful color called phthalo cyanine, if you've
ever used it you'll know what I mean.
It's a very powerful color, stronger than anything else you can put on
your palette in order to have phthalo cyanine going on a palette, you've
gotta be able to counteract it.
So, and you're not going to do that with a couple of earth colors.
It takes cadmiums.
So he's gotten phthalo, cadmiums yellow and red.
He's got alizarin.
He's got another blue.
He's got ultramarine and zinc white.
I think that's the list.
If I've missed something, remind me, but there's you notice
there's no greens, there's no viridians, there's no cobalt blue.
There's no burnt sienna or any earth colors.
and there's no black, so we've got a powerful, violently, powerful
phthalo derived palette here.
And most of the colors in this picture are derived from that
phthalo green, modified with either alizarin or one of the cadmiums.
So he's got this simmering power in reserve and he'll do - you'll see a few
pictures that aren't boldly colored, but they're still from that same palette.
So it puts a look into his work that palette, you might try it sometime.
There's an excellent book on Emile Gruppe, actually there's three on Emile Gruppe.
They were written by Charles Movalli.
When we look at some of Movalli down here, down after get through
these Gruppes, we're going to churn through a few Gruppes here.
See what we've got, another snow painter, up in, Vermont and
here where here's another Emile Gruppe again, lightening fast.
This location is still there.
I know exactly where this was painted, I've been on this location.
And you can see that just the velocity of this thing.
He's just screaming through this thing.
It's just probably two or three hours of work.
And he painted subjects like this over and over again.
And the idea of the thing is not finished.
It's supposed to be a little bit like Chinese brush painting.
You know what I mean?
They do the same thing over and over again till they do it.
So it's so facile that it's not about the amount of detail or careful resolution.
It's about the cleverness of the design and the flow of things.
I mean, these trees, one coming from each side, they're reaching up at the sky.
They're animated, they're full of rhythmic swirls.
Everything else is no more that needs to be, there's not
a whole lot going on there.
There's nothing there.
We look at it in the painting and we're fine with it.
It looks like bushes.
But very stripped down, it gives you the minimal amount of information it takes to
give you the subjects it's all you get.
That's Mount Mansfield right up here, still there today.
Mansfield's the tallest mountain in New England and that's just
outside of Jeffersonville, Vermont.
GO on here.
And, oh, here's a wonderful that, but as much as the s now
scenes, he's known for pictures of Gloucester Harbor and Gloucester
Harbor is somewhat re reduced today.
After the days when he painted these urban renewal came through in the sixties and
tore out a lot of the docks, but you could find a similar scene to this today in
Gloucester, totally different tonality.
It's the same palette.
And even though it's lower in key, and its colors aren't assertive, they're
really boiling under the surface, even though you're canceling everything,
you know, adding the compliments of things into the color, you still
got this sort of power and reserve because the strength of the pigments
you using, even though you're muting them, they're still powerful pigments
it shows in the richness of the work.
Wonderful richness in these colors here.
But again, it's very simply painted.
it's almost a colored line drawing.
Very simply painted.
Look at this arrangement up here.
It's just wonderful.
Little sub picture.
Here's the whole picture.
But up in this area, you've got this sub picture with this
wonderful crane hanging up there.
And I guess that's a crane above Gloucester Harbor, and he has a
wonderful way of handling reflections.
And here it is, we see a lot of stuff.
Where he just takes that brush and there it is.
Of course it takes a lot of work to make that work like that,
to get what looks really easy.
And that's part of the fun of it.
Just as you know, you've probably heard a band play or seen a craftsman working,
you think, oh, there's nothing to do that.
I could do it.
And then when you try and do it yourself and discover it's very difficult indeed.
Well, part of the fun of this stuff, both for musicians and
painters is making it look easy.
He does it so has such facility that you look at oh, that's easy.
There's no big deal there until you try to do it yourself.
So not only is her able to do this, but he was able to do it and make it look easy.
Again, this is a large one.
I know this didn't go outside twice, but it may have seen some studio work.
This thing's probably 30 by 40, a big picture.
He painted hundreds of these pictures of the Gloucester harbor, maybe thousands.
So it was very fast and he knows all the elements here and how to arrange
them he's drawn a lot of boats.
He knows this place like the back of his hand.
He also goes out on those boats with the fishermen.
He was, Emile was kind of a rough guy, under social pressure
he wouldn't take a drink.
He had- he was a hard living man.
He hung with the fishermen.
He drank heavy.
He was a wonderful giving man and kind to his students.
Not like he was a bad person, but he lived hard.
He was - despite that he was an excellent theoretician.
And you read the books that Charles Movalli wrote with him,
you realize the thoughtfulness with which he did everything, the
ideas that are going on here, he was a very excellent, theoretician.
He knew why he was doing what he was doing.
he wasn't just flying by the seat of his pants.
Here's another similar one that's rather nice.
Here we are in Gloucester again.
This is brighter, happier picture.
And there's that phthalo derive kind of color, you can see how clear
and bright everything is there.
Phthalo's a real power, powerful color.
So this is all the colors are quite saturated unless he
steps on then, which he can.
When I say step on them, I mean, reduce them with their opposites.
And here's these fishermen here fooling with their lines.
He did lots of paintings of the fishermen down there, the whole fishing industry
and all of this world is pretty much gone.
There's another drag, the wooden draggers are all gone.
And you won't see fishermen hauling, pulling nuts around.
Not saying you'll never see it, but that's pretty rare.
All this is mechanized and the boats are steel and they're 150 feet long, but some
of these draggers, this is probably a salt barge up here, but these draggers
are got schooner hauls on them are long traditional New England boat design.
So there are, some of them get pretty big.
They can go a hundred feet.
Some of them - this probably isn't that big.
That must be 60 foot boat though.
Anyway, they were big lobster boats, 35, 40 feet.
So that's a big boat.
This one, right back here.
I'll go on.
And there were hundreds of them.
I used to go to Gloucester and paint the wooden draggers and
of course there's none left.
They're all gone.
Here is an awfully nice picture, a little different.
This is Rockport, Massachusetts.
And here we are.
We're looking to a place called Lumber Wharf, a lovely tonality, even though
he's still got that same powerful palette.
This is no longer got that I got one square pixel showing out there.
This is not a flying saucer nor is intended to be there.
We'll keep going though.
This is Lumber Wharf still very much existence.
This place is still basically unchanged today and we're
looking out at pitching cove.
It's another area and here's the ocean.
This is Atlantic Ocean, of course, coming here and Lumber Wharf, that
wharf goes back to about 1805, somewhere in there, old historic stuff.
And of course, he's got all the different lines.
Almost no line in this thing is parallel to the edge of the canvas.
Everything - well that maybe that is, but by and large, all of them are diagonal
lines and they're more interesting.
These lines are going like this.
And like, this are more interesting than lines, which are straight up and down.
And he's deemphasized like the corner of the building it would
be a straight up and down line.
Any line that parallels the edge of canvases either been twisted or
deemphasize in one way or another.
And we looked down this lovely street, but the beauty of this
painting is this tonality.
It's got this lovely soft sort of beautiful tonality to it.
I always think - I see paintings like this.
They look more remembered than seen .Wonderful picture.
Let's see what else we got here?
Well, we got this, I liked this one too.
I grabbed this one offline.
This went through an auction a year or two ago.
Rockport, Massachusetts again, the streets still they're pretty much
unchanged, but of course he hasn't had a problem pushing buildings around
and making them bigger and smaller.
Every shape in here has been completely rearranged.
But this place does still exist just like that.
This church is called the Old Sloop church, a British frigate in the
revolutionary war dropped off a barge with sailors, with a small cannon on it.
And they, in attempting to intimidate the town, they fired a cannon ball into
the steeple of that church in 1780, late 1770s, I guess, put a cannonball
that church and the townspeople showed showed up and fired rocks at them using
their garters fashioned slingshots, the cannon fire sank the barge in the
harbor and the Rockporters captured the British sailors and held them for
ransom their ransom to the British captain was no one has to return.
No British Navy is to return and harass Rockport ever again.
We'll give you your guys back.
The captain agreed to it.
And then at the end of the revolution, he leaves the British
army and moves to Massachusetts.
Wonderful painting here.
You've got these two repeated poles here that relate to one another,
give a sort of rhythm and the lines that take you back into the pictures.
All these lines saying, come on back here, come on.
Come on back here.
This is where you're supposed to look.
All these lines converging.
See them all going back into that picture.
All of these lines take you right back into here and wants
to make sure you get there.
Not that there's anything in particular to see there, but
he's pulling you, it's a vortex.
The idea is you get sucked into this picture.
Gets control of your eye.
I just go on here I.
n the winter hangs on it, Naples, Florida.
And so there's a fair amount of Florida Gruppes.
Gruppe hangs out in Naples, Florida for the winter.
And again, he's into fishing.
There's good fishing in Naples.
I'm sure that's why her was there in the winter.
I suppose they fished for tarpon, but he painted lots of pictures
while he was down there too.
But look at the strength of the color in this, see how powerful his color is?
Very simple picture, very simple brush work.
You can see that there's really nothing there for those weeds and the arrangement
of those trees is lovely though.
They're rhythmically writhing up towards the light and they started out as
three separate things on the ground, but they form a big shape up top.
They all kind of lean together and formed this one big shape
silhouetted against that sky.
Very simply painted, very quickly painted.
Things do not - are not good necessarily because it took them so much work to make.
Pictures are good because of what they look like.
How long it took to make them is irrelevant.
Wonderful, kind of loose picture.
This is motif number one here.
This building is an old fish shack, sits on a stone pier in Rockport Harbor.
It's been there since the 1850s and locals call it motif number one because it's
been painted so many times and everybody's paying that and me included amongst them.
A wonderful facile painting, very fast, very, charming and very loose.
And none of that's labored over much.
That's real fast.
That's the work of a couple of hours.
Very facile artist.
Oh, this is a very different thing though.
Here we are.
This one's got some subtlety and I look at this, there's a place
in Gloucester called Smith's Cove.
His gallery is right across the street.
If we stand, look his gallery is behind us still there today.
But same palette or same, you know, the same pigment size palette,
but totally different effect.
Instead of being bright, like that last one, it's very subtle.
And lovely restraint color.
It's sort of like hearing somebody play something delicate with a tuba.
If this palette is, it takes enormous skill to control this palette he has got.
But even then with all these colors knocked down, there's this sort of
simmering power and reserve from it just because you stepped on all these
colors and greyed them down doesn't mean they aren't still in the mix.
Lovely, simple arrangement.
All this takes your eye right out to the boat where he wants you to look.
Simple, wonderful curve here.
Picked up here by this other rope there.
And you could draw a line to this picture, like so, and everything
in the picture is behind that line.
See, there's nothing really, over a little building over there.
Basically everything that's in this picture is behind that line.
You see a lot of artists doing that.
It's a design idea is that you draw a picture, draw a line across your canvas.
Not even a line and you put everything in the picture on one side of it,
you had all this stuff over here, balanced against next to nothing
down here, pictures are balanced.
It doesn't mean you have to balance left to right though, you can balance
this quarter against this quarter up here, these two things balance, this
one's empty and this one's got a lot of stuff in it, but the two are balanced.
So here's one thing balanced against the other smart stuff.
We'll keep on moving here.
And here is another, Oh, here we are back up in Vermont.
This place is still here.
That again, that's not Mansfield back in the distance there, but look at
the wonderful handling in these trees.
They're so simply painted, but.
There all that's needed to convey the idea of trees.
And you can see it's grey and wet, which it often is in Jeffersonville
really has captured the weather.
And he's got the courage to - almost nothing harder to paint than a road
receding into a picture they're fraught with danger and difficult to paint.
And the way Gruppe has dealt with it here, he says, well, just make it huge.
So he takes this road it just gets enormous coming forward
to us in the foreground.
And it takes a lot of daring to do that.
I've drawn lots of country roads like that.
And I've used that device a few times myself learned it from Gruppe.
I would never have thought to have done that.
And of course the fog here's when you're feeling these mountains up in
the distance, again, that's Mansfield.
Simplified handling was simple.
All that is.
It's all it needs to be.
And look at the lines that he's got in there.
You know, it's all these buildings are.
Every roof area is different.
Occupies, a different area, has different lines that describe it.
It's all interesting shapes.
He's a builder of interesting shapes and every shape of this picture is
different from every other shape.
There's no - there's all these buildings, not buildings here.
And every single one of them is totally different.
The differences you could make them from all the others, but
again, that didn't just happen.
He put that there,
Another Gloucester Harbor picture, another wonderful harbor
picture, but light, unlike the last one, this was rather muted.
Rather greyed out , got this wonderful line's coming up here and this line
catches it and goes back there S curve.
And there are boats.
This is where we're supposed to look.
There's a power spot and all the lines in this picture,
drive your eye, right to those.
You want to look down those things here.
It takes you down to those boats.
Eyes travel through the painting, or at least here's philosophy.
Philosophically there's been a lot of new research these days and
indicates that the eye isn't controlled the way ours have always thought.
And it skitter madly about the painting, but still using the ideas
of eye control put into a painting, a scaffolding, a hidden geometry that
gives human as to what other humanness to otherwise what would be a random picture.
Looking out softly and simply handles all that stuff up there.
Just enough information until it's there.
He doesn't draw all these lines and nets and things, real basic, real,
simple, and real soft against that sky.
Everything in there, very simple working with a few hours and all
the heavy lifting is in this area.
You can see this, all this stuff was is where almost everything
in the painting is right there.
Very little, you could almost pull our diagonal across the
painting like we did before.
And this is all simple.
All the complexities here, could imagine putting a diagonal
line through this picture.
There's a diagonal line.
And then ll everything else in the picture is a decoration riding on that division.
The whole picture is based around instances that occur bouncing up
off the top of that diagonal line.
I think we're gonna call it that.
I've got the next artist I want to show you be up in just a minute.
I'm taking a little break first and we'll be right back.
Here we are back again.
Gonna talk about the next artist.
Another one of my favorites, Lester Stevens, and here is Lester himself
sitting, working in his studio.
It looks like he's doing a watercolor there.
Did a lot of watercolors.
Another extremely prolific artist born in 1888, dies in 1969, national academician.
Back in the day that meant a whole lot.
He was - about the only one of these guys were talking about - well Movalli
too, but for the Rockport guys and the Cape Ann guys, one of the very
few that was actually born there.
In fact, they used to say he was the only one.
There's currently a fine artist Kenny Knowles working in Rockport who grew
up there, but that's the exception.
Almost everybody historically has moved to Rockport or Gloucester or Cape Ann that
was an artist from somewhere else in the country, but Lester's actually Rockport,
born and bred, as they say there, he was the born on the kitchen table.
Lester's a little more modern than the other guys.
He's a little bit more expressionists influencing his work.
It's still loose.
He's a one-shot guy.
That is outside made stacks and like many of these guys made stacks
and stacks and stacks of paintings.
Thousands of pictures, some are really good and some are
just absolutely god awful.
Most of them are pretty good though.
And when he was really on, he was fabulous.
He studied with John Carlson and Tarbell in Boston.
And he returns to Rockport.
Originally started out studying with a guy named Parker Perkins, who was an
old Rockport artists from before, we haven't touched on him, but there have
been hundreds of professional painters through Cape Ann at one time or another.
Anybody from Winslow Homer to Aldro Hibbard have been on Cape Ann, everybody who has
been a painter in New England and even much of America has it at some point
or another spent some time on Cape Ann.
So there's hundreds of guys I could possibly be talking about.
I'm only choosing my five favorites and perhaps they're the best non
of this era, but we just touched on Parker Perkins there's another one
we don't have time to talk about.
There's lots of them we don't have time to talk about, just getting a few.
This is Lester Stevens.
And Lester has a real broad style.
Here's a Lester Steven's very bold, very exciting, but ultimately
low key, not a lot of, a lot of color, but what there is is lovely.
It's greys and russets and beautiful, beautiful color in this thing.
And you can see this whole thing sits upon this sort of mound here.
You can see this whole sort of improvised mound and everything
and the subject sits on top of it.
Few things hanging off the bottom of it.
You have things hanging off the bottom of that line.
Things sticking up from the top of it, but everything in this picture
is on top of this springy line, which arches across the middle.
It's often very important in these pictures and in all pictures, many
pictures anyway, to look and find there's often a main line, a driving
line and a picture.And there's the example of what the one that's in
this picture is that driving line.
This is all in greys and russets.
It's very, very simple, very austere kind of color, very beautiful.
This one is up about this size, awfully nice pictures.
Went through an auction recently, most of these pictures as I said some of
these pictures are in museums, but often lot of them are out in private hands.
There's is a reticence on the part of the museums and the official artists
establishment to recognize anything from the 20th century that's not modern.
These guys were bucking the trend even in their day.
And it was hard to remember that the traditional painting fell out of favor
as early as in 1911 to 16, somewhere in there right after the first World
War was really - it got a whole lot harder to be a representational painter.
It was out of fashion.
These guys were bucking the trend, but there was still a tradition going on.
And these guys were sought after, they were many of them successful artist.
Some more than others.
Many of them were very successful.
Gruppe and Hibbard were both very successful.
Lester less so and he went through a lot of ups and downs and later in
life, he decides that Rockport has become too commercialized and there's
too many distractions and little shops and it's become too - Rockport of his
youth was a fishing town and by the time he's grown it was a tourist town.
He was uncomfortable with that.
He moves out to western Massachusetts and the last 10 or 12 years of
his life there are pretty harsh.
He really - he damn near starves to death out there.
It's kind of too bad to think of somebody with the kind of talent he had, but it's
not enough just to be a talented artist.
You've got to get out and promote yourself.
You have to be entrepreneurial.
You're going to make a living in the world.
If it comes to you, it may take a long time doing it.
And the world can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.
Let's go on here look at another one.
Here we go.
Here's another wonderful painting of this old mill.
I've been in this location.
It's up in Vermont.
I know where this is, it's still there.
I mean, he's put a lot - there's an awful lot of artistic decisions made
in the way this picture looks, but this mill is still there, unchanged
up there in one of those towns up by Jeffersonville, all of these guys hung
out in the winter in Jeffersonville, Vermont, and ranged out from there.
I forget what town this is in, but I've painted this and been
in this location many times.
And it's wonderful.
He's dropped this all into this dark tone, silhouette against
the light, it's backlit, and that backlight and gives you rim lighting.
See the rim lighting on each of these stones here?
They've got these, the edges - everything in this picture is between us
and the light's in the distance.
So everything is silhouetted against the light and you can go and pick
up things that catch the light.
Like these branches here, et cetera.
Here we go and see the rim lighting, when just the edge of something
catches the light like that.
It's rim lighting and back lighting you get sparkle like in here.
Get these things catching the light up in here.
Lovely design ideas.
Again, this thing is not copied into existence.
Another Lester Stevens full of wonderful brushwork and color.
Now these are much, much brushier, they're much more expressionists than the Hibbards
and the Gruppes we've seen before.
Lester's kind of a wild child, but he wins endless awards.
He was - probably won more awards.
And I think he used to say - Lester was - Lester had a very high opinion of himself.
And he used to say, I think it was true, probably that he'd won more
awards than anybody in New England if not America, he just had a list of
prizes he'd won as long as your arm, he was incessantly winning prizes.
And seeing as the last part of his life was pretty thin, it may mean
there's not that much of a relationship between how many prizes you win and how
successful you are at selling your art.
There's a little note of warning in there for those of us who spend a
lot of time competing for prizes.
I always want to talk about this and I guess it's good a time to do it as any,
like winning all these prizes yet he still went hungry at the end of his life.
You know, over and over again, things have happened to me in my career.
I've gotten into some show or I've been in some magazine, some gigs, something's
happened and I've always thought, oh, everything's going to be different now,
all the struggles over, I've made it.
And nothing changes.
You get this picture into a big show or you get a picture in a magazine or
a dealer - you get in with a dealer you've always wanted to be with you.
Always thinking it was going to be different, but the change
is for the most part glacial.
And I know there are ocassions I can think of a few artists who've had
some event that's really sky rocketed them into great appeal, which they've
made, but I haven't seen it very often.
And the same is true with all these prizes.
I'm sure every time he won a prize, he thought, well, everything's
going to be different now.
But I don't know that it matters that much in the big scheme of things.
Now I know some really good painters that don't compete for prizes at all.
In fact, I don't compete for prizes.
I don't put my work into shows, looking for prizes.
I probably should, but I don't.
I'd rather put it with the dealers.
The prizes I want are sales.
Wonderful, broken color in here.
See the creative color has gotten going in here?
Look at this.
Wild, all these colors and this interesting brushstroke
he's got, see that lovely, interesting, exciting brushwork.
And a bold design those trees are just, you know, a little
reminiscent of John Carlson.
You may know John Carlson's work.
This is the sort of thing, Carlson would do big trees like that.
Here's a sap bucket incidentally.
That's a maple tree.
So we're up in Vermont and this is sugar house back there.
That's a little building out in the woods there where they
boil the sap down to make sugar.
So we know it's probably in Vermont.
A lot of these sap houses are still there, but they're going away too.
I'm probably the last generation in the last generation
that will paint this stuff.
They're all getting improved out of existence.
Here we are, I wish I had a less distorted photograph of that one, but I liked it.
Full of daring things.
He's got the - it's about these and he sticks that steeple
up that's probably Stowe.
Stowe has got a real tall steeple like that.
Stowe, Vermont, where the ski area is.
Stowe you heard of that, I'm guessing this is somewhere in Stowe, but I don't know
that for sure, but it's got the mountain coming up here in the background and
that real tall steeple, but look he's not afraid to take that steeple up and bang
it right against the top of the painting.
Ordinarily that's something you wouldn't do.
It's hard to get away with it.
But he's done it here.
He really disobeys, broken a cardinal law, having something bang out against
the top of the side of a painting is usually thought as a no-no.
It works fine for him here.
And he's got these wonderful simplified trees.
Look at how simplified that is, he's got the - some of the leaves turning
towards the light, catch the little flecks of light, very simply painted.
Very, very simple, only real spot of color in there is some red here and here.
Otherwise, it's almost all the same greys and greens, very
restrained, very pretty picture.
And I liked that this - a lot of, you know, here's the subject, this
is what we're supposed to look at.
There's the punchline, but there's also a secondary little world down here
for us to enjoy right down in there.
Smart, clever piece of work
And here's one more.
This is your basic plein air painting outside probably 16 by
20 or 18 by 24 or a 20 by 24.
I bet it's a 16 by 20.
He did zillions of these.
But it's lovely.
Got the broken brushwork in here.
Just like we saw on that Hibbard before.
See the broken brushwork down there.
Very nicely done.
And it's up in these trees too, all this interesting and all these brushstrokes are
just put there as a decorative fashion.
They explain the form of that tree.
You can see that this breaststroke right here is laying on the side of
the tree, which is closest to us.
He's establishing not just that the tree is a round shape, but there's a flat part
that we would see directly facing us.
Here he's accented these strokes, which are - that's the part
of the tree that facing us.
He's putting structure into that tree is explained its form using his brushwork.
Simple little thing.
I love that redness of the tree, and this is kind of nice
the way he leads you in here.
Ambitious picture, a very nice one.
That's been Lester Stevens.
We'll go on and hit the next artist in a minute.
We're looking at Cape Ann, Rockport and Gloucester artists from the top ones
anyway, many of them, from about 1920 on to about the mid sixties, these guys would
be my great, or my grandparents' age.
All of these artists I'm showing you are deceased.
The next guy is
Anthony Thieme, he was born in 1888 lives until 1954.
And here he is in Rockport Harbor and there's that building.
They call it motif number one.
And it's a fishing shack built in the 1850s, sitting on a stone pier.
In the middle of Rockport Harbor and it's been painted and painted and photographed.
It's been - everybody in the world has done pictures of the building,
and it's a great subject, but if you just show up there and paint it the
way it really is, you'll get nothing.
It's a composition machine.
The water comes up and down, the boats come and go, the gulls come
and go, cloud comes and goes, but you got to play with it to make it good.
It's a real test of your design ability.
I watched, when I lived in Rockport so many years, I watched countless
painters from around the country come set up and they wanted to paint motif
number one, because it was such a famous subject and they'd get killed out there.
You can't just show up and take it down.
It doesn't work.
Very difficult subject.
As I say everybody's paying here's Thieme who made maybe more
motif pictures of anybody else.
And here he is, he's got his picture out here.
Thieme was a studio guy.
I know he paid outside some.
And I'm sure that he had sketches and drawing some
outside, but he was a studio guy.
And even this photo is his post.
This isn't really Thieme out working in the field for a whole handful of reasons.
If not, if for no other reason, the frames already on the picture, people
don't work on a picture outside with the frame on it and he's coming - he's
set up out there, the position from which the thing might have been drawn,
but those boats aren't there and probably wasn't anything like that.
You can see what's really there.
They are a nice old wooden lobster boats.
So those are pretty much gone today.
Those are all wooden boats.
Wooden boats are getting few and far between out there now.
There are a few around, but most of them are fiberglass now,
but there we are, here's Mr.
Thieme sitting on what's the name of that's Bradley Wharf.
Now that's Bradley Wharf looking out over the harbor, headlands in the distance.
And this is Mr.
Thieme working in Rockport.
When is that?
Maybe the 1940s and 50s somewhere, but that's the early 1950s or late 1940s.
Let's look at some of his paintings.
We've seen the guy, let's see his art.
Here's Anthony Thieme.
Rather nice one, again, a picture of Rockport.
This one was offered to me for sale recently.
I didn't buy it.
I'd like to Thieme's bring more money than some of the
other guys w'ere looking at.
I don't know if you're concerned about the value of things, but this is a little
more expensive to collect than some of the other, certainly more than Lester Stevens.
But this location still exists.
Buildings are all still in place.
The big elms are gone, but other trees are in the area.
So this place - this is still just there just as you see it here,
that place is still in existence.
That's one end of main street and in those days that was called the paper
store and it was a stationary store.
Now it's an artist gallery.
But this is nice, simple dark shapes.
He's again, like so many of these guys, this shape maker.
Thieme's born in the Netherlands.
He moves to America when he's, I think 22.
But he's got a background in set design and a lot of these guys had
part-time jobs when they're young.
Or full-time job sometimes when they were young doing set design
and this guy did window displays and department stores, used to be every
department store, has somebody on staff whose, who was an artist, whose
job was to do the window displays.
And they were very stunning and beautifully done in those days.
So that was a whole profession in itself and he did a lot of set painting,
you know, the design and painting the backgrounds with theatrical productions
in which there were a lot more then, so he's got a background in decorative
painting that is in arranging shapes to simply tell stories and his paintings
are full of those sorts of big designs.
All this as hauled together in interesting, simple shapes.
All this is one big interesting dark through here.
And is work is marked by an awful lot of that sort of thing.
I'll show you another one.
Here we go.
He also spent a fair amount of time down in the Carolinas, and there's a lovely
painting somewhere, South Carolina, maybe, and look at all the different, like how
different each of these buildings is.
This one looks like this.
This one has a different profile.
This one points down, and this one is more or less even and this
one goes up, the horizon is here.
So theoretically in real life, this would come down like that.
He no doubt affected it to make it do that.
And lovely, you know, lovely color of the beautiful rich colors in this thing.
And the strong values of strong darks up against bright lights, lots of
contrast, lots of careful arrangement, how much this place really existed?
Don't know, it could be that very little of this actually existed in
the world and he made most of it up.
All this was done in the studio.
It's all very, very arranged.
This is very assembled.
Like you might imagine the stage set would be, but beautiful, beautiful,
rich color in here and nice brushwork and lots of contrast over and over.
You've got these little things here, little springs that are on the surface
of the water that are high contrast and look how high the contrast is in
that passage see that really, really dark tree in the door with the lights
standing so proudly in front of it.
High contrast and view.
Beautiful weight, this tree is balanced.
We've got this line that takes you back into it.
See it like so, but this is a very nicely balanced.
If you imagine a balance beam, look at this lovely S turn that
takes you back into this thing, leads you right back there.
And we've got that thing we've seen so many times before.
If you drew a diagonal line across the picture, you put
everything over on one side of it.
So he's using all these arrangement ideas, which are not unique to rock
port artists, but they were very fond of them and use them a lot.
Imagine a balance beam going right across the center of the picture.
Here's the fulcrum right here.
And a balance beam.
You see how these two things are balanced across this beam?
Here's this thing right here, this thing right here, there's a fulcrum
in fact, that little guy right there is probably right at the fulcrum.
It didn't happen by accident.
Thieme is deliberately setting up the balance on this canvas so
that it has equal weight on both sides, gives the things stability.
If you were to de-weight one side, it would no longer be a pleasing.
That balance is perceived at least at a subconscious level and we're
comfortable because it's bounced.
It looks good to us.
And it doesn't happen on its own.
It's installed in the picture.
Another one done Charleston, South Carolina, actually, I think
it's just outside of Charleston.
I believe I've been on this location it's somewhat altered,
but I've been there, actually painted that place, bumped into it.
I can't think of the name of the town it's in now, but I've been there.
Wonderful arrangement again, this wonderful tree
sticking up here at the top.
He was a real tree painter and his color is can I call it interior decorator color,
these things he's really a picture maker.
He's making things to be lived with.
They're not museum pieces.
They're not made to, for any purpose other than to be a beautiful thing
to hang in your home and enjoy.
He was a picture maker.
He's making things for people to own and hang, and it's got a lovely,
soft, decorative color scheme.
It's got this wonderful, the roof line here isn't that nice?
See that lovely curve there.
This curve echoes this curve, echoes this curve over and over.
You've got these implied curves going on.
This thing has got lots of rhythm in it.
Now you've got these little people in here.
It's all very deliberately made very pleasant, but it's a wonderful design
in this house tree combination is very clever and exciting to look at and he's
got - here's our balance if you will.
He's got here's one thing in the balance on the other side, a fulcrum has got
these little guys, little horse donkey cart, a couple of people over there.
You know, people are so interesting that the presence of a couple
of figures will balance enormous amounts of inanimate stuff.
You can balance all these trees and houses and all that, but a couple
of pictures are I go so strongly to pictures in the landscape.
That you can balance everything over here, but just a couple of strongly silhouetted
pictures typically, or figures typically that donkey, there is a real eye catcher,
Another one, Charleston, South Carolina, again I think sometimes
he was as best down there.
Here we are down in Charleston, a wonderful line structure in
this, look at this and this.
Wonderful structure, design structure.
In that picture,
I expect that the residents of this town were probably rather poor.
It looks like a pretty rough place.
Look at that chimney.
That's supposed to be shantytown makes a nice picture, but I
don't guess we'd want to live.
There would we?
Looks like hard times.
Wonderful design in this tree here, though.
See the rhythmical design in that tree?
This thing is full of it.
It's the painting is decorative and its color and its composition and the
lines that go into it, all of it is intended to enjoyed, to be pleasant.
Aldro Hibbards, the Gruppes are crackling with power, but the Thiemes are
decorator objects that are deliberately made to be sort of comforting and a
different aesthetic going on there.
He had worked in department stores, decorating windows and all that.
Here's a wonderful thing.
This is Rockport.
I'm not sure just where, but that's - I think that's an absolutely
wonderful painting that is owned by the Rockport Art Association Museum.
And it's in their permanent collection.
It's just an absolutely fabulous painting.
Here's our fulcrum and balance beam.
Again, just as obvious as day.
Here's one side.
Here's the other and the fulcrum on which it sits is actually painted on you can
see that little cart right in the middle.
That's right the center balance point of this whole picture
and everything is so simple.
It's all you know no details, no fussing, no, no fooling over any individual thing.
It's all very broadly, very quickly, very confidently painted, and we look
at it and that gives us a nice feeling.
Just looking at, of course, there's a wonderful design with this big fan here.
Just a wonderful thing.
Absolutely wonderful and the light comes in from both sides like so, it takes you
right to the bottom of that big fan shape, which is what the picture is really about.
And it's got all these dark lines that tell so nicely against the color there.
Decorative as can be.
Did a lot of these too.
Here's the - here we are.
There's motif number one, again.
Again he painted probably hundreds of these motif pictures, but what lovely
color, look at the colors in that.
Isn't that pretty?
They're all restrained.
They're all beautifully harmonized, the harmony in these colors, but
just because you have a harmony doesn't mean you don't have color
accents and you've got this blue boat that's an accent to the whole thing.
And lovely overlapping.
See how this overlaps that, all this is nicely overlapping.
It's a lovely picture, lovely arrangement of darks and lights.
We even put that boat there.
In front of that dark there, lots of dark on top of light with a
dark behind that light behind that.
He's stacking his values back into this picture.
Almost everywhere you get a dark, you got a light something sitting in front of it.
Almost eveywhere you got a light something you got a dark behind it, constantly
stacking lights on top of darks on top of lights on tops of darks and
wonderful decorative shapes in here too.
Here's one, look at this.
Why are my lines so big.
We'll go back and try that again.
See if I can go out.
There we go.
That's a little bit too low learning to run this program as we go here.
I apologize for my fussing.
There we go.
See that wonderful decorative shape here?
It's all in this silhouettes, all so carefully thought out, every
line and angle and proportion are different wonderfully
interesting shapes in this thing.
And that's really what it's about in this arrangement.
That's only partially about motif number one, mostly it's about a
range of different intriguing, complex shapes is all these darks
up against that light background, wonderful arrangement of shapes.
He's a builder of shapes and a decorator and a designer.
We'll look at one more here and then we'll go on.
This is a wonderful one too, look at this.
Isn't that funny?
That's called the salt bark.
And that's a wonderful painting.
This was - these huge boats were coming into Gloucester.
It's been a long time since these boats were in Gloucester,
but they're hauling salt.
Gloucester used a lot of salt.
Gloucester was the biggest seaport, oldest seaport in America, probably
the biggest at that point, enormous amount of fish going through there.
And in the days before refrigeration it came in, you know, it was salted.
They dried the salted fish by the ton.
So enormous amounts of salt were needed to keep Gloucester running.
And it came in on these big, big fat ships, salt barks,
very clumsy, very heavy boats.
There's a low, the lovely golden tonality of that.
See how everything is suffused with that ochrey kind of glow.
And even though he's got darks and lights everything's - except for this
right here - everything is pulled into a lovely sort of middle tone.
It's not too assertive.
Again it's decorative painting.
It's meant to sit in your living room and be admired.
It's not supposed to jump out and bite ya.
It's not - doesn't have the boldness of a Gruppe and Gruppe's, you know, assertive.
This is real quiet, deliberately quiet.
I organized or helped organize a show of about 150 of these one time and there was
a show of the next artist I'm going to show you, a fellow by the name of Mulhaupt
while at the same time and the Thieme show kind of got overlooked because everybody
was so excited about the Mulhaupt, the guy I'm going to show you next.
But as I walked through that show we had at least 150 of them in there.
As I walked through that show, I wrote the forward in the book in fact, but
as I walked through it just, I was really very, very touched by them.
It really took me.
I was indifferent to Thieme at first and it grew on me and grew on me.
The longer I looked at them the better, I like them.
I'm still very fond of Thieme.
I don't know much Thieme influence I've got but I've very fond of these.
If you want to see more, there's a small book available, very inexpensively.
You can get that from the Rockport Art Association Museum in Rockport,
Massachusetts, you find them online.
That book for which I wrote the foreword is still available.
Just a little book.
I don't know don't think it's much over 20 bucks, but it's full of Thieme's.
He was work's under appreciated.
Not enough of it's out there in the public eye to be seen.
And with that, I believe I'll take another little break.
We're going to come back and we'll talk about a painter.
I think you'll enjoy a lot.
His name's Mulhaupt and he - a lot of ships and pictures of Gloucester Harbor.
He was a little bit earlier than the other guys and he was a hero of the
guys I've already shown you Mulhaupt.
Be back in a minute.
Whenever Thieme's talked about and people show his art, people bring up something
that happened at the end of his life.
And I guess I'll tell you about that because it colors how all of us think
about him is he and his wife go to Florida for the winter and at the
end of that winter, they're driving North and they stop at a hotel room
In Connecticut, I think in New Haven, and he goes in the bathroom and takes a
revolver and shoots himself in the head.
And there's a lot of speculation as to why that happened.
The two leading contenders theory wise, nobody saw it coming, but
the theory was that either some say his wife was such a shrewd, he
shot himself to get away from her.
She was famous for pushing him all the time to make more and more
paintin this kind or that kind.
Maybe that's the case.
I don't know.
I wasn't there.
And then the other option that I think more likely, but I don't know.
It seems more likely to me is that they said the world had
changed so much he'd grown up in the Netherlands and he was born
- what was a year again?
And by 1950 something, it was a very different world and he just couldn't cope.
Everything had changed so much he didn't know the world anymore.
He couldn't deal with all the changes happened in his life, and the world
had became so foreign to him that he decided he wanted out, either way
Anthony Thieme dies by suicide in 1954.
Let's go on here to show you another guy.
Actually, we're going to Frederick Mulhaupt.
Frederick Mulhaupt was a generation older than the artists I've shown you so far.
They were born in the 1890s he was born in 1871.
So he was born just after the civil war.
He lives until 1938.
Hibbard doesn't even get to Rockport until 1920.
So his career is at full bore at the time that Rockport is coming together,
all the young artists - Thieme doesn't get to Rockport till 1929.
So Mulhaupt dies eight years later.
But he was a hero to the generation that I've shown you already.
He had a home down in the wharves in Gloucester.
It's sort of still there today.
The building's been offered some, but the place is still there.
Many of the things that he painted of course are long gone.
So many of the wharves and docks in Gloucester are gone.
They were torn out urban renewal in the 60s.
And of course the big boats and ships that he represented are gone.
And there was a whole Portuguese and Sicilian sailing community
that's still there, but they're not dressed the way they were in his day.
And that a lot of the work's done by machinery and bigger boats and winches.
There's not as much - there aren't as many guys out working on the docks so the
world he's painting is gone, but it's a romantic world with schooners and sailors
and well, I'll show it to you here.
Let's have a look at some of these and of all the artists
that I've shown you so far,
Mulhaupt is the most sought after.
His work is the most expensive of all these artists.
If you're a collector, it's the most valuable.
And a lot of people would know Mulhaupt that might not even
know the rest of these artists.
Mulhaupt has a level of reputation and fame and appreciation
that it's above the others.
It is a wonderful picture of Gloucester back in, in the day
with the ice and the big schooners.
And these are very heavily worked.
I don't know if you can see, see all the paint going on there?
These things are painted and scraped down and painted over other paintings
and they're very thick, they're very heavy, a lot of texture on them
and lots and lots of work in them.
They're not - just almost the opposite of the Gruppes.
You see the Gruppes who are - that are very, very rapidly, quickly painted.
The Mulhaupts are anything but they're worked on and worked on, worked on,
scraped down and layered and glazed and endless work in these things.
And when you see them, that shows.
They have a jewel like quality, very interesting painting, a lot of
texture and lots of lots and lots of work with them, even though it's
not crabbed down to tiny details,
the enormous amount of lovely colors hidden in there.
You see the beautiful color in there?
They're full of these lovely passages that he obviously worked
hard to get with so much working and reworking going into them that the
surfaces is crusty with dried paint.
They're amazing surface on these things.
Again, this is Gloucester in maybe 1900, when all ships were wooden
and the fleet was going out.
Gloucester has lost 10,000 men at sea and its history.
So America's oldest Seaport.
So this was serious stuff.
These guys were we're going out on these boats and dying.
It was a life and death matter going out, you know, with the schooners,
sometimes a storm would take the whole fleet and that was more common early
in the 19th century than in his day.
But still lives were constantly being lost out of Gloucester Harbor.
It was a dangerous business, and that is still today.
You've all heard the perfect storm, the boat the perfect
storm left this harbor too.
But the loss of life has dropped a whole lot, but historically 10,000 men have died
fishing out of Gloucester, Massachusetts and Gloucester population might be 30,000.
I'm guessing what the population is, but it's about 30,000.
So a pretty small town to lose 10,000 people.
But that's since 1632, been fishing out of Gloucester a long time.
And people love for the old boats and for the feel of old, old sailing Gloucester
as much as far their artistic - there's wonderful color in these things.
Different sort of a thing.
Look at the color in that.
Isn't that lovely?
And I think that was probably made in 1905, 1910, maybe, maybe a little later
than that, but I'm guessing that's the era on that and look at the brushwork in that.
We've seen it in Hibbard and other artists before, but there's that
lovely, broken color laid in.
You'll see the lovely color on color, layers and layers of color all
accentuating and sparkling one another.
I believe I know where that bridge is.
I wouldn't swear to it, but I think I know where it is.
Lot of these little bridges, like this are - well see one that's very old.
I can tell you a little more about a lot of that stuff.
That's in these old pictures of New England.
Here we go.
There's the oldest standing keystone arch bridge in America.
That's the Addison Choate bridge in Ipswich, Massachusetts.
You see it right there.
I've painted that myself.
It's still there.
- and he died in 37, so it's painting before 37, probably the 1920s,
maybe earlier, maybe the teens, this place is still there unchanged.
All these buildings are there.
That bridge is there.
You can go and stand in this same place today and look just the same.
Ipswich, Massachusetts, a wonderful color.
And you know, really the whole game's up in here.
Everything's going on up in this area here, everything below that
is just sort of supporting cast.
There's a river going back in there, but all the fun stuff is right up
in this one band across the middle.
And like so many of these you guys do, he's got this side and this side
chained together, your eye comes across here and all this stuff goes on
all from one wall to the other.
They idolized Mulhaupt.
He was a hero.
In fact, Gruppe is buried only perhaps a yard from Mulhaupt.
They idolize this guy, but again, he was dead by 37.
So the other guys I'm showing you were young looking up to this
much older man, or at least 20, 30 years older than they were.
Lovely color in this picture.
Oh, go on here, here.
Here's another one.
And that's - there you go.
There's the romance of Gloucester Harbor.
You can see the guys in their shirts and their mustache and
they're all Portuguese and Sicilian.
They got the mustaches and the kerchiefs and the Berets all looking very Gloucester
and this, all of these boats are all pulled together into one big triangle.
It must be ten boats back there and they're all in one big shape like that.
See a big triangle?
There's no boats down here.
There's no boats over there.
All the boats are all gathered into one big mass.
And that's a design idea that people deal with is called group mass.
It's sort of a move you can make when designing a picture is you
kinda take everything there and you all group it up and pile it in one place.
And the big triangle here is echoed by the little triangle of sailor.
See that repetitive idea there.
There's the big triangle, which has all the boats.
Little triangle which is those guys they're in the foreground.
And again, I'm picking these things apart for their design ideas, but for most
of the people who are fond of - they're after the subject matter and interesting,
wonderful color stuff and wonderful handling and all this, it can be hard to
see it, to see all the niceties of it, but there's a lovely jewel like tone in
these pictures, you look at them first, you'll see the subject matter, but as you
look at them longer there's lovely jewel like, and by jewel, I mean the kind of
colors that are found in precious stones, there's a sort of a jewel like color
In running through these things and even little passengers in the
background, you don't notice it first.
If you study them for very long, you realize that all the wonderful
stuff that's hidden in there.
See the wonderful colors in there.
Look at the violets and the oranges and everything.
Lovely, lovely, subtle, subtle color in these things.
They're big and, and you'd think that because there are pictures of working
them on the barbor that they wouldn't have subtlety in and lovely, refined
exquisitely, exquisitely, delicate passengers in them, but they do.
Again, that's wonderful painting of Gloucester Harbor.
Mulhaupt's are - there are a lot of them they're very small down in this
kind of size and they're - he could make an eight by ten that would look
like you're looking at 30 by 40, just because I'm not really showing you any
small ones here, but when you see small
Mulhaupts are little treasures, even though they're eight by ten,
they're like a whole world in there.
Maybe the best of all the painters that I've shown you in a way.
My favorite course is Hibbard.
But when you really get down to the technicals Gruppe or Mulhaupt
might've been the best of the bunch.
Okay, let's go on to the only one of these guys
- oh, we're gonna do Peter's here.
Here's Carl Peters.
There's Carl Peters and maybe something else going in the background.
What else is there.
There's Carol Peters, very young picture of Carl Peters.
Carl Peters like a Emile Gruppe had a background from Rochester, New
York and some of the same teachers.
He stayed both with Tarbell.
He studied with John Carlson.
His family, his father, was he selling sewing machines?
I don't know what it was.
His father was a salesman, but when Carl was about 12, his father
quit his job and they get a little hardscrabble farm out in the country.
He really spends his whole life there on this funky farm.
He painted it 10,000 times.
There's a zillion pictures of that farm.
A little, nothing farm.
I doubt it was really enough to support a family, but he grew up on this little
farm kind of a few miles outside of Rochester, but he came to Rockport in
the summer and he was a serious painter.
Like so many of these guys put in a phase where he was doing set design,
but he was a very serious painter.
He, like everybody else in that era got hit by the depression pretty hard.
And he did murals for the WPA during the 30s.
And I'm guessing that this picture was taken during the depression.
I just missed knowing him.
He died in 1980, years on Carl Peters well you don't have to look that up.
I don't know it off the top of my head, but I wrote it down for you.
1897 in 1980.
I got to Rockport in 1983.
So I just missed him.
However, the widow brought the entire estate to a dealer in Rockport.
And so I got to paw through the estate and see all of the paintings after he died.
Didn't sell a lot of paintings, I guess he did sell a lot, but
a lot of pains went unsold.
Had kind of a hard life.
He was not a good business man.
And some of these other guys were, particularly Gruppe was
just a fabulous businessman.
Carl Peters was just the opposite.
And he had so a lot of hard times, but he worked from drawings,
paintings we're going to see here now we're not painting location.
He kept sketchbooks, endless sketchbooks, there's piles of piles
and piles of endless sketchbooks.
And there - everything was done from sketches.
And they are again, a little more modern than we've seen before here.
Let's take a look at one here and I'll show you what I mean.
Carl Peters, same subject as Gruppe.
Gloucester Harbor, but everything's - see how everything's simplified and reduced.
I mean, that's real, real taken down to the basics.
Very simplified, very similar palette to that which we saw with the Emile
Gruppe, the same colors on his palette.
And that comes from having painted also with John Carlson, a lot of
Carlson students were on that palette.
It is incidentally, not the same palette that's in his book, but a lot of the
people that came out of studying with John Carlson had that phthalo cyanine palette.
Early on they would have used Prussian blue.
Probably more technical than you're interested in.
Prussian blue is a very powerful greenish blue that was replaced by phthalo, which
is a clear blue, even more powerful.
He started out with Prussian and John Carlson had impressionist his palette,
so I expect that's where it comes from.
But these guys, their palette was a very, very, very powerful colors.
Hold on here.
Another Carl Peters here, around here.
Went out there.
This is probably out near Rochester.
Is that the farm itself?
I think so.
I believe that barn, this is the farm house in the barn that he grew up in.
He lived there at least in the winter, all of his life.
And then of course he would summer in, in Rockport and he'd come over
to Rockport and just draw all summer long in his sketchbooks and he'd go
home and make paintings from there.
But this was done outside.
This is the farm could have been done from the drawing.
It's hard to say.
Most of them though were done from drawing, very simplified everything's
reduced down to its most basic elements.
There's that tree there isn't a dot or a stroke in that picture
that doesn't need to be there.
Everything is very simplified, all nicely hooked together to see
how all this stuff is all pulled together all the way across here.
You can see that this whole picture is joined up all the way.
All the darks are all hooked together all the way through the picture.
And that's a design idea
you see not just in Rockport artists, but the Rockport or Cape Ann
artists are very fond of doing that.
I try and do it myself.
It's just a great simplifying unifying effect, you chain both sides of the
painting together with a band of darks that are all hooked together.
You can put your finger on any dark in that picture, trace throughout the entire
picture with having to lift your finger.
You just joined these darks.
The next - this bridge is still there unchanged.
This little bridge is over in Massachusetts, still
there, just like that.
Very simple picture.
And it's got the device we've talked about before.
There's a little bolt down here, but basically you draw a dying across
that picture and everything in the
pIcture's on that side of the diagonal.
Everything is even that sits on the diagonal and all that
this bridge sits on diagonal.
There's sort of this base runs across here.
Everything is up above it and into here.
And these arches are all rhythmically arranged.
And this is Charles Rollo Peters.
I don't know where he got that middle nickname.
It was a lovely thing.
And look at the powerful color in that though.
Again, unlike Thieme, the Thieme's were delicate and decorative.
This thing is bold.
Lots of punch and lots of bold contrasts, very simplified shape, but very
bold colors and a bold presentation and a really interesting design.
We get these little guys standing in there, see a little man there.
Very simply painted.
At a glance you almost you think, well, it's not enough there to make a picture.
It's almost a little under done, you know, but that was the idea.
And we'll talk about that more in the next artist we're going to see here.
Next guy we're kind of see here was real proponent to that sort of thing.
Real - here we go.
This is Pigeon Cove Harbor, Pigeon Cove's, a section of Rockport, Massachusetts.
This location is still there today.
You could go stand there and see everything that's in that picture.
Pretty much everything that's in that picture is unchanged.
The guys are still working on those docks, pulling in lobster, hauling
traps in and out, setting up equipment.
This place is still very much in operation today.
This is a very, again, done from a drawing in the studio, but a wonderful
design, these big shapes getting smaller and smaller as they go back.
Smaller shapes here, yet smaller shapes back there.
He's getting design in this picture, getting perspective in his picture
by modifying the shapes he's using.
He's got big shapes in the foreground middle-sized shapes in the middle ground
and little shapes in the background.
Reduces the size of shapes that make up the thing.
And that's installed in the picture.
It didn't just happen.
He made that happen there.
Again, very boldly, very roughly and brutally paint put on the
canvas, I guess you could say.
I mean, it's about as immediate as a painting could be, and
these guys, they valued that, they like momentum in painting.
They wanted things to have a very high momentum.
You look at the thing and it looks like it's painting itself as you watch
it it's so rough and they would just work a couple hours and just step back.
Won't touch it again.
That was the whole mentality, went with these things and a little different,
awful lot of people doing realism these days are making very tightly
rendered, very, you know, carefully worked, very heavily work things, but
a little different perspective here.
And these guys, particularly this guy did a lot of watercolors.
And so that watercolor idea has gotten into his oil paintings.
A lot of watercolors value that loose, free, very fast thing.
And because of a lot of watercolor experience, he tends to bring that into
his oil painting and that was Carl Peters.
And again, I think I'll take a five minute break and we'll
be back with the next artist.
Next one is going to be Charles Movalli.
The only one of this bunch that I actually knew and painted with.
We'll see him next.
I'll see you back here in a few minutes.
the artists of Essex, Ipswich, Rockport, Gloucester, Massachusetts.
There was a school of painting there, really began about 1920,
sometimes a little earlier, but 1920, it wasn't the first school of
painting ever to happen in the area.
Winslow Homer, lots of John Sloan and lots of artists had been there before,
but starting about the 1920s, there was a great awakening in the area that
led to lots of artists being there and working at the same time, I'm reviewing
some of the best known of those.
There are lots more I'm not covering, but this is the only artist I'm gonna
show you that I personally knew myself.
All the guys we've covered so far were dead when I got to Rockport.
I knew this artist, he passed away about three years ago.
This is Charles Movalli, born in 1945, died in 2016, fabulous painter well within
the tradition, and you can see looking at his work that he's looked Gruppe.
He studied with Gruppe and wrote three books with Emile Gruppe
so he's well-versed in Emile Gruppe.
In fact, he was able to speak for him.
Gruppe was probably, would probably never been able to read a book himself.
He had the ideas, but I don't think he was capable of writing
them, expressing himself.
But Charles took on that job and was able to serve as Emile Gruppe's voice.
So he knew group his thoughts and ideas inside and out.
And he sort of paints like Gruppe for a few years, but then
it takes off in his own thing.
But you'll see the influence of Carl Peters here too.
He is the essential Cape Ann artist.
And like we talked about Lester Stevens again, he's one of
the very few was actually born
Born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, family had a fuel oil delivery business.
You don't know what fuel oil is do you out there?
A lot of New England's heated with oil delivered by trucks.
You've got a big tank down in your basement.
His family delivered that oil and Charles helped his father do it as a child.
His father, before he went in the oil business, had worked in an anvil foundry.
Talk about rough work.
He'd had real rough jobs and it was a tough job delivering oil.
Gloucester's real hilly, you got steep hills, they're driving
like a 1935 truck and you got to haul that hose to the tanks.
The hose is heavy and you're going over snowbanks and the hills are steep.
It's physical, rough, physical work and Gloucester can be a rough town.
It was a wonderful, exciting place, but it can be a rough town, a lot of
fishermen and working class guys who - they're great people, but they're rough.
And you've got a lot of people interaction to deal with.
Very physical, very demanding job, either way.
Charlie delivers oil with his father as a young man.
And it gave him a toughness.
He had a work ethic, just a resolve that was enormous.
Although you wouldn't know it by looking at him, he looked rather bookish and
scholarly and he was rather bookish.
He went to college, got a doctorate in English
and he imagined himself being a college professor.
He got a job, I forget where, I knew once.
Hired by a college to teach.
And after a semester he knew he'd hated it.
He'd always painted, painted seriously and both his parents painted.
In fact, they were kind of the family that painted together, they would on
their Sundays go off, down to the rocks in Gloucester and paint the ocean.
And mother's pretty serious watercolorist but he sort of changed gears.
He said, well, you know, what's the point of doing it all this teaching,
I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere on teaching classrooms full of students
who don't want to be there, they're not interested in what I have to say.
He was really disappointed by his choice that in life he returns to Gloucester
and it goes into the painting world.
He'd always been impressed with Emile Gruppe.
Somebody gave him a - Gruppe did lectures every Sunday down on the wharfs for
five bucks or two bucks or whatever, you'd show up and he'd pay admission
you'd watch Gruppe lecture and paint every Sunday.
And he'd done that for all summer once, and he'd always been drawing and painting.
So he was qualified to do it.
He moves back to Gloucester and goes into the painting business, moves back
in with his parents and lives in that family house, all the rest of his life.
Nice old Cape.
I know it well, the older parts of the house is several houses tacked together.
The oldest parts of the house were built in 1745.
So it's a wonderful old, New England Cape.
Charles added onto it.
He was very enamored with the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.
And so from the street, it looks like a 1745 house.
And from the back, it looks like a Frank Lloyd Wright.
A remarkable guy did a lot of things.
I will show some of his pictures here.
He's on that same palette by the way, we've talked about with Emile Gruppe, he
's got that phthalo and all the cadmiums.
Here's Gloucester, but he grew up close to this.
I mean, there was nothing there.
He has lots and lots of slight of hand.
Extreme high-velocity painter.
I heard a quote from Charles once, he said, you know, some artists, they want
their art to be well-done, other artists they want their art to be medium rare.
I want my art to be sushi.
And it is, it's just about as loose as you can possibly get it.
He's as loose a painter as you can be, and still look at his stuff and
know what he's paying pictures of.
See the work in that, the brush work in there?
Extremely bold painter.
This is probably a 24 by 36, probably painted in a couple of hours.
I can remember going out and painting with Charles Movalli a number of times
and then Gruppe was the same way.
You'd go out and paint with Movalli and you'd be just starting to get
the roll on your painting, you'd be 45 minutes in and he'd be done.
He'd throw the canvas down, grab another one.
He'd paint three or four of these in an afternoon sometimes.
Amazingly prolific painter, amazingly prolific writer.
I think he has eight to ten books out.
He was - wrote for about 25, 30 years.
He wrote for the American artist magazine and he did 80, what he
called a conversation with Charles Movalli and he'd go out and interview
artists all over the country, well known artists and sit down with them
and do interviews with them and then write an article and they'd interview.
And they were the most successful thing in American Arts magazine.
And they were very well loved.
He was kind of their top writer and he did it without taking notes.
He'd walk in and sit around down in an artist's studio, talk to them
for a day and go home and write the article without having any notes.
He didn't need any notes to refer it to, he knew exactly what they'd said.
Show you another one here.
Let me just bang through some of these.
Here we go.
Here is Charles out in the field.
Lovely, simple thing.
And again, it's - you can see the influence of Gruppe.
You can see the influence of Carl Peters.
Very, very simplified but a lovely arrangement.
Each of those shapes is beautifully designed to set the other off.
All the intervals are different.
There's a very quiet, subtle poetry in this painting, and it looks
like oh you can just bang that out.
Try it sometime.
Very, very difficult to do what he's done, just because it's
immediate and it's quickly done, it's still enormously skillful.
Everything - it takes an enormous skill to put something like that down and
say, well, that's right, that'll do.
Everybody else wants to rush by things to keep adding detail.
He doesn't want a single unnecessary in this picture.
In a way it's very, very modernist, it's minimalism.
He has stripped everything back to just the essential elements.
You got three buildings, four buildings in there.
You got one window right there.
And he puts a chimney or two in, no further detail.
Why paint all the windows in something you put one in people just figure
the rest of them are in there.
Really just simplifying, constantly pushing things down, refining things down
to their basic, just the basic shapes.
What that's called.
Here's another one right there.
Look at that.
Isn't that wonderful?
This is up in Vinalhaven.
Vinalhaven is an island it's about 45 minutes off of
Rockland, Maine, maybe an hour.
But have to take a ferry to get there.
That island's got a town on it called Carver's Harbor.
I painted out there by myself.
This is a - see the lobster truck with a sign of the lobster on the side.
This is a very real place, I've stood right there.
It still exists just as you see it.
Look at the roughness, the bravura work within that and
all the color into those boards.
You look at them up close
there's just nothing there, but when you step back, it's just as real as can be.
And it's all these boards are leading your eye back to a punchline.
You get that lobster boat there.
And it's a square format.
Here's these Cape Ann guys using that design, that square format, but
everything is full of light and life too.
Like how much light there is in the side of that truck, he's pushed
the reflections of the sunlight up there and he made all that happen.
This is not the product of observation.
There's plenty of observation going on there.
But when you see this beautiful light passage and beautiful
fluttery work, he made all that happen, fluttery brushstroke, and
all that Charles made that happen.
Extremely confident brushwork, more than almost any of the
artists we've seen so far.
And these are all these artists we've seen so far, a
brushstroke guys, brushwork guys.
Charles has got just extreme confidence.
Another one, same thing is going on Smith Cove.
We saw that in a group before, remember that had the sailboat here,
same places, Smith Cove, and look at the wonderful color in that, you
know, guarantee he made that up.
That's not really there.
He may have exaggerated existing colors to that point, but all that's
decorative color that he's brought into this thing, but it's all harmonized.
And there's the trick to in something like that to be able to paint with
that much color yet, have it all hang together, extreme skill in that, but
done at lightening speed, that thing's probably two or three hours work.
It's up in this size.
I imagine it's probably 18, 24.
Very, very boldly painted and Charles made thousands of paintings,
sold thousands of paintings.
He's still - an awful lot of plein air painters are looking at Charles, they've
read the books he wrote on Gruppe, and he's a great hero to what I guess
you'd call the plein air community.
Awful lot of people have looked at hard - looked at Charlie
hard and studied his work.
He's been a leader to a whole generation of artists, myself included.
When I first got to Rockport, he did a lecture that I saw when I'd
first arrived in this art colony.
They just completely remodeled me.
I had all the academic training, I'd been through R.H.
I walked in and sat down in an auditorium and walked out with my head spinning.
He threw all these ideas out that I'd never heard of
before, all the design ideas
that are common to Rockport.
The first time I heard about them was from this guy, Charles Movalli in the lecture.
Did a lot of lecturing.
A lot of public speaking, taught a zillion workshops.
He was cheap, Yankee cheap.
He wouldn't spend more than like $500 for a car.
He had a succession of $500 cars.
He'd drive around the country, doing workshops, leaving auto parts behind him.
I am on the road.
At about 50 years old, more like 60 years old, Charles got
a diagnosis of terminal cancer.
They Told him that if he was lucky, he'd have two years.
He's lived his whole life, always working, just incessant labor, and all
of a sudden it's over, he's got - doctor gives him two years, got him on all
sorts of experimental treatments.
And Charles lived another 17 years with a cancer that should have killed him in two.
So he bought just by sheer force of willpower and the help of modern
medicine he dragged 17 years out of what was a two year death sentence.
And worked pretty well through the whole time, really, he didn't let it stop him.
He must've been pretty uncomfortable a lot of the time, but he never let it stop him.
He was forbidden from traveling overseas.
He traveled incessantly.
The doctors forbid him from going overseas because they're afraid he couldn't quickly
assess what kind of medical treatment he might need if he got in trouble and
his health had collapsed and he had to go back in the hospital and they'd have
one more experimental treatment, they could run on him and which they did
and he always seemed to respond and come walking back out again.
In the process he - I knew him through the process.
I ran into him after he'd had really got hit hard by the cancer, ran into
him in the grocery store parking lot and he was this much shorter.
He shrunk six inches.
It was very strange seeing Charlie what's going on here.
Six inches shorter, walking with a cane, but he always
bounced back, remarkable guy.
Either way let's go ahead and look at another one here.
Here's a wonderful, with a different palette, lovely Gloucester scene.
Most of those boats are gone now, but you could still pull similar
scenes out of Gloucester today.
I just like to point out the places that are still there.
A lot of us paint, you probably do too.
And you could go to Gloucester and find similar stuff like this to paint today.
Not as much as there was long ago, but there's still enough that you can go paint
that waterfront and make these kinds of pictures if you've got the skill to do it.
Wonderful, wonderful, dark colors, all this tied together in here.
And if you look at it again up close, there's nothing there.
There's Charlie for ya.
All slight of hand, every bit of detail or anything goes
on in that picture you infer.
You think you see more than you do.
Very, very quick.
Another little one, nice little thing.
Ah, there's Vinalhaven I suppose, I believe so.
It could be somewhere up in Maine, those lobster shacks and
equipment, and look at the paint.
Look at the paint in there.
Look at the way he handles that paint.
Is it ropes, is it waves?
But you look at the entirety of the picture and it works just fine.
We don't find ourselves wanting more than that.
He is the most economical painter I've ever seen in terms of how little
it takes him to represent things.
And it's valued not because it's so quick, like he wants to make so
many pictures, but he doesn't want to make a lot of pictures though
he's, you know, he's excited.
He wants to make the pictures quickly so he can make another one.
So you make lots of pictures.
He was interested in making pictures.
The more he made the happier he was.
But the fun is in the velocity at which they're done, the slight
of hand, the minimal effort that it takes to make these things
is part of the appeal of them.
I'm assuming this is up in Vermont, somewhere wonderful grey ochrey tonality,
that simple arrangement, hot shadows.
Look how hot those shadows are, see that?
He's got his lights and shadows.
On grey days you get a silvery effect, but he's going in there
and he's made those shadows just red hot so you know where they are.
So it was even though it's a gray day, he gets an effective shadow pattern there
and he does it with color temperature as much as he does it with value.
Here's a wonderful thing.
Isn't that pretty?
This one's full of color and the light and learn how dark and violet
purple all those shadows are.
I mean, it kind of looks like that, but he's taken what, you know, the
look of it and lied about it, frankly.
I think Charles had a saying that he'd say you never tell the truth.
Everything in a Charles Movalli painting is distorted in some way, he's upped
the color, he's fooled with a shape.
He's never telling the truth.
Nature is just a springboard for these inventions that he does.
Look at something and here's this counter change.
I've talked about counter changed before.
See that post there?
When it's up against the light background, it's dark.
When it's up against a dark background, it's light.
It's counter change.
And it's, it's sort of an exciting thing to do with paint, it's a
way of getting an interest in a painting to have things do that.
You see painters do that a lot.
When something - when you have something that crosses both light
and dark backgrounds, you make it dark against the light part and
the light against the back part.
And every time you have a value change like that, it gives a
little more interest, a little more exciting to the painting.
This is an exciting painting.
If you squint way down, you can see this simple, interesting shape that's
really at the root of the thing.
There's this axis here with all these spikes sticking up out of it.
If you squint way away down, you can see the spiel simplified shape
this thing is based on, it's got an armature that goes through it.
And like so many of these paintings we've seen before, all the darks
are linked up and the two sides of the painting are chained together.
Awfully nice, huh?
That's a lovely painting.
If you'd like to have that painting, there's a dealer right now in
Carmel that's selling that picture.
It's about this big.
That one's actually for sale right now.
Charles is recently deceased, didn't die until 2016.
So there's a lot of inventory is still out there.
If you want a Charles Movalli, you can still get one.
You'd get a Mulhaupt too, if you can afford it.
But the Movallis are still out there and available in the market.
A wonderful painting.
Look at the color.
Color at that.
And I've stood and painted at a zillion locations like that.
And I guarantee all those colors are either exaggerated or installed.
It's so interesting with all the different colors in it.
It could have been a very boring, just a grey picture if it would
have been literally painted, but it's not, he's got this exciting
pattern of color and everything is going on in this diagonal line.
See the line?
This and this and this all form these diagonal lines, this whole
thing receding back to here
and there is a waterfall at the bottom of it.
Exciting design done on almost square canvas.
We'll take a little more - little break here for about five minutes
and we'll be right back and I'm going to do something a little untoward
next to I'm gonna show you my work.
And I don't want to imply that I really belong with these other
artists, but people have said, well, you're teaching this class
do you actually paint Stape?
So I'm going to show you some of the pictures I've made in the past.
And I hope you'll allow me to tack them onto the end of this discussion
of artists, who I look up to.
And don't begin to think of myself as they're equal.
They're my heroes.
But I'm going to show you my art next.
Thanks for coming in.
I often talk with young art students and they'll always say
they're in art school somewhere, and they'll say they for a teacher.
They're going to take this teacher, that teacher I'll often ask them,
did you look at that teachers work before you signed up for the class.
And they invariably say, well, no, I didn't do that.
It's just, that's what they teach in a sophomore level.
You take this course.
And I'd always advise you, and you can apply this to me too, you want to see a
teacher's work before you spend the time and effort it takes to learn from them.
I have this theory that no one can teach you to do anything
they can't do themselves.
And particularly in the art world we've got an awful lot of people
around us they're teaching that maybe you don't have the chops to do it.
So when you, whenever you decide, if you've got to study with, somebody can
look at their work and I'm going to find you an opportunity to do that.
For me, I'm not claiming I'm, God's gift in art, but I've
been doing it a long time.
Let me share what I do and you can.
Let's have a look at it here.
I thought I'd opened up.
Just here's a picture of me out working.
That's what my gear looks like.
I'm in Townshend, Vermont on this day.
See the covered bridge in the background there.
I'm all suited up for winter painting.
There's not snow on the ground, but it's okay.
It's nice and cold.
I routinely paint outside in Vermont.
Sometimes it's 25 below zero when I set up out there, I spend the
entire winter painting in Vermont.
I'll come home for - work in my studio for a couple of weeks and I'll go back
up for a week, paint a bunch of pictures.
And, I go up all almost all the time with a couple of same buddies.
We all go up as a group to pay it and we wait for the coldest weather we can get.
That sounds weird.
You think you wouldn't want to paint in the cold, but cold means clear.
Ween it's cold - when it warms up it greys out.
So we wait for the cold spells to go to Northern Vermont, almost to
Canada to go up to Northern Vermont.
We're routinely go out when it's 10, 15, 20 below.
We like it cold, the better light.
Either way, this isn't that cold, but I'm out there in my silly little winter suit.
That's what my gear looks like, there you see the big paint box.
That's the paint box I ordinarily carry, the one you see me using
during these episodes is much smaller than that lovely place, Townshend,
Vermont, but there's a little further.
This is actually Southern the middle of Vermont.
More often I'm up in Northern Vermont, but there I am in Southern Vermont.
That's what that looks like.
And of course I'm painting an awful lot of, this kind of thing,
sort of typical of what I do.
There's a 24 by 30 from up in Vermont.
I stood at it again this was cold.
It was 10, 12 blow.
When I painted this is done on location.
I fooled with an enormously in the studio, actually, all this is
pretty much because it came in from out of the - out in the outside.
I had to make all this up.
This was actually much more complex than that.
So I made up all the left-hand side of the picture.
Pretty typical of what I do.
You have a little spot of red back there on the bar and just for the fun of it.
And I've got the same kind of ideas in my color, I guess, is the other
artists I've been talking about.
I'm strongly influenced by Aldro Hibbard, but there's other stuff in there too.
Willard Metcalf was not a Rockport painter though he was though he was born
and raised in, Lowell, Massachusetts.
We got a strong influences from this guy willard Metcalf was
actually a generation before that.
So a little bit of a 19th century, late 19th, early 20th
century mix into what I do.
I'm a little more old timey than a lot of the Rockport stuff that I look at,
but pretty good example of what I do.
That's a 24 by 30, Oh, here's - this is kind of fun.
I like doing this.
I would like to show this one.
This was - you paint enough of them some days you get lucky.
And this is one of those.
This is - I was down in Mississippi, teaching a workshop in some little
town in Mississippi, and I set up in the center of this town has an entire
city block that's a park with their town hall, right in the middle of it.
I'm trying to think of the name of the town.
I can't do it right now.
I believe it was Canton, Mississippi.
And of course it was about a zillion degrees out.
Although it was, it must have, it was like November, but it was still hot.
And I set up and did this as a demonstration in front of a class.
I think it's an 18 by 24, might be a 16 by 22, relatively small painting.
But I'm very pleased with that one, that was on the spot in front of a class.
Sold it off the easel.
One of my students, I kind of wish I'd kept it now look back right.
This is one of the better things I've made and fond of that one.
Nice color, sticking into things.
See the variation in color within it.
It's just seems a real successful product to me.
See it's a little harder to speak about my work.
I can praise those Aldro Hibbards.
I have to be kind of circumspect with praising my own work, but
the best I can do is say, well, I like this one as close as I can
get to saying this is really good.
I can't do that.
So I can say, well, I like this one.
Here we go.
Let's look at another one.
What do we got here?
We've got, oh, this is nice.
This is, This is up in New Hampshire where I live, but this is about two
hours, three hours North of where I live.
And that's a place called Sugar Hill and it's, it must
be an 18 by 24 midsize picture.
In about here.
I'm happy with the sort of overall tonality of it.
It's got a unifying sort of a warm glow through it that I like.
And I like the way these trees got done.
Two little specks and spots of light, where they're full of little
decorative accents and such and see sort of purple undertone in things,
a cobalt violet showing through from behind and down in the water.
It's got sort of a sneaky purple undertone to it that I like.
Again, that's a Sugar Hill, New Hampshire painted on location, fooled
within the studio like everything else I do just, as you saw me do with the
pictures that I've worked on the easel here, I started outside , finished
it at home Oh, here's an old one.
I did this, I think the years on it, I get the - I think it might be, I
don't know, early nineties, I think maybe late eighties, early nineties.
And that's a scene from Rockport.
That's one of the quarries.
There's granite quarries all over in Rockport.
And that's a scene from a Rockport from years ago.
And that's 26 by 29, sort of an odd shape, but it's still a little off square,
just enough off square that it has a slight bit of horizontal illness to it.
And that's much more broadly than some of the other stuff I've done, you can
see it's in bigger marks, strongly influenced by Aldro Hibbard, even
though it's not a snow scene, a lot of Hibbard-isms going on there.
And that's a, let I say that's a long time ago.
That picture is 30 years old.
Anyway, I'd guess.
Funny to think.
Cause I remember where - I remember who I was with when I painted it.
I remember very well.
This is only a few years back though.
That's - it's up in Vermont.
That's near Manchester, Vermont, and it's a little town there.
And oddly enough, Norman Rockwell lived about a mile up this road here
that far behind that barn about three quarters a mile is the house.
One of the houses that Norman Rockwell lived in, he was in a long time, a lot
of the Norman Rockwell's you see we're painted just up the road from this barn.
I just love this old barn.
It's been painted about a billion times after the design
has got a nice balance to it.
I like the dark accents in it.
See the - how all this is very simply painted, but I've got the little accents
of the windows, all that ticked in there.
There's just enough decorative stuff going on to make it work to the
mountains, bring it down to the barn.
The subject matter is - here's the subject matter.
Everything in the picture takes you there a line of bushes and these mountains,
everything in that picture, it brings you down and says, go see the barn over here.
Look at the barn.
That's what's important, barn and that's, I dunno, it was good.
I put the year on all of them, but it's hard to read on it on here.
I guess that's maybe five years ago I painted that and oddly enough, I think
that was the first time, maybe a little longer than five or seven years ago,
but was the first time Ie ever painted with my friend Leo Mancini, who's also
an instructor here with the New Masters Academy, first time ever painted with Leo
I think it was when I made that picture.
Again, it's made outside, fooled with a little in the studio.
I mean, outside.
Oh, this one's going way back to that's the yacht club in Rockport,
Massachusetts, much tighter picture than most of those I made today.
Lot of work went into that thing and it's another 26 by 29 about this size.
One of the curses of being established, I guess, in the art world, is the Chinese
make reproductions of your paintings.
I was walking through Salem, Massachusetts back a few years ago, maybe 10 years
ago in fact, and I absentmindedly looked in the shop window and the front of the
window was filled with reproductions of this painting, but they'd been done
assembly line style somewhere in China so they had a kind of a vaguely pagoda
look to all the buildings and it was very sloppily done, but it was my painting.
And it was - I didn't - there's nothing you can do about it.
I didn't even walk in the store and complain, but the Chinese have borrowed
this design and made a lot of copies of it, but that's a Rockport Yacht Club.
And when I painted it, I was overlooking the scene of course, and
people would walk out on the dock or walk by and I'd drop them in.
I'd say, there's this guy.
And here's that guy.
I hung it in my shop afterwards, people would come in and they'd
say, oh, that's- they'd know who the people were by their characters sort
of ways of standing or whatever.
And my daughter was in a sailing class.
This is my daughter's sailing class, those little boats, I believe there were opties.
No, they were a bigger class than that.
There were lasers I think.
THere's classes a little sailboats they use for teaching sailing.
And that's the act club.
This building, it used to be a coal, a place that store coal.
And here's motif number one, we've seen a bunch of pictures of motif
number one in the background of this.
Motif number one, there's a motif number one there, and I'm standing a
a little tiny park about the size of two parked cars called Star Island
Park looking out over Rockport Harbor.
Funny thing happened as I was making this picture and it's know it's, I
would say a pretty professional painting and, finished up and I went back to
the studio and about a week later, people started coming into my shop
and saying, was that you in the L.A.
No, I don't know anything about that.
Finally, about three people would ask that and the third person that asked
me that question had a copy of the L.A.
Times under their arm.
And they said, well, this is your painting in the L.A.
Times, look at it.
And they opened the newspaper and it wasn't on the front page.
It was the front page of the second session, the travel and leisure section,
but it was above the fold about this big picture of my painting and me painting it.
And you could tell here's the painting and there's what I'm painting.
And I've been working on the painting about a week.
I used to take them out a lot of times, it was very far along.
So I was at a very professional painting and the caption below
the painting read "A local artist tries his hand at oil painting."
Didn't even bother to get my name, but since they're going to call me a local
artist, tries his hand at oil painting, I guess I'd rather they didn't use my name.
I do one of these a year, these blue pictures, it was
Cleaves Street in Rockport.
Everybody's painting that street's still there, just like that today.
They were painting that street in the 1920s.
It's Cleaves Street in Rockport, Massachusetts.
and I've - I make one of these all blue paintings, I make one a year.
I do it in about November so that it - I don't make them over - I've
only done one that actually has a Christmas tree of lights on it, but
they seem associated - look a little like Christmas cards out there.
And it's not what it really looks like at night.
It's an evocation of what night looks likeB.
but I've made one of these a year since the early or mid 1970s.
I think the first one must be about 77, 78, somewhere in there.
I've made one a year for every year, since the late 70s.
And, I always recently, I've been the Guild of - Boston Artists every year.
And so they usually save me a picture in the front window.
So every year I'll put one of these blue pictures in the front window
of the Guild of Boston Artists on Newbury Street in Boston.
I remember when I first got to Rockport, that year, right before I went to
Rockport, I was staying in Boston with a buddy of mine who was putting me up.
I was couch surfing and I was broke and I went down to Newbury Street with one
of these blue pictures under my arm.
It must've been 83 at that point, trying to get somebody to buy it.
That seems so pathetic, trying to sell an oil, walking up the streets, broke
with oil painting under your arm, trying to talk business to some people into
buying your painting, but I'm starving.
You know, what was I was going to do?
And I remember how desperate I felt, how stupid I felt having to do it.
And of course, people wouldn't give me $200 or $300 for a painting
this size I was on the street.
It's all context, you know, but here I am now 40 years later and I can - I
have a reserved place for me and the biggest plate glass window on Newbury
Street every year for that blue painting, this year's blue painting version of
the one that I couldn't sell for 300 bucks while I was on the streets in
1982 or three, somewhere back in there.
Oh, what do we got here?
Well, that's kind of fun.
This was - I did this up in Maine and I was a painting with a bunch of Russians.
Who, you know, Russian Russians who'd come over to paint with us.
And I was kind of put on the spot, this is 26 by 29.
so it's up in this size and kind of put on the spot.
Everybody was looking at me to better make something good Stapleton.
I was really on the spot and I made that and happy with that.
And that's a sort of a Metcalf technique, lots of little right-size
brushstrokes, happy with that.
And just one of my better paintings.
Again, I made thousands of paintings.
So I would say one of my better paintings.
YOu make enough of them you're going to hit it sometimes.
and that's pretty straight.
I played straight.
I walked outside and painted it.
There it is.
And pushed much of it around.
I did drop the key a little bit, so things would have more unity,
but played that pretty straight.
And that's a sort of a Willard Metcalf inspired technique.
What have we got here?
Well, this is nice.
I have a buddy
who has a rock and roll band, Kim Simmonds, the band's called Savoy Brown,
and I was in upstate New York and I invited Kim come out and paint with me.
It was one of those occasions when I felt like I better be good today.
And, Kim's out there painting with me and another friend of mine.
And I bang that out in upstate New York near Cazenovia, New York and it was a grey
day and it was late Autumn and a lot of the trees has lost the leaves on the top
and I thought that I had a nice mood, too.
It was actually a paved asphalt road.
I changed in a dirt road, but everything else I played pretty straight.
I like that painting, it's got a nice, sort of a good or
sweet melancholic feel to it.
And, what else have we got here?
Well, oh, this is fun.
It's a nice big one.
That's a real broken color piece I have a lighthouse called Owl's
Head that's near Rockland Maine.
And that's a 30 by 40 I painted in one shot.
It's only happened to me a couple of times in my life where I've been just on.
A lot of times you go outside - you've heard me talk about this before - a
lot of times you go outside and either you got it or you don't.
But every once in awhile you go outside, it's just all magic.
Everything you do works.
So there's a painting this big, I painted in one shot on location,
banged it out, took it home and signed.
It was ready to roll.
I'm still proud of that one.
I guess that's 20 years ago.
Now maybe I can see the date if I look at it closely, I think it looks like 1996.
Maybe hard to tell.
I could tell if I was looking at the real painting, whether
that's a Rockland, Maine, and that's called, Owl's Head Light.
And this is one that has gotten a lot of play.
This is an interesting picture.
I painted that - I was up in Vermont with it was a buddy and it was raining out.
it was a Peter Miller painter from Vermont and it was raining and
we were looking for a place where we could get out of the rain.
And so we walked back into the woods along this stream and we got back
there and it wasn't raining very hard and there was enough forest
canopy above us to keep us dry.
And I went to work and I was fooling with this weird palette.
This palette is painting for e three color palette, and we hear a lot
about three palette, color palettes, you know, red, yellow, blue, or,
and Zorn palettes and all that.
But this three color palette was ochre black, burnt sienna, and white, that's it.
So there's an earth color, three color palette painting.
And that worked really well.
It's only a 16 by 20 but that was a real winner, but the fun part of it
is that it's got so much color unity.
It's only got three different colors in it, and they're all
earth colors, very unusual palette.
And it worked.
And I, I keep thinking I'll do more in that palette, but I really haven't.
It's almost a one-off.
But that's a strictly, a handful of earth colors.
And all the greens are black with a yellow ochre stirred into them.
There's no actual no greens in that picture, really.
I mean, other than black and yellow, and, I always felt that
was one of my, finer efforts
What do we got here?
Oh there's just a little plein air thing, a little quick sketch,
little lobster shack, or a maple sugar operation up in Vermont.
One shot, outside.
There it is.
And that's painted on that Gruppe palette.
I've got phthalo on my palette and a bunch of cadmiums.
So it's got that rather intense color, even though it's mostly browns and
reduced ochres or some colors is actually a very powerful palette.
So it gives that kind of glow to the color, a little hidden strength behind it.
We'll see that.
Not many of those left.
Those are steel buckets for collecting the maple syrup.
It's all plastic tubing now, you don't see many buckets hanging on trees anymore.
It's gotten rare.
Everything's you know, gravity fed plastic tubing
now are pumped out of plastic tubings, not many buckets hanging
in the woods in Maine anymore.
Or they, you know, they boil the maple syrup.
The steam comes out.
This coupla has open sides of it and the steam comes out of there.
This one is not currently running, but it is a syrup session - syrup season.
And that's one shot painting.
Bang, show up, paint it, done.
And I'll show you one more.
This is back, maybe two.
So what's going on here?
I got two pictures at once.
That's not what I wanted.
There we go.
That's maybe what does it say that's a 2000, well, that's last year, no, 2017.
The two years ago.
This is up in, up near Tunbridge Vermont.
Again, we pulled off by the side of the road and jumped out and said, well
this will do we'll paint right here.
18 by 24.
And my buddy I was with didn't like the houses.
He left him out, but I thought they were pretty cool.
So I left them in.
And it's, you know, the usual seesaw thing got to balance, got a house
on one side, house on the other.
And they balance like this one's closer up and lower down.
This one's less up.
We just got a spot, a red in it.
It's closer in the fall.
Comes these two halves balanced, just like a seesaw.
And of course these hills are so lovely to paint up there Vermont's
pretty typical sort of Vermont scene.
And that's about what I can say about that.
Just what I'm willing to show you right now in my work, keep in mind
that I've made thousands of pictures.
This is just a few of them that I've liked made thousands of pictures.
Some of them were okay.
I thought some of these were okay.
Thanks very much for paying attention to me.
I'll talk to you again in the next episode, have a great night.
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