Michele & Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Starr Watercolor Gallery, First Floor
The D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts began collecting watercolor paintings and works on paper in the early 1930s when it first opened to the public. Because watercolors are subject to fading when exposed to light for extended periods, the paintings in the exhibition are shown only rarely.
Winslow Homer’s important painting The New Novel is among the most well-known works in the museum’s collection. Long respected for his oil paintings, Homer’s interest in watercolor emerged in the early 1870s. The painting was shown by the artist in the 1877 annual exhibition of the American Watercolor Society and marked the beginning of his mature style. His early watercolors depict America’s rural life as well as the seaside. The New Novel documents the artist’s preoccupation with a young woman thought to have been linked to an unrequited love affair.
One of the earliest works given to the museum was the painting by Arthur Dove titled Sea Gulls on the Island. Dove is considered to be one of the masters of watercolor and abstract painting in America.
Te Faruru, a colorful work by French artist Paul Gauguin, was added to the museum in 1939. The mixed media painting, created with oil, watercolor and gouache paints, documents the artist’s travels to Tahiti.
Maurice Prendergast’s Merry-Go-Round, Nahant illustrates the oldest summer resort on the New England Coast just north of Boston, Massachusetts. Thousands of tourists visited the area at the turn of the century. The artist’s use of abstract color and form placed him on the cutting edge of American Modernism.
Among other artists in the show are William Trost Richards, Walt Kuhn, Charles Demuth, plus a drawing by Mary Cassatt.