Strawbery Banke Museum , an organization dedicated to reconnecting individuals with Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s forgotten past, has purchased a 19th century painting from the Spanierman Gallery in New York, adding to their growing collection of dozens of pieces of artwork. The watercolor, Portsmouth Waterfront, by Margaret Jordan Patterson (1867‐1950) showcases Portsmouth Harbor in 1910 and is presently on exhibit at Strawbery Banke’s Painting Portsmouth exhibit.
Painting Portsmouth is a limited‐engagement art exhibit at Strawbery’s Banke Museum’s Rowland Gallery that is bringing together twenty‐five 19th and 20th century paintings. From large-scale paintings by John Blunt and Emil Gruppe to gems by Edmund Tarbell , Fidelia Bridges, Charles Woodbury, and Charles Goodhue, among many others, there is something for everyone to savor and enjoy. The collection of works conjure up memories of shoreline summers, impressions of hard working fishermen along the bay, ship workers at the Naval Shipyard, and visions of nature's elemental force and subtly in the Piscataqua and beyond.
“Our new Rowland Gallery is enabling us to not only display many works of art we’ve had in storage for some time, but also to add to our collection through the hosting of exhibitions like Painting Portsmouth,” said Lawrence Yerdon, President of Strawbery Banke Museum. “We are delighted to have the Patterson painting in our permanent collection not only because it is historically significant, but because it captures the charm of Portsmouth harbor during the early 1900s.”
Born in Soerabaija, Java, in 1867, the daughter and granddaughter of sea captains, Patterson spent her childhood on ships traveling around the world and continued this pattern in her adult life. Although Boston was her primary residence from 1895 onward, she was away more than she was at home, painting in Holland, Normandy, Spain, Belgium, France and Italy. Located up the coast half way between Boston and Portland, Maine, Portsmouth, offered Patterson a picturesque subject matter that was much closer to home.
Portsmouth Waterfront looks out over the water toward the bell tower of St. John’s Episcopal Church. The watercolor uses a vertical composition, placing the crisp buildings high in the picture’s format and balancing them with the translucent and freer application of watercolor in the water below. Such a stacking of forms within the picture plane reflects the influence of Patterson’s teacher, Arthur Wesley Dow, a proponent of Japanese aesthetics.
Patterson’s Portsmouth Waterfront is on view in Painting Portsmouth through October 31, 2010. For more information, visit http://strawberybanke.org/paintingportsmouth.html.