Men and the Sea, works by Frank Cardozo Nicholas at Cape Cod Museum of Art

  • DENNIS, Massachusetts
  • /
  • August 08, 2011

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Passing Parade by Frank Cardozo Nicholas


The works of Frank Cardozo Nicholas (1922 – 2003), an accomplished fine artist who spent his last 30 years living and painting on Cape Cod, will be on exhibition in  Men and the Sea, at the Cape Cod Museum of September 10 – November 27. This is the first solo museum exhibit of Nicholas’s work.

Gallery talks by Tracy Nicholas Bledsoe, Nicholas’s daughter, chronicling the artist’s history, background and technique, will be held Thursday, October 6, 1 pm and Sunday, October 23, 2 pm.

Men and the Sea, an exhibition of 30 oil paintings including large works, is a series drawn from the artist’s closely researched Narrative Impressions cycle. Painted between 1955 and 1998, with most works created in the 1980s in his sky-lit West Barnstable studio, the series focuses on the fishermen who sailed the North Atlantic waters from Newfoundland to Long Island in wooden schooners at the turn of the 20th century. Nicholas took advantage of the local Cape seashore to observe, photograph and reflect on the ocean’s tremendous power as well as the interplay of light and water.

“The North Atlantic is and has always been feared and respected for its temperament, treachery and power, and the men who sailed and fished these waters are the emphasis and concentration of this series,” Nicholas stated. “It was the time of the majestic schooner and the dory, so vital to the fishing trade – and I have portrayed the determination, pain and fear of the men who sailed with great skill and courage in the face of an awesome ocean.”

An African American native of Washington D.C., Frank Cardozo Nicholas honed his skill as a commercial artist, working as a freelance illustrator, graphic designer and art director in New York City for more than twenty years. He had been widely published by 1970 when he relocated to Cape Cod, where he eventually accomplished his goal of being a full-time fine artist and began to produce his Narrative Impressions paintings. The works, extensive, highly-researched series in oil and mixed media, focused on the human condition. He developed a fluid style that uniquely wove the classic with the contemporary, conveying a sense of richly layered and dramatic dimensionality. In the 1940s, Cardozo studied at Pratt Institute, the Brooklyn Museum School, the Art Students’ League and the Pennsylvania Museum School of Art.

Select works from Men and the Sea were previously exhibited at Heritage Hall, Hyannis (now the John F. Kennedy Museum); the Cardozo Gallery, West Harwich, MA, the Main Massachusetts House Gallery, Lincolnville, ME and the Tao Water Art Gallery, West Barnstable, MA. The artist was also a prize winner at the Mystic Maritime Gallery’s 1989 Annual International Competition in Mystic, Connecticut; six Men and the Sea works remained on exhibit at the Mystic Maritime Gallery for a year.

Frank Cardozo Nicholas, an early supporter in the founding years of the Cape Cod Museum of Art, is represented in the museum’s permanent collection, as well as in private and corporate collections. His diverse work has been exhibited widely in galleries and art institutions ranging from Maine to Florida. The most recent exhibition of his work, Narrative Impressions: Native American Selections, drawn from another Cape-influenced series, received great public response at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod in September 2009.

The artist’s work is maintained and managed by the Frank Cardozo Nicholas Trust of Marstons Mills; Tracy Nicholas Bledsoe, Trustee.

Cape Cod Museum of Art, the regional art museum of Cape Cod, the Islands and Southeastern Massachusetts, is located off Route 6A, 60 Hope Lane, on the grounds of Cape Cod Center for the Arts, Dennis. Admission: $8, free for ages 18 and younger and museum members. Gallery hours through Columbus Day: Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm; Thursday until 8 pm; and Sunday, noon – 5 pm; closes Mondays after Columbus Day. Information: 508-385-4477 or

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