Destination Maine: Artists' Vacationland

  • August 04, 2009 14:27

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John Marin, Marin Island, Small Point, Maine, 1915, at Alexandre Gallery

Rugged and wild, the coast of Maine has inspired generations of painters to capture its primeval forests and rocky shores in all artistic mediums.

Two idyllic rental cottages in Maine offer vacationers dramatic scenery once enjoyed and painted by renowned American artists John Marin and the family dynasty of N.C., Andrew, and James Wyeth. With a documentary on Marin and a feature film on the Wyeths currently in production, these artist hideouts will soon be in the limelight.

Cape Split is as remote and quiet today as during the 1930s when painter and printmaker John Marin (1870-1953) executed abstract seascapes from his summer hideaway here. This windswept eastern edge of Maine is alternately shrouded in dense fog and bathed in glistening sun, striking a vivid palette of colors so expertly captured by Marin in his signature Maine works.

Where to stay: Superb hiking, breathtaking seaviews, and ocean kayaking along the craggy coast are offered from a Shingle-style cottage a short meander down the lane from Marin’s summerhouse. To inquire about renting this Victorian-inspired two-bedroom, e-mail the Mullin family at

Jamie Wyeth, Ship's Bell, in Heritage Auction Galleries' American Art Auction #5019. Estimate: $50,000 - $70,000.

Rockland boasts the Farnsworth Art Museum and the Wyeth Center devoted to the family who has left an indelible mark on Maine’s art history: N.C., Andrew, and James Wyeth. When Jamie Wyeth purchased artist Rockwell Kent's Lobster Cove home on Monhegan Island, and later moved to Southern island in Tenants Harbor, he produced some of most influential and experimental work. On view this summer at the Farnsworth is his monumental, Maine-inspired series "Seven Deadly Sins."

Where to stay: Between Rockland and Wyeth's island is a waterfront rental cottage in Spruce Head. The Fancher House serves up solitude by the seashore with direct water access and a nearby lobster pound.

From Ogunquit, famously immortalized by impressionist master teacher Charles Woodbury, to Acadia, the perennial muse of painters, such as Frederic Church, Maine is a “Vacationland” with a vast array of art-inspiring locales. Ferries service many of the islands long popular with artists, including Monhegan, Grand Manan, and Vinalhaven.

On view through October 12, “Call of the Coast: Art Colonies of New England” at the Portland Museum of Art provides a compelling snapshot of art hotspots in Maine, and beyond, showcasing works by Edward Hopper, Geroge Bellows, Rockwell Kent, Childe Hassam, and more.

Rockwell Kent's "Wreck of the D.T. Sheridan" is on view at the Portland Museum of Art's "Call of the Coast" exhibition.



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