The Coast & the Sea: Marine and Maritime Art in America
May 9-July 12, 2015
Exhibition organized by the New-York Historical Society.
This exhibition features 61 of the most important American marine paintings and artifacts from the New-York Historical Society’s impressive maritime art collection. The works range in date from 1750 to 1904, by eminent marine artists like Thomas Birch, John Frederick Kensett and Charlton T. Chapman. Highlights include large format canvasses of famous sea battles, ships at work, and portraits of heroic sea captains and pioneering merchants, like the aptly named “Preserved Fish of New York.”
There are also maritime themed objects such as an engraved whale’s tooth from the mid-19th century, an octant from 1840, and a silver presentation urn commemorating acts of bravery from the War of 1812.
Features of this exhibit include paintings of major trading posts in and around the Pearl River Delta, including Hong Kong. Some of these paintings were by a group of Chinese artists working in the European style specifically for the export market. There are views of the Hudson River and the great Port of New York, as well as Gilded Age nostalgia for the great age of sail, with its clipper ships and majestic wind-jammers.
The exhibition at the Mattatuck Museum is made possible by the generosity of our sponsors.
Presenting Sponsor: BlumShapiro
The David T. Langrock Foundation
Media Sponsor: Republican-American
Image: Junius Brutus Stearns (1810-85), Fishing in a Catboat in Great South Bay, 1871, oil on canvas. New-York Historical Society, Gift of C. Otto von Kienbusch, 1964.21
The Serious and The Smirk: Portraits from the Permanent Collection
May 31 – July 5, 2015
Portraits have a long history in our young country in establishing class and power by documenting the existence of political and industry leaders and their progeny. Today the ubiquitous "selfie" has shattered the barrier between the "haves" and the "have nots" by making the portrait the property of all.
Drawn from the Museum’s expansive portrait collection spanning the 18th to the 21st century and encompassing a wide variety of media from pencil sketches, pen and ink, oil, pastel, watercolor, and photography to sculpture in a variety of media, director Robert Burns will explore the role of portraiture in American art and the impact of the form in modern life. This exhibition will showcase some of the Waterbury region’s most notable residents with portraits of members from the Whittemore, Chase, Scovill, Prichard, Elton and Welton families, American presidents Washington and Lincoln, as well as "everyday” people. Artists include John Trumbull, J. Alden Weir, George Lawrence Nelson and Kay Sage as well as other less-know but very talented artists.
Image: Artist Unknown, Deacon James Brown (detail), n.d., oil on canvas. Mattatuck Museum; Courtesy of First Church of Waterbury
Fred Otnes: The Mad Conceit of Chance
May 31 - July 12, 2015
Fred Otnes relies on chance – the seemingly random arrangement of disparate elements from unrelated sources – to create his collages. With elements as diverse as appropriations from Renaissance works, sheet music, fabric and flowers, torn paper and paint, Otnes produces paintings of elegant worlds where imagery and surface interact.
Signature Moments: Historic Letters and Documents
April 9 - November 15, 2015
An exhibit of historic signatures from the Museum's archives including letters from Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, P.T. Barnum, J. Edgar Hoover, Alexander Calder, and many others. The collection will be exhibited in the history gallery.
In Search of Charles Island
Milford has been a popular vacation spot for residents of the Naugatuck Valley for over 150 years. Mid-nineteenth century, Waterbury button manufacturer Elizur Prichard owned the island, where he and his daughter, Sarah Prichard ran a hotel resort. Miss Prichard later donated the family’s papers to the Mattatuck Museum. Photographs, ephemera and historical objects tell the colorful story of Charles Island, including the legend of a pirate and buried treasure!
Operating with support from