Monday, October 15, 2012

Day 36/60: Rockport, Farnesworth

The many windows of our second-floor room have a pretty view of a scruffy patch of woods and a shallow creek. The weather was gray and misty. The brook babbled at different pitches from different distances, like a Doppler effect. Dan worked on his photos for a long time.

We got to the Farnesworth Museum of Art about 11:30. Absolutely no food service.

Façade of Farnesworth, formerly a department store
Dan's photo
The reason you go to the Farnesworth is to see the work of the Wyeth family. I have previously mentioned N.C., the father, who is considered an illustrator, and his more famous son Andrew, who was a painter, gloomy and profound. Just about everyone in the Wyeth family painted or took up some art form, but the one in the current generation to achieve the most fame is Jamie Wyeth. The museum has works by all three. I was particularly impressed by N.C.'s 'art paintings,' just regular landscapes with no illustrative intent. He could have been competitive as a 'real' artist, but he had 5 sons to support. It was good to see a wider variety of Andrew's work, and remember that he did have some moods that were almost light-hearted. Jamie is hard to relate to, but occasionally he hits the mark. Their work was shown in the main museum, and also in a separate building, formerly a church, that has been converted to the Wyeth Center. One group of paintings included works by Rockwell Kent, another painter who sometimes worked in Maine; his harshly beautiful coast scenes are always a pleasure. Photos were not allowed of any of this.

Camden Mountains from the South Entrance to the Harbor by Fitz Henry Lane, 1859 
The Teamster by george Bellows, 1916
Lady in a Red Dress with Cigarette by Charles Dana Gibson, 1939
Monhegan Island by Jan Marinus Domela, 1939
Turkey Pond by Andrew Wyeth, 1944
Her Room by Andrew Wyeth
Their big special exhibit was Frank Benson, a local artist who made good. Benson's work is delightful, all sunshine, children playing, and women with pure hearts. He did some compelling works, but it is better to see them one or two at a time.

Calm Morning by Frank Benson, 1904
For lunch we went out onto Main Street where there were a few restaurants within easy walking distance. The one recommended by the museum staff was packed, so we went across the street to a grille with few customers. Dan's shrimp and mussel stew as too spicy and thick with rice and potatoes. My chicken salad was pretty good; fresh-roasted chicken.

Rock Café
Dan's photo
It was still gray and misty at the end of the day. We drove around trying to figure out how to get out of town tomorrow. Good thing, too, because the route recommended by iPad was on unmarked country roads; interesting ride. Dan studied the map and found a simple way back to the highway. He is concerned because we have a long, mountainous drive to Burlington, Vermont.

For dinner we went back to the Offshore Restaurant. We both had broiled flounder. Dan declared disdainfully that it had been frozen, but he finished off his and half of mine; it seemed a little bitter to me. For dessert we shared a piece of exceptionally fine apple pie, really.

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