September 2020 Painting of the Month
by Mary Martha Himler
Acquired in 1942
Recess, the fourth Himler in the collection, is the only one of the works to include people. This painting is full of life as it depicts a scene Miss Himler recalled from her first teaching job. A one-room schoolhouse and its two necessary outbuildings provide the background for a busy group of children, their pets and their teacher. The trees and fence curve toward the figures. Only one child stands alone; the girl in the doorway of the school gazes pensively at the activity in the schoolyard.
August 2020 Painting of the Month
By James R. Beatty
Acquired in 1951
Greywing Manor, owned by the Steele family at the time of this work, still stands in New Alexandria. The artist was interested in the unusual composition of an old apple tree in from of an English-style country home. The house and sky are a pale flat backdrop to the dramatic portrayal of the tree whose arching branches stretch from one side of the work to the other. One limb thrusts forward, giving the illusion of invading the world beyond the painting. The impasto work on the bark is unique; it is so thick that pieces of bark seem to lift from the canvas.
July 2020 Painting of the Month
Maine Fishing Village
By Marjorie Laird
Acquired in 2003
An art seminar in Maine led the artist to discover this little fishing village while sightseeing. The impressionist seascape achieves a sense of stillness and harmony with its play of soft tones in light and shadow. Weather-beaten houses of various pastel colors and fishing shacks scale the hillside leading down to the rocky shore. Exposed pilings of the dock indicate that it is low tide. Several seabirds hover and a sailboat is visible near an offshore island but these are the only signs of movement in this tranquil scene. A little bluebird appears near the artist's signature indicating her hope that the painting will bring happiness to is owner. Marjorie Laird has long loved the sea. She and her husband once lived on a schooner carrying cargo in Central America and then moved to Boston with many visits to Cape Cod.