The Legacy announces a transition in the composition of its leadership positions. Gail R. Scott, who has worked with us as Fitzgerald Legacy Art Historian and Catalogue Raisonné Art Historian since 2009, has left our ranks. Gail has been asked to contribute to a book for a major Marsden Hartley exhibition. While we are very happy for Gail that she has been afforded this opportunity, we are nonetheless sad to lose her collaboration and expertise. We all wish her the very best success and thank her for her many contributions over the years.
The Legacy is extremely pleased to announce that Susan Danly will be joining our ranks. Susan is a specialist in American Art and the history of photography, holding PhD and MA degrees from Brown University. She has over 30 years of experience as a curator, most recently have served as Chief Curator at the Portland Museum of Art. Susan has a long connection to Monhegan, and has worked closely with the Monhegan Museum on several recent annual exhibitions. She is joining our group as Curatorial Consultant.
We are extremely excited to be working with Susan, and look forward to adding her expertise to our group. Please visit the Contact page to read her biography.
Nude – watercolor on paper
The James Fitzgerald Legacy is very excited to announce that Lois Macuga, a painter from Queechee Vermont, has gifted to the Legacy a wonderful watercolor of Fitzgerald’s wife Pegs. The painting, entitled “Nude”, shows the dancer drying herself after a bath, with one leg lifted on a wooden chair. The setting of the painting is special, as it is one of only a few paintings known to have been completed showing the interior of the house/studio that Fitzgerald built in Monterey, California in the early 1930s. We are extremely grateful to Lois Macula for gifting this wonderful watercolor, which will be on view in the Fitzgerald studio on Monhegan during the 2015 season.
In late 2012, Gail Scott, Legacy Art Historian, and Robert Stahl visited the home of George and Diana Schnake. George and Diana were close friends of the Huberts, and have long been major Fitzgerald enthusiasts and supporters. In 1990 – 1992, the Schnakes visited the Huberts in Dover, MA on several occasions and made recordings of their conversations. These oral history tapes encompass several hours, and have now been digitized at the University of Maine. We are in the process of having them keyworded and transcribed. In addition to the wonder of being able to hear the voices of Anne and Ed again, these tapes provide detailed insight into the working of the Huberts as they managed the Fitzgerald estate.
We are sad to report that George Schnake passed away on February 13, 2014, at his home on Bailey Island. Our sympathies go out to Diana in her time of loss.
The James Fitzgerald Legacy has received gifts of five important paintings from two estates. These works are particularly extraordinary as they come from individuals who were personal friends of the artist. Dr. & Mrs. William & Betty McNeely were friends of Fitzgerald in Boston and Monhegan. Dr. McNeely was an editor of the New England Journal of Medicine and a physician at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital, where he and his wife compiled the weekly Clinical Pathologic Conferences (CPCs). The gift was announced by their daughter, Dr. Sarah K. Weinberg, who wrote: “This gift is in honor of the memories of Dr. William F. and Betty U. McNeely, who were friends of Mr. Fitzgerald during the last decade of his life. They proudly exhibited 12 of his works in their Boston home. Six of them remain with family members, but we all know about the Monhegan Museum and its collection.” Among the works included in this gift is the striking watercolor “September, Monhegan” which was exhibited at the Fitzgerald Studio this past summer. It can also be seen on the Legacy Collection page on this website.
Another gift came from the estate of Mrs. Inger Friis, who passed away in late 2012 at the age of 102. She and her husband Harold had a summer home at Indian Harbor, N.S. and became friends of Fitzgerald in the 1940s and 1950s when he traveled to Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia. The watercolor is a beautiful seascape entitled “Ocean Waves” and was exhibited at the Fitzgerald Studio this past summer.
The James Fitzgerald Legacy is extremely grateful for these gifts, particularly as they add to our knowledge of the work that Fitzgerald sold during his lifetime.
Aran Rowers – oil on canvas
Thanks to an anonymous donor, the Fitzgerald Legacy has been able to acquire one of the artist’s last paintings, an oil on canvas of The Aran Island Rowers. Fitzgerald was visiting the Aran Islands when he died suddenly in 1971. He had planned to complete a major composition of these fishermen who brave the North Atlantic off the coast of these remote Irish islands, and this particular painting is likely a preliminary for that never completed work. Indeed, when Fitzgerald left his Monhegan studio in 1971 for his final voyage to Ireland, he left behind a large canvas already stretched within a silver-leaf gilded frame on which he had planned to complete a large oil painting of these Aran Rowers. Studies for this composition, donated by the Huberts to SUNY Plattsburgh in 1991, are visible on their website (see: www.plattsburg.edu). This small oil painting was part of a collection of five works owned by Dr. Robert Scully, a physician at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital, who passed away in early 2012. Dr. Scully, a world renowned authority on the Pathology of Gynecologic malignancies, was a friend of Fitzgerald, and purchased this work form him in the late 1960s.
This sketch for Torchin’ was among the artist’s preliminary
works found in his studio at the time of his death in 1971.
A 2-hour oral history has been obtained from Sherman and Barbara Stanley who described their recollections of their friend, James Fitzgerald. These memories date back to Fitzgerald’s early days on Monhegan in the late 1930’s, and included both personal stories of the artist’s friendship and humor, as well as invaluable descriptions of his creative process. Captain Stanley recalled the nights he and his brother Alfred, both renowned Monhegan lobstermen, moored their dory in the Monhegan harbor and torched for herring while Fitzgerald watched from above on the porch of the Influence, the 1826 Trefethren house that overlooks the harbor. A large oil painting entitled Torchin’ is part of the permanent collection of the Farnsworth Art Museum.
Ocean Tumult at Pulpit Rock
21″ x 28 1/2″
The following press release issued by MARC was picked up by the Bangor Daily News, the Knox Village Soup, and The Free Press. A large and interested crowd filled the Monhegan Schoolhouse to hear this presentation.
MONHEGAN – Gail Scott and Robert Stahl will present a slide talk on the James Fitzgerald Legacy Project at the Monhegan School House on Sunday, August 12, at 7:00 p.m. The talk is a benefit for the Monhegan Artists’ Residency (MARC).
In 2004, longtime Monhegan Island summer resident Anne M. Hubert bequeathed to the Monhegan Museum the estate of painter James Fitzgerald (1889-1971), including all his art work (drawings, sketches, watercolors, oils) and his house and studio (both of which had been designed and built by Rockwell Kent and eventually acquired by Fitzgerald). The James Fitzgerald Legacy Project promotes, documents and maintains Fitzgerald’s estate, including artwork and historic buildings.
James Fitzgerald, Black Head, ca. 1954
Graphite & watercolor on paper, 31″ x 23″
Stahl is associate director of the Monhegan Museum and director of the Fitzgerald Legacy. Art historian and author Scott joined the Legacy committee in 2009 and is currently researching, visiting collections, and assessing Fitzgerald’s large body of work.
The talk will focus on Fitzgerald’s art and the history of Anne and Edgar Hubert’s patronage and support. The Huberts first met the painter in 1958 and purchased many works by him over the years. Stahl and Scott will also outline efforts of the Legacy to bring wider public attention to Fitzgerald’s art, life and contribution to American modernism.