Monhegan Island: How It Inspired Me
Earlier this month there was an article in the Portland Press Herald by writer Bob Keyes entitled "Museum Tells the Whole Story of Monhegan Island". It is a great article that gives much insight into this small, Maine island that has inspired so many accomplished artists over the years. It immediately caught my attention because Monhegan has very special meaning in my own journey into the art world.
Monhegan Island has a special distinction and plays a pivotal role in the history of American art. You can't tell the story of American art without mentioning Maine and Monhegan. And, I am very cognizant of the role Maine plays in American art. It is the foundation upon which I choose contemporary artists to represent.
How often do you get to visit a museum, see a painting by a significant American painter and then walk outside and see the locations where the artist painted this amazing work! It has such a unique sense of place.
For me, Monhegan Island has held a very special personal place in my life. I am forever indebted to my best friend from childhood Makena (Ervin) Yarbrough and her parents who had discovered the place and because of my love of art her mother had suggested we go out there for a long weekend. We were staying with her parents on a lake in Monmouth at the time up from the Maryland/DC area.
In the above mentioned article, Keyes writes, Robert Henri who came for the first time in 1903 promptly wrote home to his parents, “I have never seen anything so fine.” Like Henri, I exclaimed to my parents on my first trip in 1991 (some 88 years after Henri), "I have never been to a place as rich with creativity and with such breathtaking views!" I couldn’t think of any other place as magical. And, for heaven’s sake, I had seen the white cliffs of Dover!
That first summer I met my future husband Matt Kallem. His father, Henry Kallem, was a noted NY painter and his mother an editor. Little did I realize at the time, the “Rock” as it’s often called with affection and equal disdain would become a place so significant in my life. I can only describe it as a pearl embedded into my heart. Monhegan Island represented my first marriage, my first and most likely only ocean front house, my professional grounding (having represented or brokered works by Drexler, Fitzgerald, Stone, Hudson, Kent, Stoddard, Hill) and the source of many memories of love, art, beauty, peace and pain and peace and art and love again.
The Monhegan Museum will soon be the stewards of many of Rockwell Kent’s greatest masterpieces thanks to Jamie Wyeth. Wyeth is asking the Museum to raise funds to help care for the works. For information go to https://squareup.com/store/monhegan-museum-2. You can also find out more about the museum and local artists of on Monhegan Museum website HERE.
I also highly recommend reading the PPH article by Bob Keyes. You can find it HERE. Monhgan is such a special place and it is always a treat to see it written about so thoughtfully.