Evening light with radiating orange and red tones in the sky illuminates the world and this wonderful painting by Mary Blood Mellen of Ten Pound Island and Lighthouse within Gloucester Harbor. The Massachusetts shore is in view across the waterway while a two-masted coastal yawl works what little wind there is to make her way. Two other mariners have decided to employ their oars on their small sloop.
Mellen has rightly come into her own appreciation out of the enormous artistic shadow of Fitz Henry Lane. Gloucester locations are her featured specialty, with Ten Pound Island being a favored locale, not only of hers, but of Lane’s and Winslow Homer’s. The best of these works present just what this one has in abundance, an evening sunset full of luminous glow, serene water huhand a slice of the constant effort of the mariners. A New England lobster trap floats in the water as well.
This specific work, although unsigned as are the majority of her paintings, is widely published as one of the most iconic representations of Mellen’s artwork, after years of its location being unknown to the public in general. She remains an influential piece of the emergence of American Luminism.
Illustrated: Fitz Henry Lane & Mary Blood Mellen, Old Mysteries and New Discoveries by John Wilmerding, 2007. Page 73.
Provenance: “General” Charles Taylor, Publisher of the Boston Globe, 1873-1921; by descent through his family; Vose Gallery Label Verso.
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