Cape Ann has long inspired love and sentimentality among the inner romantic in us all.

February 12, 2021

Eleanor Malmi (1914-1998), Rendezvous, undated. Ink on cotton. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA.

Dear Friends,

In advance of Valentine's Day, the Museum is excited to share these inspiring stories of artist couples for whom Cape Ann played a defining role in their work and American art in general.  

May this issue of CAM Connects encourage you to engage with CAM both virtually and in person. Building on recent coverage in The Boston Globe and the Gloucester Daily Times about the Museum’s continuing walking tours this season, please invite a loved one to join you for an outdoor adventure or perhaps sign up for CAM’s next Virtual Lecture Series on Feb. 26.  

Venturing indoors… then make a date with your sweetheart and an appointment to come view the Library's Valentine Collection at the Janet and Willian Ellery James Center and experience the winter beauty of the Cape Ann Museum Green. Alternatively, register here to visit the Museum on Pleasant Street and see why the Karoliks thought Fitz Henry Lane’s work was so wonderful…

CAM is here for you and we look forward to seeing you soon!

Oliver Barker, Director

Valentine’s Day

With its gorgeous beaches, quaint fish shacks, and breathtaking sunsets, Cape Ann can often inspire one's inner romantic. Poets have written, artists have painted, and relationships have flowered under the influence of our area's natural beauty. During his second visit to Cape Ann in 1923, Edward Hopper courted his future wife, the young artist Josephine Nivison. In 1924 Milton Avery met art student Sally Michel in Gloucester, and the two married soon after. It was also in Gloucester that poet Gerrit Lansing fell in love with his partner of almost 35 years, sailor and yacht captain Deryk Burton. 

With the spirit of love that is shared during the Valentine’s Day season, in this issue of CAM Connects we look at some historical valentines from the Museum’s collection, explore how artist couples have influenced one another’s work, and learn about a unique art collecting couple.

Boxes o’ Love

The CAM Archives boast a rich collection of cards dating from 1849-1910. Valentines, which constitute the largest part of the collection, are joined by Christmas and Birthday cards, bookmarks, and place cards. Perhaps the most interesting are the cards that aren’t cards at all.

During this period, some apparently felt that a two-dimensional card just wasn’t enough to hold all of their affection, so they leveled up with Valentine’s Day Boxes. These intricate, collaged boxes were made with found materials including lace, photographs, cut outs, and more. With so many of us still stuck at home and, let's be honest, doing a fair bit of online ordering that arrives in boxes, the CAM staff thought it was the perfect time to let our love notes go a little deeper.

Shadow Boxes from Archival Collection AL01: Valentine Collection from the CAM Library & Archives, Gloucester, MA.

This Valentine’s Day, we encourage you to join us by grabbing an old box and filling it with love. Write a poem, cut out a heart, or do a little drawing and set it out for yourself or those you live with as a bit of sculptural joy during the coldest month of the year. Don’t forget to share your pictures on social media and tag us at @CapeAnnMuseum!

Sailors' Valentines

Unattributed, Sailors' Valentine, 1800-1840. Shell and glass on wood. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA. Gift of E. Hyde Cox, 1979. [Acc#2187.6].

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then perhaps it also makes the tokens of love more elaborate! Sailors' valentines, traditionally set with hundreds of tiny colorful shells glued to a cloth and cotton backing inside a hinged octagonal framework, were formerly perceived by some to be the handiwork of bored and lonely sailors, whiling away the hours aboard their ships as they pined for their loved ones. Although a romantic image, these exquisitely crafted souvenirs that often feature the shapes of flowers, hearts, and maritime objects, were more likely the work of a resident of an island port specifically for sale to visiting sailors. Many sailor’s valentines have been traced back to a curiosities shop in Barbados. This mid-19th century valentine, on display in the Museum’s Captain Elias Davis House, came to the Cape Ann Museum collection from the family of Captain Oliver G. Lane of Annisquam.

Artist Couples

History has shown that it is not unusual for two artists (or appreciators of art) to fall in love. A fair share of artist couples have either passed through Cape Ann, or called it home. Included on the list are Virginia Lee Burton and George Demetrios, Edward Hopper and Josephine Nivison Hopper, Alice Beach Winter and Charles Allan Winter, Bernard Chaet and Ninon Lacey, Judith and Gordon Goetemann, Martha Hale Harvey and George Wainwright Harvey, and finally Theresa Bernstein and William Meyerowitz, who may hold the record for the longest tenured love story among Cape Ann’s artist couples.

Bernstein & Meyerowitz

Comparison of Bernstein & Meyerowitz's Works
Video still from Comparison of Bernstein & Meyerowitz’s Works. Featuring (left) William Meyerowitz (1887-1981), Crow Village, c. 1922. Oil on canvas. Gift of Walter Manninen, 2010. Donated in memory of George (Moe) Manninen and Jean (Sheaves) Manninen [Acc. #2010.29]; and (right) Theresa Bernstein (1890-2002), Swordfishermen, 1927. Oil on canvas. Gift of the artist, 1986 [Acc. #2526.1]. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA.

Martha Hale Harvey & George Harvey

Martha Hale Rogers and George Wainwright Harvey were married in Gloucester in 1884. Over the next half a century, they shared life together in their Annisquam home and worked side by side as artists in adjoining studios on River Road. Martha specialized in photography, working at a time when glass plate negatives (some as large as 8 x 10” in size) were standard operating equipment—and women photographers were the exception. George's media included etchings, watercolors, and oils; he often used Martha's photographs as the basis of his compositions. History tells us that the pair had a truly collaborative relationship with each artist sharing their work with the other and building on their individual talents. Examples of the collaborative spirit that existed between the Harveys can be readily found in CAM's archives. 

Model of the Schooner Manchester, used by George W. Harvey in several paintings. Photograph by Martha Hale Harvey, c. 1890s. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum, Library & Archives, Gloucester, MA.

George Wainwright Harvey (1855-1930), Storm at Sea, 1890s. Photography by Martha Hale Harvey. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, MA.

Here we have a photograph that Martha took of a model of the fishing schooner Manchester set up in George’s Annisquam studio, posed to look as though it was pitching in heavy seas. Alongside that image is a second one (also taken by Martha) showing an oil painting George did from his wife’s photo.

Independent Christian Church, from Middle Street. Photograph by Martha Hale Harvey, c. 1900. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, MA.

George W. Harvey (1855-1930), Universalist Church, Gloucester, 1920. Etching on paper. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA. Gift of Mrs. James Pringle, 1949 [Acc #1358.3].

A second pairing shows a photo Martha took of the façade of the Universalist Church on Middle Street in Gloucester, and the etching George created from it.  Numerous other examples exist in CAM’s archives and tell us that the Harveys (who made their livings as artists) worked together frequently and successfully; the duration of their marriage – nearly 50 years—also tells us that this artistic arrangement was pleasing to both.

Click here to learn more about Martha Hale Harvey

Martha and Maxim Karolik

VL05 - Fitz Henry Lane and Maxim and Martha Karolik - A Tale of Two Love Stories with Carol Troyen - 07-19-2007
Video still from VL05, Fitz Henry Lane & Maxim and Martha Karolik: A Tale of Two Love Stories, 7/19/2007. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, MA. (Click here for a transcript of the lecture)

“He sang, she swooned, and shortly after they were married.”

This succinct summary comes from a talk by Carol Troyen, Curator Emerita of American Paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, on the prolific art collectors Martha and Maxim Karolik given at the Cape Ann Museum in 2007. When the Karolik's gifted their collection of American fine and decorative art to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, over a series of decades beginning in the 1930s, they raised awareness that these artists, including Fitz Henry Lane, had historical merit. Perhaps not coincidentally, it was soon after their donating began that Alfred Mansfield Brooks (former President of the Cape Ann Museum) began to assemble the large body of Lane's work that would establish CAM as the primary repository for his art.

The Karoliks met in 1927 when Maxim Karolik (1893-1963), an opera singer, performed at one of Martha Codman’s (1858-1948) dinner parties. Martha was 70 at the time and one of the richest women in Boston. Maxim, a recent emigree from Russia, was 35. The difference in their ages and social status meant that their marriage was viewed as “an outrageous prank of cupid,” as one biographer recalled.

Despite the scandal, the Karolik's commitment to each other and to their art collections made a significant impact on American Art. Together, they created three collections of over 2,000 objects and raised notable American painters including Fitz Henry Lane, Martin Johnson Heade, Frederic Church, and Thomas Cole into prominence.