The first ever comprehensive exhibition focusing on 19th century American artist Fitz Henry Lane (1804–1865) as a printmaker. Georgia Barnhill, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Graphic Arts Emeritus at the America Antiquarian Society in Worcester, MA, is serving as guest curator of the exhibition. The exhibition and the exhibition catalog are being organized in connection with Fitz Henry Lane Online, a catalogue raisonné and resource tool created by the Cape Ann Museum.
Fitz Henry Lane has long been recognized as one of America’s most important marine painters of the mid-19th century and examples of his works in oil from the 1840s through the early 1860s are featured in major art museums across the country. Lane’s success as a printmaker, however, is something that is not widely recognized. With this exhibition, the Museum will investigate this important part of Lane’s career, exploring the intersection of his work in oil and in print and his success at creating illustrations for sheet music, business cards and stationery, advertising materials and book illustrations. The exhibition will also spotlight a series of views Lane created of towns and cities throughout the region including Gloucester, Boston, Norwich, Connecticut, Castine, Maine, and Baltimore. In total, Lane is thought to have had a hand in the production of approximately 65 lithographs and perhaps more. It was a medium which he worked in throughout his career, from his early days as an apprentice at the Pendleton Shop in Boston through to the end of his life when he created lithographs which mirrored his work in oil.
Programming related to this special exhibition will explore Fitz Henry Lane’s life and career in detail and also against the backdrop of 19th century printmaking culture in America. A symposium has been planned for October 27 and 28 at which scholars currently working in fields related to printmaking will present their work to the public. John Wilmerding, retired curator, deputy director, trustee and chairman of the National Gallery of Art and one of this nation’s leading scholars in American art, will be the keynote speaker at the symposium. A call for papers was put out by the Museum on January 23, 2017, inviting scholars, independent researchers, artists and graduate students from a wide range of field related to printmaking to submit proposal papers. The deadline for submission is April 1, 2017. Further information on this symposium can be downloaded here.
Image: Fitz Henry Lane, View of Norwich, from the West Side of the River [detail], 1849. Colored lithograph on paper. Gift of Edward L. Stone, 1972. A Wendy Shadwell Bequest in the year 2017 from the American Historical Print Collectors Society provided funding for the conservation of this print [Acc. #2067].