Eustis Estate

Sunny Morning, Gloucester Harbor

George Wainwright Harvey

Martha Hale Rogers Harvey’s Photographs

The black-and-white photographs made by Martha Hale Rogers Harvey share the spirit of the paintings created by her husband George Harvey. Capturing picturesque aspects of life along the water in Gloucester, the Harveys were at the heart of its Rocky Neck artists’ colony, which still exists on a peninsula in the town’s working harbor. Among the talents who worked there at various times in the nineteenth century were Winslow Homer, Frank Duveneck, and Childe Hassam, yet most of the artists active there are not household names today. The six photographs illustrated here reflect not only Martha Harvey’s gift for atmosphere and composition, but also the diversity of her vision: Some scenes are as formally elegant as her husband George’s painting of a schooner, while others reveal the strenuous labor and primitive conditions endured by Gloucester’s fishermen. Particularly charming are the scene of George Harvey sitting with a cat and the snapshot catching men relaxing on a pier.

Learning to Look

Co-curators Nancy Carlisle and Peter Trippi discussing paintings in the Historic New England conservation lab.

Most of us first look at a painting and see the overall image. We imagine being in the place where the artist was. Has the artist captured the mood of a rainy day in the city? What was the person in this portrait like? But we can also learn something by looking more closely at what’s on the canvas. How has the way the artist applied the paint enhanced the image? How does the composition direct your eye around the scene? How do the choices this artist made relate to those made by another artist?

In the dining room on the ground floor of Eustis Estate hangs another harbor scene, Twilight Seascape, painted by Alfred Thompson Bricher, who was eighteen years older than George Harvey. Although both works date from the 1880s, the older man’s has a more traditional “Luminist” look featuring detailed brushwork and a hazy atmosphere. By contrast, Harvey’s painting features the brighter coloring and looser handling embraced by younger New England artists as Impressionism made its way from France across the Atlantic.

Left: George Wainwright Harvey (1855–1930), Sunny Morning, Gloucester Harbor, late 1880s, oil on canvas, 17 5/8 X 23 5/16 in., Gift of the Stephen Phillips Memorial Charitable Trust for Historic Preservation, 2006.44.670.
Right: Alfred Thompson Bricher, (1837–1908), Twilight Seascape, 1870-1900, oil on canvas, 27 3/4 x 41 ½ in., Museum Purchase, 2016.57.1.

Learn more about the Bricher painting in the section below.

Twilight Seascape

This gorgeous luminous painting is by Alfred Thompson Bricher (1837-1908). Born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and raised in Newburyport, Bricher was largely self-taught. He found early success creating engravings for Louis Prang and illustrations for Harper’s Monthly. But he returned again and again to painting the sea, always capturing the quality of light and featuring distant curves, whether of the coastline, or in this case the sunlit clouds that are intersected by the sail of the boat in the foreground.