Farnsworth Art Museum
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The Farnsworth Art Museum houses a nationally-recognized collection of American art in its 20,000 square feet of gallery space. The museum highlights the works of artists with associations to Maine and who have gained national attention for their artistry.
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The Farnsworth Art Museum is nationally known for its large collection of Wyeth family paintings in the new Wyeth Center. The museum highlights works of art from American artists primarily from the late 18th to 20th century.
Farnsworth Art Museum - a nationally-recognized art museum in the heart of Rockland Maine
One of our favorite local attractions, the Farnsworth Art Museum has been a point of pride to the community of Rockland, Maine. It houses a nationally-recognized collection of American art in its 20,000 square feet of gallery space. The museum highlights the works of artists with associations to Maine and who have gained national attention for their artistry. The museum features some of the best works of American artists of the 18th and 19th century including Gilbert Stuart, Maurice Prendergast, Frank Benson, Eastman Johnson, Thomas Sully, Thomas Eakins, Childe Hassam, and Fitz Henry Lane. All of this artwork is in the permanent collection of the Farnsworth Art Museum so that you can see them all year round.
The Farnsworth Art Museum is also the host of the nation's second largest collection of work by elite sculptor, Louise Nevelson, and has created and opened four new galleries dedicated solely to contemporary art.
When you visit the Farnsworth Art Museum, do not forget about the Farnsworth Art Museum Library located on the Rockland main campus. There are also two additional historic buildings that complete the complex, the Farnsworth Homestead and the Olson House.
Farnsworth Art Museum - two historic homes open for public viewing
The Farnsworth Homestead was built in 1850 and was the home of the museum's benefactor, Lucy Farnsworth. The Farnsworth Homestead is located adjacent to the entrance of the Museum in Rockland. Lucy Farnsworth was the daughter of Rockland’s most successful businessman and in 1935, at her death, she bequeathed 1.3 million dollars to be used for the museum’s creation.
The interior of the Farnsworth Homestead house is a refection of the beauty of a high Victorian style, while the exterior reflects the Greek Revival style. This structure has remained almost entirely intact and unaltered, however several electrical and plumbing changes have been made for safety reasons. The Farnsworth Homestead was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
The Olson House located in Cushing, Maine (pictured here to the left) has been the subject of many works of art by Andrew Wyeth including his most famous painting Christina's World in 1948. The house was originally built in 1743, however several enlargements and additions were made to the home until 1871. The museum maintains the home’s original furnishings and it is open for public viewing. In 1993, the Olson House was also added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The Wyeth Center - celebrating "America's first family of art"
A highlight of the Farnsworth Art Museum is the Wyeth Center. It exclusively features pieces of work from three generations of the Wyeth family: N.C (Newell Convers) Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, and Jamie (James Browning) Wyeth, who are collectively known for being “America's first family of art”. The Wyeth Center consists of several components and has a dedicated program of collecting, research, and interpretive exhibitions.
N.C Wyeth was one of America’s greatest illustrators who illustrated for 112 books, including Robinson Crusoe and Treasure Island. He also produced more than 3,000 realist paintings in his lifetime. His son, Andrew Wyeth, was also a realist painter, referred to as a “Painter of the People”. One of Andrew Wyeth’s most famous works is Christina’s World (1948), depicting his neighbor Christina Olson. Jamie Wyeth is Andrew’s second son, also a realist painter. He prefers oil as his medium while his father worked mostly with watercolor and tempera. Jamie’s posthumous portrait of John F. Kennedy is one of his most famous images.
Exhibits of James Wyeth and N.C. Wyeth are primarily held in the “church building” which is a former Methodist Church which dates back to the late 19th century. You can also see additional works in the downstairs of the Linda Bean Folkers Gallery and the upstairs of the Marylouise Tandy Cowan Gallery.
A beautiful Victorian house which lies across from the church on Grace Street includes a separate research facility that is devoted almost entirely to James Wyeth. This is also a great place to find basic information and reference materials related to all three generations of the Maine artists.
Every minute spent at the Farnsworth Art Museum is a minute well spent. It is a unique opportunity to see excellent art as well as some amazing architecture. For more information about the Farnsworth Art Museum, please visit their website at farnsworthmuseum.org