A Gloucester sculptor’s idyllic home, nestled between two quarries in the woods, has become a fountainhead of artistic inspiration that will be unveiled at a two-part exhibition at the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy.
The show, titled “From Starfield to MARS: Paul Manship and his Artistic Legacy,” opens this Saturday and runs through Jan. 20. Starfield is the name of the 15-acre Gloucester estate purchased by Manship in 1944.
Manship, who died in 1966 at age 80, was probably best known for the towering gilded Prometheus fountain at New York City’s Rockefeller Center. But he was also among the countless artists who were drawn to Cape Ann’s scenic shores and working waterfront for centuries.
The exhibit is organized into two sections. One is titled “Art Deco at Andover” because many of Manship’s works were in the art deco style and because it features Manship’s works from the Addison collection.
Those pieces include the bronze sculptures “Diana,” “Actaeon,” “Young Indian Hunter” and “Flight of Night,” among other objects, letters and sketches recently uncovered at the Manship property.
The second section is titled “Starfield Through Contemporary Lenses” and features the work of four award-winning photographers who were the inaugural artists-in-residence at the Manship property. Their photographic explorations will be unveiled in individual galleries dedicated to each artist.
This exhibit is a collaboration between the Addison Gallery and the Manship Artists Residency + Studios, a new nonprofit dedicated to preserving the long-standing cultural heritage of Cape Ann.
The fledgling MARS is in the process of renovating the property to offer ongoing residency and studio programs for artists from near and far. The new show in part celebrates the first class of artists in residence, though they did not stay on-site. However, they spent a year visiting the property and witnessing its transformation. The house and studio brimmed with artifacts while the nearby wilderness and night sky changed with the seasons.
Allison Kemmerer, Addison’s Mead curator of photography and senior curator of contemporary art, said that the collaboration between the gallery and MARS is a natural for several reasons.
“The first is our shared connection to Paul Manship, one of the most significant sculptors of the 20th century and an individual whose connection to the Addison can be traced back prior to the museum’s founding,” she said. “The second is our shared commitment to living artists. The Addison has a thriving and dynamic artist-in-residence program, and we are honored to support MARS as they embark on establishing one of their own. I cannot think of a better way to launch this endeavor than our shared support of the featured artists.”
The four selected artists are photographers Barbara Bosworth, Justin Kimball, S. Billie Mandle and Abelardo Morell.
“Their exciting new works not only reflect four unique perspectives and aesthetic approaches to the interpretation of Manship’s home, but also the deep creativity that Cape Ann inspires,” Kemmerer said.
MARS board member Mags Harries, who serves on the faculty at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, envisioned this idea of a collaboration with the Addison Gallery.
“In the beginning stages, every closet (at the Manship house) was full. It was an amazing record of life being spent there,” Harries said. “I could imagine the possibilities of having photographers there to explore.”
Manship’s passion for the arts began when he was a child growing up in the Midwest.
He first studied at the St. Paul School of Art in Minnesota, then the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Art Students League of New York. In 1909, he won a scholarship to study at the American Academy in Rome.
The experience from those three years in Italy and traveling, in which he immersed himself into the study of the ancient world, made a lasting impact on his own artwork. When Manship returned to the United States, his work was in great demand.
He established his primary residence and studio in New York City, with frequent trips abroad for work and pleasure, said Rebecca Reynolds, president of MARS.
“However, once his good friend, the painter Leon Kroll, suggested that he bring his family to Cape Ann for the summer, Lanesville became his favorite escape to enjoy the simple pleasures of country living,” Reynolds said.
The Gloucester village of Lanesville served as a magnet for many 20th-century sculptors, including George Demetrios, Charles Grafly and Walker Hancock. Many of the sculptors kept a studio in the Lanesville area, noted for its granite-strewn landscape and location, which lies adjacent to the woods bordering the untamed interior called Dogtown.
In 2006, Cape Ann’s influence on 20th-century sculpture was showcased at a New York City gallery, which curated “Paul Manship: Manship and his Circle,” featuring 18 sculptors, nine of which had ties to the rocky island of Cape Ann.
Judith Dolkart, director of the Addison Gallery, applauds the efforts that went into this new exhibit.
“It is an honor to collaborate with the Manship Artists Residency + Studios as they embark on an important initiative to revitalize Paul Manship’s summer home and studio,” she said. “Our shared commitment to supporting living artists, as well as Manship’s important connection to the founding of the Addison, makes this a fitting partnership that will illuminate an important American sculptor.”
The founder of Addison Gallery, Thomas Cochran, a fervent patron of Manship, donated many of the artist’s works to the gallery. The gallery’s collection includes 12 works, among them the marble fountain, “Venus Anadyomene,” in the rotunda. Phillips Academy also commissioned Manship to design the armillary sphere that stands at the library entrance, as well as an award medal.
Reynolds said that she is eager to share the artistic wealth of Cape Ann.
“We are thrilled to inaugurate our artists-in-residence program with the debut of this exhibition, which illustrates the endless potential of this important cultural site to inspire creativity,” she said. “As stewards of Paul Manship’s estate, we look forward to breathing new life into this site and reviving its legacy as an artistic hub.”
If you go
What: “From Starfield to MARS: Paul Manship and his Artistic Legacy”
When: Sept. 15 through Jan. 20. Gallery hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. Open until 9 p.m. on Wednesdays when school is in session.
Where: Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, 180 Main St. Andover
How much: Free
More information: 978-749-4015 or www.addisongallery.org
Sunday, Sept. 30
Galley Talk: “Paul Manship and his Artistic Legacy,” 2 p.m. MARS President Rebecca Reynolds and the Addison Gallery’s Susan Faxon will discuss the work of Manship, his influential presence in Gloucester and his connection to the Addison.
Sunday, Oct. 28
Artist Talk: “Starfield Through Contemporary Lenses,” 2 p.m. MARS artists-in-residence Barbara Bosworth and S. Billie Mandle will discuss their work and their experiences exploring the Manship estate.
Sunday, Dec. 2
Artist Talk: “Starfield Through Contemporary Lenses,” 2 p.m. MARS artists-in-residence Justin Kimball and Abelardo Morell will discuss their work and their experiences exploring the Manship estate.