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The Smithsonian Makes a Mission to MARS
For three days this winter, Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) Conservation Fellow Dorothy Cheng came to the Manship Artists Residency + Studios (MARS) to flesh out what is known about how Paul Manship worked and what he was like as a person. Although Manship bequeathed one of the largest collections of his work to the Smithsonian, Cheng and her colleagues believed there was more to learn about him from a visit to his home and studio.
“I really wanted to immerse myself in information that I couldn’t get from just being in the conservation lab and reading articles about him…I wanted to get a clearer picture of who he was as an artist and of his working process. I wanted to look at everything…to get my hands on more primary source material.”
Art conservators are detectives. They scrutinize objects carefully and document their findings in writing and in photographs. Their goal is to stabilize the condition of the works they see while preserving the intent of the maker. Dorothy Cheng is a metals expert. She employs sophisticated technology to identify the materials used in making or finishing works like Manship’s bronzes. X-ray fluorescence identifies the elements that make up metal objects and reveals the components of patinas. X-rays expose the internal structures that support sculptures. Cheng used these techniques and others to “get inside” his fabrication processes.
Manship was a well-trained sculptor. He was skilled in casting plaster and formulating patinas as well as in drawing and modeling his pieces. In the Lanesville archives, Cheng found letters from Bruno Bearzi, a major Italian bronze founder praising his abilities. Most of his contemporaries relied on the highly skilled artisans at the foundries to cast and patina their work. In contrast, Manship appears to have been particularly involved in the making and finishing of his bronzes, even recording recipes of patinas that he liked in his journals. Cheng found that he often mixed and applied the patinas to a number of small works that were cast directly from quick “sketches” that he made in wax. His letters also reveal that he took pains to be sure that his work was crafted to last for generations.
“Nothing in excess, not even moderation,” reads a Latin quote in one of Manship’s journals from 1933. Beneath it is another Latin aphorism, “Outwardly conforming, inwardly free.” Finding these journal entries revealed to Dorothy a side of his personality not found in scholarly articles. Cheng describes the discovery of this side of Manship as the “aha!” moment of her stay. Some other special finds are the small bronze cherubs which Cheng is seen photographing here. These latter figures once adorned the balcony that overlooked the dining room of his New York home. They are doing the Charleston!
Manship incorporated several elements from his New York residence into the plan for his Lanesville property, which was designed for pleasure as well as work. The place reveals his playfulness. Here, in the house and on the grounds, he hosted parties and musical soirees and invited friends and neighbors to them. Coming to Lanesville was about work, but it was also about escaping from the pressures of city life, about being in community with other artists and about being able to enjoy “Nothing in excess, not even moderation.”
- Patty Rosenblatt, Special Advisor to MARS
Link to full interview Photo credits: Jo-Ann Castano
From the Gloucester Daily Times, January 2, 2018
ROCKPORT — A local dance venue has announced plans for the some plans for the new year as it seeks support for its programs.
"We have exciting plans for this next summer of 2018," said Lisa Hahn, executive director of the Windhover Center for the Performing Arts, in an email. Hahn's mother, the late dancer and choreographer Ina Hahn, founded Windhover in Rockport with her husband.
Windhover, 257 Granite St., will host the return to Cape Ann of the Paul Taylor 2 Dance Company, Hahn said. This will be a third summer residency in Rockport for Taylor 2, the Paul Taylor Dance Company's "chamber sized" touring company. Paul Taylor is the last living legend of a generation of American pioneers who invented modern dance one bare foot leap, lunge and levitation at a time.
"The entire Taylor 2 company will be in residence to perform Taylor repertory, teach master classes, and engage in some community-based programs such as open rehearsals and exchanges of ideas about dance in today’s world," Hahn said.
Also returning to Windhover will be the Dušan Týnek Dance Theatre, which will teach a week-long dance intensive for teenagers in July. This will be followed by the troupe's free public performance in Quarry Dance 7 at the Manship Quarry in the Lanesville section of Gloucester. Paul Manship was a 19th century American sculptor who settled on Cape Ann and purchased a home and studio on the site of two quarries in Lanesville. This 15-acre site is a non-profit retreat for artists, and Dušan Týnek's Quarry Dance 7 will highlight the terraces and grounds, the historic barn, granite garden and the twin quarries.
"Parking has been arranged at the Lanesville Community Center nearby, so the quarry dance plans are in place quite early this year," Hahn said.
Link to article.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS - July 27, 28, and 29.
Culture leaders stopping in city
Economic opportunities, grant offers focus of visit
- By Ray Lamont Staff Writer, Gloucester Times, Nov 24, 2017
A tour of Massachusetts cultural hubs involving state and local cultural officials and lawmakers will stop in Gloucester on Monday.
The group plans to make artists, schools and organizations aware of potential new grant funding, and to outline the state’s latest initiatives to convert cultural resources into economic development dollars.
Anita Walker, executive director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, is expected to be joined by other MCC members and by state Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, both of Gloucester, said Jo-Ann Castano, board vice president of Gloucester’s nonprofit Manship Artists Residency and Studios. The program is set for 10 a.m. Monday at the Rocky Neck Cultural Center at 6 Wonson St.
Karen Ristuben, president of the host Rocky Neck Art Colony and Rocky Neck Cultural District will also participate in the event, which is free to the public. The Rocky Neck district is one of two within the city and one of the first to gain the cultural district designation when the state launched the program in 2010. The list of 43 cultural districts now recognized across the state includes the Harbortown District that covers much of downtown Gloucester, the Rockport Cultural District — also recognized in the first wave in 2010 — and the Essex River Cultural District, which gained its designation in 2011.
“I think it’s wonderful that they’re coming to Gloucester,” said Castano, whose organization purchased the Lanesville property once held by noted sculptor Paul Manship to restore and utilize as a residence for artists. The property, at 10 Leverett St. adjacent to a pair of quarries, was secured through a $207,000 facilities matching grant from the cultural council. Manship Artists Residency and Studios closed on the deal with a Manship family trust earlier this fall.
“They have always been dedicated to supporting Gloucester and all of the initiatives going on here,” Castano said of the cultural council, “and they clearly appreciate all we have to offer. I’ll be excited to see what initiatives they want to look at now and in the future.”
An iconic Cape Ann treasure returns to Gloucester
Folly Cove Designer's
acquired by MARS!
Local school kids studying the Folly Cove Designers will have a chance to create work on the press with O'Maley art teacher Brett Dunton and after school programming will allow others to use it as well!
The backstory behind this significant acquisition:
Paul Manship's great-granddaughter and MARS board member, Diana Natti Theriault
shares her great pleasure in realizing this dream.
Thanks to a very generous donor, MARS has been able to purchase an historic Folly Cove Designer Acorn Press that had been a local cultural icon at Rockport’s Whistlestop Mall since the mid-1970’s.
The early nineteenth century handpress belonged to Eino Natti, a member of the celebrated Folly Cove Designers. Eino used the press to print his own designs in his home at 1142 Washington Street - just across the road from the Manship property in Lanesville. Eino was my grandfather’s brother and 1142 had been the home of my great-grandparents.
Eventually this Acorn Press passed along to the youngest Folly Cove Designer, Sarah Elizabeth Holloran, who opened her shop in Rockport in 1974. When Sarah Elizabeth, or “Libby” as she was known, got older and needed assistance printing, my father’s sister, Isabel Natti, joined her and eventually took over the shop.
Anyone who ever had the thrill of setting foot in that tiny little shop at Whistlestop Mall, filled with the smell of linoleum and ink, will certainly remember Isabel’s smiling face, and the joy she took in creating block prints, and educating anyone who would listen about the process of handpress printing and it’s rich history here on Cape Ann.
Upon Isabel's death, Julia Garrison, a wonderful artist with Lanesville ties, bought the press, and began working out of the Sarah Elizabeth Shop, continuing both the legacy of the Folly Cove Designers, offering visitors history lessons, and creating new work. Recently, however, Julia has begun a new chapter in her life, and decided to close the shop and sell the press.
It was always my hope that the press could become part of the Manship Project, since it embodies all that MARS aims to be. The press preserves our local heritage and allows us to continue this tradition in our community with contemporary artists. Having this press will give us a strong connection to the Folly Cove Designers, and will provide local and visiting artists opportunities to explore the creative potential of this mechanical workhorse. This press can also be the center around which future programming will evolve, including artist talks, educational events and workshops, and collaborations with local organizations, such as the O'Maley Middle School where a curriculum developed by the Cape Ann Museum is already in place already introduces the Folly Cove Designers to eighth-grade school kids.
But, perhaps an even more important connection for me is that this specific press was used by Paul Manship's favorite, doted upon grand-daughter Isabel Natti. As I mentioned earlier, Isabel was my aunt; she was also Margaret Cassidy and John Manship’s niece and neighbor. This press will create a living memory of the Folly Cove Designers and my aunt Isabel, who was a truly gifted artist in her own right and a muse to many other artists that live and work on Cape Ann.
Having Eino and Isabel’s press become part of the Manship project, seems to be a fitting tribute to members of my family who were among the Finns of Lanesville. Isabel was one of the most powerful and memorable women I will ever know and she dedicated herself to conserving and championing the artistic legacy of Cape Ann. I am so grateful that we have the good fortune to preserve this piece of her, and I know she would have been happy that a new generation of artists will be able to find inspiration with this press.
There are several people we need to thank for making this happen:
First, I want to acknowledge the anonymous donor who cared deeply for Isabel and who saved the press for our community as a way of honoring Isabel.
Julia Garrison and Mary Rhinelander recognized the importance of keeping this press in our community and offered their guidance and advice.
Jocelyn Pierce of Mayflour Confections was most gracious and patient as we figured out how to safely move this incredibly heavy treasure - Jocelyn had taken over the former Sarah Elizabeth space and had to delay the opening of her shop for over a week. Please stop by her new coffee and pastry shop and let Jocelyn know you are grateful, too!!
We are most grateful to Geoff Richon and Bill Van Stight for taking up the challenge of moving the press for us - no easy task!!
And it was our Mayor who suggested that the press go to the O'Maley Middle School when we asked her where we might find a temporary home for the press in the community until an appropriate studio could be prepared at the Manship property. Many thanks, Mayor Sefatia, for finding this perfect opportunity for all of us!
Diana Natti Theriault
Great-granddaughter of Paul Manship
Board Member, MARS
TO LEARN MORE, VISIT THESE LINKS:
Group buys, plans art residency for sculptor's estate
- By Gail McCarthy Staff Writer, Gloucester Daily Times
- 22 September 2017
A recent real estate purchase by a local nonprofit organization marks a step forward in the cultural development of Cape Ann.
Manship Artist Residence and Studios Inc. (MARS) purchased more than 15 wooded acres, nestled between two quarries, in Lanesville, to preserve the idyllic property of sculptor Paul Manship (1885-1966). Manship may be best known for the golden Prometheus fountain at New York City’s Rockefeller Center.
This development represents another example of the many efforts to preserve and celebrate this area's long-standing cultural heritage.
"Many local artists and cultural groups have been working hard to make Gloucester a thriving creative and cultural center. The (T.S.) Eliot House and the Manship Project are closely comparable because of our focus on working artists and thought leaders, and the fact that artists will be able to live in community at both places," said Rebecca Reynolds, the founding president of MARS and the art historian behind the Manship project.
Reynolds pointed out the Manship estate is the last unchanged and remaining artist’s home from when many of the top artists of the 20th century visited or lived in Lanesville. It was a thriving art colony then as it is today, she said, and hence the impetus to make use of this property to continue that cultural tradition.
“We could not bear to lose this local treasure with national significance. This is important not only for Cape Ann and the region, but it is also part of our country’s heritage," she said. "Gloucester has always been a mecca for artists to visit, live and work."
Anita Walker, executive director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, applauded the efforts of MARS, founded not quite two years ago.
“This is a treasure in Massachusetts. To be able to preserve the studio, home and legacy of Paul Manship provides a rare window into the inspiration and context of his work. Congratulations to Gloucester," she said. "The Manship Project will have a regional if not national impact on our cultural landscape.”
The goals of MARS include land conservation, promoting the region's cultural heritage and supporting the diverse creative community.
“Protecting and preserving this historic property and its unique landscape has been the driving mission behind this effort. Now it’s time to celebrate this major milestone and thank the many generous supporters and community volunteers," said MARS vice president Jo-Ann Castano, a longtime arts advocate.
Castano gave a special thanks to the Massachusetts Cultural Council as well as the city officials and state legislators who helped to make this happen.
The birth of "Starfield"
Reynolds shared the history of the property which Manship and his wife Isabel acquired during World War II: He move a house from Pigeon Cove in Rockport and a barn from Bayview in Gloucester as he began to develop the site, which he later called "Starfield."
"One of the things Manship loved best about Cape Ann was that it is a 'dark place,' a place where one can easily observe the nightly dance of the stars above and all around," Reynolds said. "But mostly, Manship aspired to have an estate worthy to be named, and this would become a stunning setting in which to live, work and to display his sculpture."
Manship cultivated the property's sprawling gardens, which became the settings for dozens of his works, where the art colony's artists and residents would gather in a party atmosphere.
After his death, Manship's will allowed his son to purchase the property from his estate. John Manship and daughter-in-law Margaret Cassidy, both accomplished artists, acquired the property in 1966 and made Lanesville their home.
"It was John and Margaret’s wishes that the estate continue the Manship tradition," said Reynolds, making the estate the largest benefactor of this project.
To that end, the Manship Project raised $650,000 to buy the property at the agreed price so this effort could move forward.
Rebecca Harris of the National Trust for Historic Preservation noted that the proposed programming of the site is "relevant, forward-thinking, and sensitive to the property and the neighborhood." Harris further said the National Trust will share the MARS model as an example of how to protect a significant historic place in a creative and sustainable way.
The next step in the Manship project is to prepare the house, barn and gardens with regard to historic preservation guidelines, and to establish the property as an international, interdisciplinary residency.
There was a quote found written on a scrap of paper in Paul Manship's dressing gown after his death, which stated: "The primary impulse in the Arts is to give permanence to the fleeting moment. To bid it stay because we cannot bear to lose it."
With those words in mind, the MARS board welcomes others to join in their continued fundraising efforts and help as they "bid it stay.”
Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-675-2706, or at email@example.com.
About the project
Manship Artists Residency + Studios (MARS) purchased the Lanesville property of sculptor Paul Manship (1885-1966), a 20th century American artist.
The nonprofit organization plans work on the property to create a residency program. For more information, visit the website at www.ManshipArtists.org.
If anyone wants to make a tax-deductible contribution, checks can be mailed to Manship Artists Residency + Studios, P.O. Box 7071, Gloucester, MA 01930.
Jasper Johns Plans to Turn His Bucolic Connecticut Home and Studio Into an Artists’ Retreat
Up to two dozen artists will get live-work spaces where they can devote themselves to their work.
Sarah Cascone, September 18, 2017, ARTNET NEWS
has big plans for his home and studio in Sharon, Connecticut—and the town is officially on board. Following his death, the artist plans to transform his pastoral property, where he has lived since the 1990s, into an artists’ retreat, providing a live-work space for 18 to 24 artists at a time.
Representatives for the artist presented a proposal at the September 13 meeting of Sharon’s planning and zoning commission, which voted unanimously in favor of the project. Art critic Deborah Solomon first reported that the town had granted permission for the project in a tweet posted on Saturday.
According to the minutes from the meeting, available on the Sharon website, the artists would “live, eat and devote themselves to the private study, practice and development of their work. They would have communal meals, in the existing main house and shared common spaces that would foster a sense of community among the artists.”
“In addition to the property itself, Mr. Johns intends to provide an endowment to support the operations of the retreat,” the town wrote, noting that there are currently no plans for additional construction on the property. “The proposal fits within the Town Plan of Conservation & Development as it keeps open space and preserves the Mudge Pond Watershed,” as indicated by the minutes.
The retreat will be a charitable organization or nonprofit corporation with 19 to 25 employees, including six to nine off-site administrative staff. The property will be closed to the public except during special events.
Johns, 87, is a towering figure in the art world. Known for his Pop and Neo-Dada works, he won the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, and a Golden Lion at the 1988 Venice Biennale, among many other distinctions.
Johns is also a co-founder, along with composer John Cage, of the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, which offers grants in the visual and performance arts. The foundation is not involved with the artists’ retreat and declined to comment for this story, as did Johns.
Article online: https://news.artnet.com/art-world/jasper-johns-plans-artist-retreat-1085543
Meet ‘The Manships’ at Flatrocks Gallery in Gloucester
By Keith Powers / Correspondent
Posted Jul 27, 2017 at 8:57 AM - Link to Cape Ann Beacon
An extensive exhibition on view now at Flatrocks Gallery in Lanesville brings to light an artistic past that will forever be part of Cape Ann’s legacy: the prodigious work of sculptor Paul Manship, and the fascinating work of his son and of his daughter-in-law, John and Margaret Cassidy Manship.
Paul Manship (1885–1966) looms large over artists with Cape Ann connections: working mainly with classical or mythological subjects, in an era when public monuments were in greater demand, his sculptures are found all over the world.
His enormous gilded bronze “Prometheus” in Rockefeller Center may be the best known example, but it is just one of many. Here, half a dozen casts point to his predominant subject matter — the classical past: “David,” an original cast from 1921; and “Acteon,” from 1924, are the best examples. “Dancing Children,” c. 1927, all posthumous casts, shows a different subject matter, delicately handled.
Another posthumous cast, of the “Lincoln Head, or Hoosier Youth” — whose large bronze version is on view in an insurance company in Fort Wayne, Ind., a well-known attraction in that city — sits modestly on a flat file. A beautiful “Perseus and Andromeda,” completed in 1965 just one year before his death, is a fascinating and emotional work in mix sculpting media.
John Paul Manship (1927–2000) was primarily a painter, and about three dozen works, primarily oils and spread out over five decades, show his light touch. Many of the views are of downtown Rockport — Front Beach, the Congregational Church, the old Haskins Building (now the Shalin Liu Performance Center) — where he worked at his gallery on Main Street.
Some early paintings from the late 1940s and early 1950s show a different style — more abstract — wtih subjects from Italy, where he studied for several years. They highlight the connection both he and his future wife, Margaret Cassidy, had to that country.
A small corner of the gallery has a few works of Margaret Manship (d. 2012). The corner includes one small bust of Pope Pius XII — their Catholic faith was important to John and Margaret, and she spent several years working in the Vatican. (She also has a major installation in St. Peter’s Basilica there.) A charming set — an oil painting , and a bronze bust — of Beryl Grimball show Margaret’s facility in multiple media.
The Manship estate is currently working to create an artist’s residency and studio on the Lanesville property where Paul worked for many years. That property would be a beautiful retreat, and this terrific exhibition shows why the work done there was so remarkable.
“The Manships” runs through Aug. 6 at Flatrocks Gallery, 77 Langsford St., Gloucester. For information visit www.flatrocksgallery.com or call 978-879-4683.
Closing Soon: Art Exhibition Includes Rare Paul Manship Sculptures
Catherine Ryan shares her insight and enthusiasm for the Manship exhibition at Flatrocks, urging the GMG readership to see the exhibition before it closes on August 6:
This intimate and museum worthy exhibition, THE MANSHIPS, is a rare chance to see and purchase original work by a talented family of artists: Paul Manship, Margaret Cassidy (daughter in law), and John Paul Manship (son). Continue reading
Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) has been called the father of abstract art. He was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Kandinsky considered the creation of art to be a spiritual act and believed that by creating original work, you were furthering the cause of humanity.
Thanks to Peter Parsons for sharing the following link to an enlightening article on the Facebook page, All in the Same Boat, Gloucester, MA.