Lynn Museum

Lynn, MA



The Lynn Beach Painters: Art Along the North Shore, 1880-1920


The Lynn Museum, formally the Lynn Historical Society, 125 Green Street, Lynn, Massachusetts is presenting 52 paintings in an exhibition, The Lynn Beach Painters: Art Along the North Shore 1880-1920. The exhibition opened to the public on November 24, 1998 and ends April 16,1999. It next travels to Heritage Plantation, Sandwich, MA where it will be on view from May 17, 1999 to mid October 1999.

The picturesque coast of Boston's North Shore, from Revere to Marblehead, was home to a remarkable school of American Marine Impressionists. The Lynn Beach Painters flourished as a group during the last two decades of the nineteenth century, a period which saw not only the rise of European influences, but also great growth in American art in its own right.

As early as the 1850s major international artists such as William Bradford and his teacher, Albert Van Beest, had been drawn to the shoreline, marshes, and fish shacks of the Lynn, Swampscott and Nahant beaches.

The ensuing decades saw the area emerge as both a major resort community and an industrial center with a high concentration of wealthy art patrons. At the same time, the widespread appreciation of art and art education was evident in the passage of the Mandatory Drawing Act of 1870, which made artistic training available to every citizen of Massachusetts. The Lynn Evening Drawing School, founded as a result, was a key factor in the development of the distinctive school of painting that briefly thrived along the North Shore.

From 1882 to the 1890s seven significant American artists shared a similar technique and interest in the wide beaches, tidal marshes, and working fisherfolk of the Lynn and Swampscott beaches and developed a particular style of regional Impressionism. The seven -- Nathaniel L. Berry, Edward Burrill, William Partridge Burpee, C.E. L. Green, T. Clark Oliver, Edward A. Page and Charles H. Woodbury -- form the group now known as the Lynn Beach Painters.

In the accompanying publication, The Lynn Beach Painters: Art Along the North Shore 1880-1920., ISBN 1-882162-13-7, art historian D. Roger Howlett and Lynn Museum Director Kenneth C. Turino and Curator Heather Johnson for the first time recognize the group for both its cohesiveness and its significance. The authors place the school in the context of the period in American art, so strongly influenced by both French Impressionism and plein-air painting as well as the modern Dutch school. Through careful research and lavish illustration the authors restore this sometimes overlooked group to their rightful place in American art history.


From top to bottom: T. C. Oliver, Ship in Full Sail, collection of the Lynn Historical Society; E. Page, Dory on the Beach, collection of Swampscott Library; Charles Woodbury, Egg Rock from Nahant, 1880; C. E. L. Green, Derelict on the Beach; E. Burrill, Pathway with Barn; cover of The Lynn Beach Painters: Art Along the North Shore 1880-1920.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 8/24/10


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