Sunday, March 21, 2010

PAAM and more Provincetown

I've been laboring over a post about the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) for the past several days. Because of copyright concerns, I'm not going to be doing the post I wanted to. I know most of the artists I wanted to show, but some I don't, so I'll work on getting the proper permissions and maybe I'll be able to do that in the future. So I thought I would do little more on PAAM and the Provincetown artist community and then share some winter/summer shots so you can see how the town comes to life in summer.

The tip of Cape Cod may seem like an unlikely place for a spectacular museum but Provincetown was a summer escape for many great artists. Provincetown as an artist colony began in the late 1800s and by 1916 the Boston Globe referred to Provincetown as the biggest art colony in the world. PAAM began in 1914 to promote, collect and exhibit art and promote education in the arts. Today it has an impressive collection of over 2500 works of art by artists associated with Provincetown.
PAAM is America's only Silver LEED certified art museum.

Particularly during WWI and WWII when artists could not travel to Europe, they went to Provincetown. This summer migration was most likely aided by Hans Hofmann who in 1935 opened a summer school in Provincetown to which New York's best and brightest artists flocked. Hofmann, artist and teacher, friend of Picasso, Matisse and Braque, was arguably the single largest influence on American art to date.

Writers such as Eugene O'Neill, Tennessee Wiliams and Norman Mailer also spent time in Provincetown. Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz also lived in Provincetown.

Even today, it's possible to meet people who knew Franz Kline, Jackson Pollack and Lee Krasner, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning and Robert Motherwell. Their stories bring these people to life.

Before we leave town and head back to Boston, I wanted to show the difference between what we saw last week and what the same scenes look like in summer. Above is Captain Jack's Wharf, a series of 12 connected summer cottages where Tennessee Williams once debuted "A Streetcar Named Desire."
This is what is looks like in summer.
Although the cottages are now condos, many of them are for rent by the week during summer months. Many people return the same week, year after year to share their vacation with other people who say travel here to spend time enjoying the view from this deck.

Another quick view of the Wharf House next to Ferol Warthen's studio as we saw it last week....

...and the same view in the late summer. Imagine walking down this path to your waterfront deck where the hypnotizing sound of the waves, the lighthouse foghorn's rhythmic call and the smell of the salt in the fresh ocean breeze. One day in this setting is worth day's relaxation anywhere else.

Before the day gets too old, I need to hit the road to check out a big antiques barn that's mid-Cape to see if I can find anything to finish up the living room.


  1. Hey Steve,

    The photo of the tiny cottage with the flag and all the flowers is just killing me. Quintessential Cape. I'm dying.


    Do you know how lucky you are?

  2. Thanks for the tour, it's nice to leave town

  3. I loved this road trip! Where are we going next? Are we there yet? Just out of curiousity, do you work/play in the art industry? You are very knowledgable and I for one am enjoying the education! Thanks,

  4. The history of Provincetown is fascinating. The lives, the stories, the creative's such a beautiful tale that makes all those gorgeous old structures come alive. There's something about knowing the history of a structure, especially when the person who lived there had the gift to create, that really makes the ordinary things shine and mean something more. It's wonderful to imagine it all. Great post Steve, so very interesting and inspiring. Trina

  5. Wow! Incredible difference!! East Coasters definitely know their architecture. Wish we had way more of that out here!


  6. My daughter's friend spent time in Provincetown. Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing.


  7. You live in the most amazing area.. am a little, teensy, weensy bit JEALOUS!! No, seriously, thank you for sharing these fabulous photographs!! x