Maine’s Art Showcase

Andrew Wyeth, Her Room, 1963, tempera on panel. Farnsworth Museum of Art, © Andrew Wyeth/Artists Rights Society (ARS).


Elayne Clift

The rocky coastline and the lobsters that inhabit its waters are the two treasures most tourists want to experience when they visit Maine. But there is another reason to explore the state’s midsection – its art scene, centered in the Rockport/Rockland area.

Many well-known artists have lived and worked in Maine and still do. Perhaps most notable among them is the three-generation Wyeth family, whose links to Rockland’s Farnsworth Museum, specializing in American art related to Maine, make it a special venue.

The Farnsworth Museum was founded by Lucy Copeland Farnsworth, the last surviving member of her wealthy family, who wrote in her will that a building she owned on Main Street should “serve as an art gallery.” It opened in 1948 with works by George Bellows and Andrew Wyeth, among others, and soon was showing such artists as Winslow Homer, George Inness, and Jamie Wyeth. In keeping with the museum’s special relationship with the Wyeth family, Andrew’s late father N.C. Wyeth, the noted illustrator and painter, also continues to have his work shown.

Since the early days of the museum, many nationally prominent artists whose careers are associated with Maine have come into the museum’s collection, including several from New York who summer there. In 1969, Robert Indiana, known for his renditions of the word LOVE, moved to the nearby island of Vinalhaven and became part of the museum family. So did Rockland resident and sculptor Louise Nevelson; the Farnsworth boasts one of the country’s largest assemblages of her works. The museum has continued to grow its collection, which now includes significant holdings of 20th century and contemporary photography focusing on Maine.

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