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Maritime Art Sails Into Mystic Seaport

For aficionados of contemporary paintings, sculpture and other fine works with a salty flavor, an upcoming exhibition presented by the Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport is the imaginative equivalent of a great armada arriving.

When it began 36 years ago, the International Marine Art Exhibition and Sale was arguably the first of its kind in the United States, and remains the most comprehensive collection of contemporary artwork in the land. Starting September 27, 110 works by 105 painters will be shown for the first time for people with the bucks to buy items ranging in price from $800 to $20,000 as well as those who come just to appreciate scenes of sea and shore, ships and sails, waves, water and wind.

“Paintings on display will include coastal scenes and marine wildlife as well as historic vessels, racing yachts, and working boats,” says Monique Foster, who recently became director of the gallery. “The show will visually inspire and delight art connoisseurs, sailors, and visitors alike,” she says. Besides paintings and sculpture, works on display include scrimshaw and ship models.

Two dozen of the artists whose work is on display are from Connecticut. The international reach of the exhibition has brought in others from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Japan, the French West Indies and the United Kingdom. Several of the artists will be on hand to meet and greet visitors on opening day, from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Works in the exhibition are available to view and purchase daily between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. The show can also be viewed on the Gallery website www.mysticseaport.org/maritime-art-gallery. The exhibition runs through December 31.

The gallery bills the show as “a commemoration of America’s maritime heritage, with both intricately researched historical scenes and contemporary images that document the relationship of humanity to the sea.” Depictions of sea waves seem to be popular subject matter for some of this year’s artists, says Foster, an Old Lyme resident who has been a prominent member of the thriving coastal Connecticut art community. Other works this year depict tall ships, sailing yachts, working craft, commercial vessels, warships, and scenes of the shoreline, beaches, harbors and wildlife that inhabit sea and shore.

Some of the exhibitors specialize in maritime art. To commemorate the Centennial Celebration of the U.S. Navy Submarine Service in 2000, Chicago-born Jim Griffiths was commissioned by the U.S. Postal Service to do five paintings printed as postage stamps that encapsulated the history of the submarine.

Other artists focus on a broader genre that includes maritime subjects. Leif Nilsson paints gardens, Connecticut River and village scenes from life around his hometown of Chester, where his studio and gallery are located. His work celebrates the beautiful landscapes of the Lower Connecticut River Valley, where he completed Classical Studies at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts in Old Lyme.

Other Connecticut artists exhibiting at the show are:

Ralph Acosta – Stonington

Thomas Adkins – Southbury

Del-Bourree Bach – Mystic

Joann A. Ballinger – Bozrah

David Bareford – Stonington

Paul Beebe –South Windsor

Robert T. Blazek – Litchfield

Mike Eagle – Old Saybrook

Lee Ellison – Durham

K.C. Goff – Avon

Luthar Kelly Hall – Mystic

William G. Hanson – Bristol

Russ Kramer – Mystic

Robert J. Lagasse – Bristol

Gerald Levey – Quaker Hill

James W. Magner – South Glastonbury

Kim Muller-Thym – Old Saybrook

Robery Norieka – Rocky Hill

Karen Ponelli – Milford

Jeffrey Sabol – Westbrook

Susan Van Winkle – North Stonington

Nelson H. White – Waterford

Cean Youngs – Bozrah

Image Credits: Jim Griffiths, Dangerous Weather

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