"Gloucester Docks" by Robert Connavale dated 1943

Robert Connavale
(American, 20th Century)

Oil on canvas, 30 x 36 inches (canvas), 37 ½ x 43 ½ inches (frame), signed and dated lower left, period frame

Robert Connavale worked in the area of New England known as Cape Ann, Massachusetts. For almost two centuries, artists have been going to Cape Ann, drawing a diverse roster of salon painters, Folk artists, Luminists, Tonalists, Impressionists, Ashcan painters, magazine and children’s book illustrators, and Modernists alike. Somehow, each successive wave of artists found something on Cape Ann that they recognized as uniquely their own- uniquely for them. It’s legacy of artists is astonishing- a veritable who’s who of American art. Fitz Hugh Lane, William Morris Hunt, Winslow Homer, Childe Hassam, John Twachtman, John Sloan, Edward Hopper, Stuart Davis and Marsden Hartley all visited and painted on Cape Ann. Cape Ann is a community of three towns, Rockport, Manchester and Essex, and a city, Gloucester. Gloucester is America’s oldest and original seaport and was known for its rich fishing grounds. It was the very image of Gloucester Harbor and the awesome spectacle of fleets of vessels with full open sails that built its reputation as indescribably picturesque. Art has always played a part in Cape Ann’s history and in 1921, the famous Rockport Art Association was formed, followed the next year, by the Gloucester Art Association (later changing its name to the North Shore Arts Association. Both remain active today. Many of the changes and trends of American art can be traced through a survey of work produced on Cape Ann over the decades. While the area has been known for representational art and a conservative attitude towards progressive styles, the twentieth century in fact saw the arrival of artists to Cape Ann of almost every conceivable style and approach. Cape Ann soon became a haven for many of the painters experimenting with Impressionism. With its emphasis on light and color, the play of sunlight on water alone was enough to draw painters back year after year.



Society of Independent Artists, 1921


Brooklyn, New York, 1921


Marlor, The Society of Independent Artists, The Exhibition Record 1917-44
Falk (ed.), Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975
Dunbier (ed.), The Artists Bluebook: 34,000 North American Artists to March 2005
Davies, Artists of Cape Ann, A 150 Year Tradition

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