American icons on display at The Granary Gallery

The Granary Gallery's collection of Alfred Eisenstaedt photographs features portraits of many notables from George Bernard Shaw to Martin Luther King and Bill Clinton. — Susan Safford

The Granary Gallery in West Tisbury hosted its summer-ending American Icons reception Sunday evening. The gallery, which stays open daily year-round, highlighted its impressive collection of art by American 20th century masters.

There was a wall of Alfred Eisenstaedt prints, drawings by Thomas Hart Benton, Andrew and Jamie Wyeth paintings, work by Emile Gruppe, Wolf Kahn, George Bellows, Lawrence Schiller, and John Whorf.

Jeremy Berlin’s keyboard jazz in the courtyard was the ideal backdrop to the gallery’s collection of mostly American art. Gallery co-owner, Christopher Morse, said, “We do have a strong component of regional art and we are lucky to have such a supportive community.”

Commenting on the gallery’s large collection of prints by Eisenstaedt he said, “I was fortunate to work with him the last 10 years of his life. We were the first gallery to sell his prints from the work he did for Time-Life.”

While the gallery’s receptions are a much anticipated feature of the summer for many art-loving Islanders this, show was not the wall-to-wall, shoulder-to-shoulder event that often requires a police presence to direct traffic like previous shows this season. Spending time at each work of interest was no problem. There were seldom people looking over each others’ shoulders. One patron was overheard commenting that there was room to move at this reception, perhaps a true sign that summer is winding down.

The Granary’s openings are as much a social scene as a site for serious artists and collectors. West Tisbury house painter John Anderson, a Granary Gallery regular, said, “I am always impressed by the quality of both the art and the bar.” Island sculptor Jay Lagemann of Chilmark, who showed up in his bicycle riding kit on his mountain bike, said, “I like the way the gallery’s outstanding collection of contemporary work complements the classic work.”

The Granary Gallery is located at 636 Old County Rd. in West Tisbury. For more information, visit or call 508-693-0455.