The Christina Gallery is now located at 5 Winter St., three doors from its longtime location on the corner of Winter Street and North Water Street in Edgartown. “It was wonderful to have people come in and see the new place,” Christina Cook said in an interview about the summer season. The gallery represents 30 artists, in addition to its Modern Masters Collection.
“I’ve come full circle,” Cook says, since the gallery originally started at the new location back in 1977. It is now in its 42nd season. The new locale might seem smaller, but a vaulted ceiling upstairs has allowed Cook to add two more artists. “It’s cozy,” she says, and customers have commented on its more intimate feel.
The gallery is known for its Modern Masters Collection, in particular artists from the family of Camille Pissarro. This artist has been called the father of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, influencing Cézanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, among others. Cook met members of the Pissarro family in 2006, and visits them regularly in Paris, and has three generations of Pissarros on exhibit at her gallery. “They allow me to curate from their inventory a collection of works for our gallery,” she says. This access means the work is already authenticated, and a new group of Pissarros is available annually.
One particularly powerful Pissarro work is on view this year as part of the Modern Masters Collection. Titled “Sous la Mer” (“Under the Sea”), the gouache is by Georges Henri Pissarro, the third of Camille Pissarro’s seven children. Like other second-generation Pissarros, he adopted a pseudonym and is also known as Manzana. His painting contains a vibrant orange shrimp and a dark- and light-banded fish that dominate an animated composition sharing space with underwater vegetation. “Les Gondoles de Pietro” (“The Gondolas of Pietro”) by H. Claude Pissarro, described by Cook as the most like his grandfather Camille, displays a lineup of colorful gondolas moored in the foreground and a cityscape in the background.
Other work from the Modern Masters Collection includes a drypoint etching by Berthe Morisot, the 19th century French painter married to Edouard Manet’s brother Eugene. Titled “Dessinant avec sa Fille” (“Drawing with Her Daughter”), and one of the artist’s eight works on paper, it has a delicacy reflective of the medium. The gallery also has work by Maurice Utrillo, Jean-François Millet, and Renoir.
A member of the Copley Society and a fellow of the American Society of Marine Artists, David Bareford is among the gallery’s modern artists, and is well-known for his marine portraits of sailboats. Among them is the oil “Summer Afternoon,” where a lighthouse centers the composition and a sailboat moves near it through the water.
Islander Marjorie Mason works plein air, creating richly colored oils like “Menemsha Jetty Sunset,” which balances a crimson sunset along the horizon with a line of quiet surf and sand angling through the foreground. The bumpy-surfaced sand glows in the fading light.
“To me, art really is about truth and beauty,” says Lillia Frantin, and her still lifes of flowers at the gallery are an illustration of that thought. “Still Life with Starfish and Violets” brings in its aquatic element with subtlety. Frantin’s bright, lively oil palette is reminiscent in some ways of watercolor. “Lighthouse with Waving Flag” demonstrates Yugoslav-born artist Ted Jeremenko’s compositional balance. Complexly colored water surrounds the lighthouse that dominates the center of this acrylic painting with its satisfying sense of order. The sailors valentines of Sandi Blanda celebrate the framed seashell mosaics made by 19th century sailors as souvenirs or gifts. “Solar Power” has a kaleidoscopic beauty in its pastel arrangement of shell and flower shapes around a facsimile floral bouquet.
With the exception of Kate Tortland, who has been there for five years, the gallery has retained its artists for many years, and several of them, including Duane Alt and John Powell, are now in their 80s. “They keep it fresh,” Cook says. “They’re trying new and challenging things.”
The Christina Gallery, 5 Winter St., Edgartown, remains open through the Christmas season. 508-627-8794; christina.com.