Renowned maritime exhibit sails into the Vineyard

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When the Mystic Museum Art Gallery closed its doors for good after 37 years of representing the country’s foremost maritime painters, the artists were only given two weeks’ notice to retrieve their work. The announcement also meant that those who were already approved and vetted for the museum’s annual International Invitational Show had nowhere to show their new work.

Enter Louisa Gould, who already represents a handful of the member artists and who has forged a reputation for exhibiting maritime art and sea-related images in her Vineyard Haven Gallery. Since Gould was familiar with many of the artists who would have been included in the prestigious Mystic Invitational show, she decided to host an online and in-gallery exhibit of the work of a number of the preapproved participants, as well as some other top-tier artists, in a show titled “The Martha’s Vineyard Maritime Show: Ship to Shore.”

“It’s a highly vetted show,” says Gould of the Invitational. “It’s known as one of the best maritime shows in the world.” The Mystic show traditionally featured only what Gould refers to as “true maritime art — boats and rigging,” while the M.V. Maritime Show will include images that relate to the sea and shore, as well as exquisite representations of sailing vessels by such artists of renown as Leonard Mizerek and Neal Hughes.

The majority of the artists whose work is on display are members of the American Society of Marine Artists (ASMA). Others are members of the American Watercolor Society or the Pastel Society of America. Three members of the group show (whose work will be on display at the gallery) are artists whom Gould has shown for many years.

Paul Beebe, who is represented exclusively by the Louisa Gould Gallery, has forged a name for himself in the world of maritime art. He is a Signature member of the ASMA, and has shown his work alongside that of famed artist John Stobart. For the “Ship to Shore” show, Beebe has created a number of Vineyard-based images, including wonderfully detailed paintings of sailing ships and stunning seascapes. Skies are the stars of Beebe’s paintings — whether dusk, dawn, full sun, or dreamy night — providing a stunning backdrop for images of Island life. Gould notes that Beebe’s work is surprisingly affordable for an artist of his caliber and reputation. Many of the paintings in the show have already sold.

New to the Louisa Gould Gallery this year is James Manger, who lives on the Cape. Gould added him to her stable of artists after noting the demand for his work ever since she included it in the “Ship to Shore” show.

Not everything in the exhibit is traditional in style or subject. A gallery regular, Frauke Klatt, paints abstracted images of sailboats on sailcloth, while Aleta Stewart has contributed a handful of exquisite paintings of sea birds. Other non-boat-related images include Neal Hughes’ moody painting of a girl walking her dog on a deserted twilit road to the sea, and Larry Johnston’s quiet scenes of Cape Cod life.

Gould, who is a highly accomplished photographer of sailboats and fabled boat races (including the America’s Cup), started the gallery in 2003 with mostly maritime art, and she continues to show a passion for images depicting the sea and its surroundings. She attended the Mystic Invitational Show for years, and when the museum was forced to close this summer, she was anxious to help the artists who would have shown there. She is honored to host this selection of work representing some of the world’s premiere maritime artists. “I think it brings another caliber of work to the Vineyard,” she says.

Gould plans to make the M.V. Maritime Show an annual event, hopefully with more work on the walls once COVID restrictions allow for more freedom. She would also like to host a plein air event with some of the artists next September. All is in flux at the moment, but for now you can check out the show online, or stop by the gallery to view many of the paintings, along with a truly eclectic collection of work in all media.

All of the work will be online through Dec. 1 at louisagould.com. Paintings by Paul Beebe, Frauke Klatt, Charles Fran Kenney, and James Manger are currently hanging at the gallery, with new works arriving weekly.

Louisa Gould Gallery, 54 Main St., Vineyard Haven is open Thursday through Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm, or by appointment. Those interested in seeing any of the online work at the gallery or in their home can make a request for a physical viewing.