NHA News Release: July 28, 2016


Friends of the Nantucket Historical Association Purchase Frank Swift Chase Painting of Nantucket Harbor at Auction

NANTUCKET, MA – The Nantucket Historical Association (NHA) is pleased to announce that it is the recipient of a generous gift from the Friends of the Nantucket Historical Association, an oil-on-board painting by twentieth-century American landscape painter Frank Swift Chase (1886–1958) titled View of Nantucket from Monomoy (ca. 1935) at a recent Shannon’s Fine Art Discovery Sale. The painting has been added to the fine art collection of the Nantucket Historical Association.

The painting depicts Nantucket town with its characteristic church towers from the sandy shores of Monomoy. It is both an impression of an atmospheric morning on the island, as well as a historically valuable portrait of the town’s skyline at a particular point in time.

“This landscape painting by Frank Swift Chase is a perfect addition to the association’s broad collection of artistic works by the leading lights of the Nantucket art colony,” said Michael R. Harrison, the NHA’s Robyn & John Davis Chief Curator. “For thirty years, the Friends of the NHA have generously helped keep important Nantucket artifacts and art works on the island, and have brought key pieces home.”

Once described as “the dean of Nantucket painters and teachers,” Frank Swift Chase taught plein air landscape painting on the island for nearly thirty summers between 1920 and 1954, training a generation of leading lights of the Nantucket art colony, including Anne Ramsdell Congdon, Ruth Haviland Sutton, Elizabeth Saltonstall, and Florence Lang. His own paintings of the harbor, moors, and beaches of Nantucket are prized for their freshness, immediacy, and movement. A native of Saint Louis, he studied at the Art Students League in New York City and spent much of his life painting and teaching in Woodstock, N.Y. The NHA holds other complementary works by Chase in its collection.

The painting was purchased for the permanent collection by the Friends of the Nantucket Historical Association, who have contributed many of the most significant additions to the NHA over the past thirty years. These include the 2008 purchase of two paintings of the whaleship Spermo from the 1820s and the 2011 purchase of the Back of Nichols’ Barn, ’Sconset, an oil by George Inness. View of Nantucket from Monomoy is on display in the Decorative Arts Gallery at the Whaling Museum.

Support from the Friends of the Nantucket Historical Association, which was organized in 1986 to seek significant acquisitions for the collections of the NHA, has enabled the NHA to acquire numerous artifacts, works of art, and documents, and to ensure that such objects stay on or return to Nantucket to be enjoyed by the people of the island. The organization has also supported such projects as the construction of the NHA’s Gosnold Museum Support Center; the conservation of artifacts; and the restoration of the parlors in the Hadwen House. The gracious assistance of the Friends has strengthened NHA’s active collecting activities.