When you consider the realm of American painting over the past 150 years, the accepted schools of art in New York, Philadelphia and Boston immediately come to mind as the influential institutions of the fine arts. That the landscape, as subject, has dominated the inspirational spirit of these artists to create, one needs to understand that this seaside county, our lovely Cape May, has too enjoyed, albeit almost unacknowledged, a tremendous popularity for many famous and dedicated craftsmen in art. And that these artists have trod our shores, and taken images of our landscapes back to their studios, alongside the more worldly images of America, we begin to appreciate what inspires us, as modern practitioners in this county, with the same love.
The light, the subtle and striking moods, the whisper of salt, the smell of the mud and the warm summer forests distinguish themselves as enduring influences for creativity. That the dominant horizon lacks mountains, and that the endless marsh is void of riverboats, and that the small fishing shacks were not as red as "Motif # 1" in Gloucester, Massachusetts has never truly mattered. Our county has been home and subject for the works of no less than Robert Henri, Thomas Anschutz, William Trost Richards, Jessie Wilcock Smith, Violet Oakley, Walter Steumpfig, Martha Walters, many of the Pennsylvania Impressionists, and most recently Herbert Pullinger.
The opportunity for an established art colony to manifest itself here, as it did for Cape Cod, Carmel, New Hope and Santa Fe, appeared many times as members of the faculty of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts gathered here for numerous exhibitions and summer holidays. The idea that that art colony is still forming is most certainly the evidence of the long and proud history of our own Cape May County Art League.
As we continue to mature as an organization, with a clear voice for the "mission" set forth in 1929 it is hoped we can also inspire future generations of artists to keep this 'colony" moving forward.
Current Member and Past President
Cape May County Art League