Going to Sea

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An escape to the seaside signals the arrival of summer days and the restless yearning for adventure. The sea—at once a tranquil oasis and an unpredictable temptation—has had an eternal lure, drawing in swimmers, sailors and explorers with the smell of salty air, the feel of warm sand and the sound of crashing waves. For the arrival of this most unusual July—the seventh month of the year, named for the Roman general Julius Caesar—we feature seascapes in a range of styles and mediums that capture life by the shore: one that is bustling and teeming with sea craft, boisterous crowds, beach games and graceful birds, as well as one of sublime isolation—a liminal place on the edge of the world where land meets the great expanse and unknown of the ocean. These portraits of the sea depict marine pastimes like fishing and sailing, swimming and sunbathing, as well as its inhabitants—from birds and fish to the mythic creatures of our wild imaginations. They evoke all that is unique to the coastal shoreline—from the natural: the shimmer of the sun as it reflects off ever-moving water, the early morning mist that wafts over its surface, the bite of the salty breeze, the call of seabirds on the hunt—to those sights and sounds distinguished by centuries of leisurely human pleasures: the anticipation of cool water on hot skin, the laughter elicited from a wave’s spray, the solace of a shady umbrella, the simple joy of a sandcastle, the communion of friends and family. We hope you find some beach time this summer and, as Ralph Waldo Emerson encouraged, “Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, Drink the wild air's salubrity…”[1]

Going to Sea features works by Milton Avery, Leonid Berman, Joseph Cornell, James Daugherty, Louis Eilshemius, Morris Graves, Robert Gwathmey, Palmer Hayden, Hans Hofmann, William H. Johnson, Lee Krasner, Hughie Lee-Smith, Norman Lewis, Reginald Marsh, Jan Matulka, Fairfield Porter, Theodore Roszak, Charles G. Shaw, Esphyr Slobodkina and Toshiko Takaezu.

1. Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Merlin's Song," in The Complete Essays and Other Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Brooks Atkinson (New York: The Modern Library, 1940), 80

Above: Hughie Lee-Smith (1915-1999), Untitled (Man on Shore), 1956, watercolor on paper, 13 x 18 inches / 33 x 45.7 cm, signed

For more information, visit the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery Viewing Room here.

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