The History of the Art Scene In the Hamptons
The history of art in the Hamptons really started with the building of the railroad in 1872.
As well as attracting the wealthy ‘Summer Cottage’ community, escaping the heat of the city, artists were drawn here for the beauty of the landscape and the unique quality of the light reflecting from the water on all sides.
- Thomas Moran (1837 to 1926) was an American painter of the Hudson River School, best known for his landscape paintings in the American West. He and his wife Mary Nimmo Moran (1842-1899), an etcher and landscape painter, built the first artist studio in East Hampton in 1884 and became a magnet for the growing artist community on the East End.
- With the founding of the Summer Art School in Shinnecock Hills in 1891, 100 to 150 art students, both amateur and professional, came from all over the country each year to study Plein Air Painting under William Merritt Chase (1849-1916).
- Artists such as William Glackens (1870-1936) and Fairfield Porter (1907-1975) continued to be drawn to the Hamptons by the casual lifestyle, beautiful nature and proximity to New York City, although their painting styles differed dramatically from the earlier generation of Hampton’ artists.
- And then came the Abstract Expressionists! ‘The postwar generation of Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and their colleagues and friends came because they could establish studios inexpensively and have each other to talk to. This remains true today. Community breeds community in a good and productive way.’ (Terrie Sultan, director of the Parrish Art Museum in a 2015 article in whitewall.)
The Art Scene In the Hamptons Today
Today the Art Scene in the Hamptons is as vibrant as ever, and the Summer Season is chock full of Museum and Gallery exhibitions, openings, and fundraising galas. Plus Art Fairs and Artist Studio Tours.
Hamptons Art Hub – The only source you need to keep abreast of the art scene in New York and the Hamptons!
I have already written about East Hampton’s Guild Hall Galleries so today let’s start a bit farther afield with the Parrish Art Museum and some of the area’s more eclectic art offerings…
Hamptons Events & Happenings
Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill
In 2012 the Parrish Art Museum moved from its cramped but beautiful historic buildings on Jobs Lane in Southampton, to its spectacular new home in a former potato field in Watermill, giving it space to share its outstanding collection of American Paintings with the public and also to host temporary exhibitions. It also allows for more public events and educational programs to ‘encourage all of our audiences to engage with the creative process and to experience the artistic legacy of the East End of Long Island.’
- Mission Statement: ‘Inspired by the natural setting and artistic life of Long Island’s East End, the Parrish Art Museum illuminates the creative process and how art and artists transform our experiences and understanding of the world and how we live in it. The Museum fosters connections among individuals, art, and artists through care and interpretation of the collection, the presentation of exhibitions, publications, educational initiatives, programs, and artists-in-residence. The Parrish is a center for cultural engagement, an inspiration and destination for the region, the nation, and the world.’
- Architecture/The Building: ‘Designed by the internationally acclaimed firm Herzog & de Meuron, the new Parrish occupies a fourteen-acre site in the hamlet of Water Mill. The innovative design integrates architecture and landscape in a plan that both respects and reflects the singular natural beauty and rich artistic legacy of Long Island’s East End. The architects were inspired not only by the landscape but also by the many artists’ studios they visited on the East End.’
- Parrish Art Museum Events 2019:
- Current Exhibitions Summer ’19:
- Renate Aller Through July 28, 2019
- Thomas Joshua Cooper: Refuge Through July 28, 2019
- Jean-Luc Mylane: A Matter of Place Through July 28, 2019
- Abstract Climates: Helen Frankenthaler In Provincetown August 4 – October 27, 2019
More Hamptons Art Attractions
Clay Art Guild, Watermill
With exhibitions, classes and studio tours, the Clay Art Guild of the Hamptons provides an environment for the enrichment of clay arts and offers resources for the clay community of the East End.
Ashawagh Hall, Springs
Bringing artists together in the community where many of them live, since 1909 Ashawagh Hall has been host to numerous art shows and community gatherings.
Pollack-Krasner House, Springs
Stonybrook Foundation’s Pollack-Krasner House and Study Center is a remarkably preserved snapshot of an artist’s life in the Hamptons in the mid 20th century.
- Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) is regarded as the undisputed leader of the Abstract Expressionist movement.
- In 1945, Pollock married fellow artist Lee Krasner (1908-1984) and moved from New York City to Long Island’s East End. With a loan from art dealer Peggy Guggenheim, they purchased a small homestead on one and a quarter acres overlooking Accabonac Creek in The Springs, near East Hampton.’
- The rest is well documented, but it is really exciting to walk through the house and studio and the area, Springs, where he painted and cooked, and just breathe in the inspiration.
- Guided Tours by reservation only.
- Joseph Glasco: East End Echoes – May 2 – July 27, 2019
- Walter Plate: East End Abstractions – August 1 – October 31, 2019
Wow, that’s a lot to digest, and not nearly complete.
Check out my post on the East Hampton Village Galleries. Or you can just meander into the village from the Mill House Inn and explore some of them on foot.
For more about Galleries and Museums in the Hamptons:
Remember, you should always check the Hamptons Art Hub for more information on current exhibitions and openings when you are looking for inspiration planning a visit to East Hampton and the Mill House Inn!
See you soon,