Capturing Color

The Elisabeth S. Gottwald Gallery, Reeves Museum of Ceramics, September 1, 2021 - December 4, 2022 A portion of this exhibition is now installed in Leyburn Library.

Almost 200 portraits, landscapes and still life paintings by Louise Herreshoff Eaton were a surprise find in a significant donation of ceramics that the artist and her second husband, alumnus Euchlin Reeves '27, gave to W&L in 1967.

On view in the Elisabeth S. Gottwald Gallery in the Reeves Museum of Ceramics, the exhibition Capturing Color highlights a selection of Herreshoff's bold and expressive oils paintings created in the 1920s during visits to Cape Ann, Massachusetts – a popular area for painters and art colonies during the last 150 years. The works depict harbor scenes and landmarks still found in Gloucester, Rockport, and other areas on the North Shore.

This exhibition offers fresh and focused access to a selection of Herreshoff’s paintings and begins to examine the artist in her cultural context. An unknown but talented artist, Herreshoff worked and exhibited during a pivotal, vigorous and transitional moment in American art. She is a prime example of late 19th- and early 20th-century upper-class women who were able to study art abroad in an environment that was more costly, but far more supportive, than anything available at the time to women in the United States. Her paintings were accepted several times into the Paris Salon and were hung in quality venues in and around New York and Rhode Island during the 30-plus years of her creative production (1895 – 1928).

In Providence, Rhode Island, and on Cape Ann, Massachusetts, she shared exhibition space with well-known artists such as Frederick Childe Hassam and Maurice Prendergast. When in Gloucester, she may have painted in the company of Cecilia Beaux, John Sloan, Stuart Davis, Milton Avery and Jane Peterson. Herreshoff incorporates into her paintings an understanding and exploration of early modern art movements, including impressionism, post-impressionism and fauvism.