2005: 19th c Western Maine Painters Prior, Porter, Brewster
2006: Children’s Portraits
2007: Needlework & Samplers
2008 MAINE FOLK ART TRAIL
The Rufus Porter Museum enters its fourth year and is now officially recognized at a national level! The best news is that we have been selected to partici-pate in the Maine Folk Art Trail from June through Octo-ber of 2008. We are so excited about this that we want to tell you the story of where we are today especially since the Folk Art Trail anticipates over 100,000 visitor throughout Maine.
First, a little history lesson:
Bridgton was a major center of wealth and art in the early 1800s, for which there has been little recognition in the historical art world. By exhibiting major pieces of folk art created in our area, we are changing the perception of Western Maine from being a wilderness to one of high accomplishment during this early period. We will have major art pieces by the best known artists of the period, including John Brewster, Jr., J.H. Davis, William Prior, John Mead and James Lombard, which will document the high quality of art produced in Bridgton. Accompanied by the well known images of art produced by Bridg-ton’s native son, Rufus Porter, the objects shown will have a long lasting impression on folk art collectors throughout the country.
We encourage you to visit the exhibit at the Rufus Porter Museum as well as the other 10 participating museums, and to recognize the role of Maine Heritage as among those creating the best of folk art in the country.
The participating museums include Colby College Mu-seum of Art (Waterville), Maine State Museum (Augusta), Maine Maritime Museum (Bath), Farnsworth Art Museum (Rockland), Penobscot Marine Museum (Searsport), Maine Historical Society (Portland), Muse-ums at Old York (York), Saco Museum (Saco), Bates College Art Museum (Lewiston), Sabbathday Lake Shaker Museum (New Gloucester) and the Rufus Porter Museum (Bridgton).
2009 TASHA TUDOR
Photo copyright Richard Brown
The Rufus Porter Museum will open for its fifth sea-son on June 24, featuring an exhibit of over 50 original works of art by Tasha Tudor. Tasha (1915-2008) was as well known for her lifestyle and her decorative arts as for the 100 books she illustrated. This will be a well-rounded exhibit of her life and will include original art, first edition books, and her costumes. Books, prints, videos, cards and collectibles will be offered in a special sale room in the house next to the museum.
Tasha was a self-taught New England artist working primarily in watercolors whose career began in 1939 with the publication of “Pumpkin Moonshine.” She illustrated life in the 1830s in her books, which illuminated the life she created for herself, raising her children on a New Hampshire farm with no electricity or running water. Her independent way of life has inspired fans worldwide to plan their own lives in a way that brings them contentment. Her books have been passed down for several generations to enjoy.
2010 SCHOOLGIRL DECORATIVE ART
A special loan of over 50 pieces of original decorative art created by schoolgirl students in the early 1800s will enhance the Museum in the coming season. Co-curated by Linda Lefko and Julie Lindberg, there are simple beginning pieces along with advanced artistic examples of the highest quality including freehand watercolors, theorems, memorials, needlecraft, samplers, valentines and friendship tokens. Classes and discussions will be offered enabling visitors to understand the history of schoolgirl art and the role it played in advancing the desire for decorative arts in everyday life. Classes in decorative arts were part of the curriculum in schools everywhere, but especially in New England.
2011 Special Exhibit
Folk Art on High
19th Century Decorative Weathervanes
A collection of historic New England weathervanes will be our loan exhibit in 2011, which will be of great interest to collectors and historians. Primarily copper molded animal forms from Massachusetts, the exhibit will be a great accompaniment to our famous Bridgton vanemaker, James Lombard, who fashioned roosters with elegant tails from pine wood. The Museum has two examples of his on permanent display, and the local home owned by the Bridgton Historical Society, Narramissic, has another example.
Vanes not only were used as weather indicators, but are considered sculptural art and are in high demand by folk art collectors. During the 19th Century, they topped public and private buildings throughout New England, but are mostly found inside today due to their value as historical objects. The exhibit will include great examples of original surface.
In addition, portraits from the famous William Prior School of artists originally located in Portland will be featured.