Gifford Beal, Hauling Nets, 1930, drypoint. Gift of the Estate of Gifford Beal, Courtesy of Kraushaar Galleries, New York, 2014.98
In 1923, Gifford Beal, a life-long New Yorker who previously preferred to work during the warmer months of the year at his family’s home in Newburg on the Hudson River, took to summering in Rockport, a fishing village on the northeast coast of Massachusetts. The new venue inspired a major shift in his painting. The impressionist-inspired approach Beal had adopted under the influence of his teacher, William Merritt Chase, gave way to a more earnest form of realism reflecting a heightened level of respect for the working men and women of the area.
The impetus for the exhibition is a painting by Beal that was acquired in 2014 with funds raised by the Friends of the Palmer Museum of Art, titled After the Storm, from c. 1930, in which lobster fishermen scour the shore for traps and buoys that have been scattered by a gale. The canvas is accompanied by a selection of prints and drawings featuring images of Rockport’s fishing industry, all recent gifts from the estate of Gifford Beal made through the efforts of Kraushaar Galleries, which gave the artist his first solo exhibition in 1920 and thereafter served as his dealer for the remainder of his career.