Over Life’s Waters: The Coastal Art Collection of Charles and Irene Hamm
January 31, 2015–April 12, 2015
Richard and Virginia McKernan Gallery
William Partridge Burpee, Swampscott Dory, 1891, Oil on canvas, 18 X 24 in., Collection of Charles J. and Irene Hamm
This winter, the New Britain Museum of American Art proudly showcases the Hamm’s labor of love in the exhibition, Over Life’s Waters: The Coastal Art Collection of Charles and Irene Hamm. Ninety-three of the Hamm’s American coastal collection will be on view, including works by noted artists Thomas Hart Benton (1889–1975), William Braford (1823–1892), William Partridge Burpee (1846–1940), Sears Gallagher (1869–1955), Rockwell Kent (1882–1971), and Paul Pollaro (b. 1921). The exhibition will highlight several scenic seascapes including Old Mystic, Connecticut, Swampscott, Massachusetts, Monhegan, Maine, and New York Harbor.
As avid sailors and marine enthusiasts, each coastal work in the collection and exhibition has been handpicked by the Hamms. When forming their collection, the couple opted to collect works by American painters, alive or dead, in any medium that attracted their eyes and emotions. Together, the Hamms have sailed along several continents and have enjoyed cruising the New England and Northwest coasts. Their Connecticut residence on the Long Island Sound has been designed to display their coastal art collection and maximize their views and sense of the water.
Over Life’s Waters: The Coastal Art Collection of Charles and Irene Hamm will allow visitors an opportunity to grasp the fundamental significance of coastal waters and how the Atlantic has shaped America. The Hamms have generously gifted the Museum their entire coastal art collection, consisting of 165 paintings, and $1 million to the Art and Education Expansion Project. The Charles and Irene Hamm Gallery will be constructed in the new wing, set to open in the fall of 2015, and paintings from the Hamm Collection will be installed throughout the galleries. The Museum is profoundly thankful to Charles and Irene Hamm for their extreme generosity and thoughtfulness.