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Catalog entry

inv. 63
Brace's Rock
1864
Oil on canvas
15 1/8 x 10 in. (38.4 x 25.4 cm)
No inscription found
Private collection, Boston, Mass.

The Braces Rock Series

The Brace’s Rock series of paintings is thought to comprise Lane’s last dated oils, painted in the fall and winter of 1863–64, not long before his death in August of 1865. Paintings of unusual peace and harmony, they present a fitting finale to Lane’s evolution as a painter. Each one is as much an ode to the bittersweet recollections of a late summer afternoon as it is a depiction of a familiar Gloucester landmark. Lane accomplished this without abandoning any of his fidelity to accurate depiction of place, season, and time of day.

Numerous writers have noted the symbolism of the decaying hull foundered on the rocks and the ebbing tide as markers of Lane's awareness of his own mortality. The paintings evoke an inescapable feeling of ennui in the preternatural calm of the sea, the limpid humidity of the still atmosphere, and the pink glow of the late afternoon sun off Brace's Rock. Knowing that these are Lane's last paintings, done in failing health in his studio throughout the course of his last winter, the viewer cannot escape the feeling that these paintings were a eulogy to his beloved Gloucester shoreline. Read on »

Related Work in the Catalog

Provenance (Information known to date; research ongoing.)

Alice deV Clarke (née Alice deVermandois Sohier)
Susan L. Clarke
Private collection, Boston, Mass.

Exhibition History

National Gallery of Art, Washington, District of Columbia, American Light: The Luminist Movement, 1850–1875, February 10–June 15, 1980.
National Gallery of Art, Washington, District of Columbia, Paintings by Fitz Hugh Lane, May 15–September 5, 1988., no. 21, ill. in color, 37, as Brace's Rock.
Traveled to: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass., October 5–December 31, 1988.

Published References

Wilmerding, John, ed. American Light: The Luminist Movement, 1850–1875. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1980., fig. 74, p. 81.
Wilmerding, John. "American Light: The Luminist Movement, 1850–1875; An Exhibition at the National Gallery of Art." Antiques 117 (April 1980).
Wilmerding, John. Paintings by Fitz Hugh Lane. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art; in association with Harry N. Abrams, 1988., ill. in color p. 37 cat. 21, as Brace's Rock.
Wilmerding, John. "Fitz Henry Lane & Mary Blood Mellen." American Art Review 19, no. 4 (2007)., pp. 171, 176.

Related historical materials

Cape Ann Locales
Vessel Types
Citation: "Brace's Rock, 1864 (inv. 63)." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. http://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/catalog/entry.php?id=63 (accessed December 19, 2018).
Record last updated April 7, 2017. Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
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