An online project under the direction of the CAPE ANN MUSEUM
About the Project
Fitz Henry Lane Online is a freely-accessible interactive and interdisciplinary online resource created by the Cape Ann Museum. The website is organized around a catalog of the paintings, drawings, and lithographs of nineteenth-century American painter Fitz Henry Lane (1804–1865). The Cape Ann Museum, located in Gloucester, Massachusetts (Lane’s birthplace and home for most of his life) has the world’s largest collection of Lane’s paintings, drawings, lithographs, and related archival material. The website is intended to provide information of interest to a broad audience, and to serve as a resource for study of Lane’s work. The website focuses on both the formal, aesthetic qualities and the historical context of Lane's pictures.
Art-historical writing and scholarship on Lane only began in the late 1940s after his “re-discovery” from decades of obscurity after his death when American art tastes gravitated towards European and modern art. John I.H. Baur and Alfred Mansfield Brooks were some of the earliest writers on Lane, followed by John Wilmerding, who published the first monograph on Lane in 1964, followed by another in 1971, and culminating in the 1988 catalog of the comprehensive Lane exhibition at the National Gallery of Art. Barbara Novak, Theodore Stebbins, Franklin Kelly, Elizabeth Garrity Ellis, Earl Powell and others did groundbreaking work on all aspects of nineteenth-century American art, including Lane’s work. Wherever possible, particularly in the commentaries attached to each entry, we have tried to expose readers to this insightful and beautifully written work via quotations, references, or direct links to the original work, most of which is now out of print and hard to find. The goal of the project is to provide a resource of historical materials and past scholarship in order to encourage a new generation of scholars and historians to build upon it. One of the advantages of an online resource is that new information can be added at any time. It is intended that this site will evolve as writers, historians, and art scholars pursue new research and use this site as a forum and important resource for the work of Fitz Henry Lane and the related art and history of mid-nineteenth-century New England.
The catalogue raisonné component of Fitz Henry Lane Online will be a catalog of all Lane’s paintings, drawings, and lithographs. At the date of publication (February 15, 2016), this list includes over 300 works: all of the known paintings, drawings, and lithographs in public collections. As research continues, works from private collections will be added in increments as will more information on Lane’s student and sometime collaborator Mary Mellen.
With funding from the generous donors below, early conservation and curatorial work by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and conservation work donated by the Cleveland Museum of Art, the website now includes hundreds of high-resolution images, including details and conservation (infrared, x-ray, and magnified) images; provenance records; selected exhibition and literature histories; annotated entries for key works; and extensive historical materials related to the subjects of Lane’s pictures. This project could not have been launched without the tireless contributions of project and Cape Ann Museum staff and the wide circle of advisors and volunteers who have so generously devoted their time and expertise, for which we are ever grateful.
–Sam Holdsworth, Editor
Melissa Geisler Trafton
Authors (arranged alphabetically):
A. Sam Davidson
Meredith Massar Munson
Mary Rhinelander McCarl
Melissa Geisler Trafton
With gratitude to the following individuals and institutions who have shared their time and expertise with this project:
Lauren Hewes, Jackie Penny
Catharina Slautterback, Pat Boulos
Marcia Steele, Moyna Stanton, Joan Neubecker
Karen Quinn, Jean Woodward, Sue Bell
With gratitude to donors to the project:
Glenys and Kermit Birchfield
Ronda Faloon, Executive Director
Education and Programs
The Cape Ann Museum is grateful to the following organizations,
as well as to contributors to the Museum's capital campaign, for their support of the project.
This project was made possible in part by: