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Welcome to Fitz Henry Lane Online

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 material. The website is intended to provide information of interest to a broad audience, and to serve as a resource for information and analysis of Lane’s work. The website focuses on both the formal, aesthetic qualities and provides detailed information on the historical context of his pictures. For more see About the Project.

News:

Unfurling Fitz Henry Lane

Unfurling Fitz Henry Lane from Cape Ann Museum on Vimeo.

Fitz Henry Lane’s paintings are transcendental works of light and air. But they are also treasured accounts of Gloucester’s fishing and trade industries. Erik Ronnberg is a master ship model maker, renowned maritime historian, and Maritime Curator at the Cape Ann Museum, which created the Fitz Henry Lane Catalogue Raisonné. Erik Ronnberg has been critical to expanding the Catalogue Raisonné into almost a three-dimensional experience of mid-19th century Gloucester.
Watch this short film exploring how Fitz Henry Lane’s and Erik Ronnberg’s meticulous attention to detail bring 19th century Gloucester to life.

Unknown Lane Watercolor Discovered at an Auction in Belgium

A watercolor of a ship in rough seas
Three Master in Rough Seas (Watercolor), c.1856 (inv. 795)

This work is a recent discovery as of 2022, a slightly smaller watercolor version of the dynamic small oil, Three Master in Rough Seas, 1856 (inv. 4), in the collection of the Cape Ann Museum. This painting was acquired at a recent auction in Belgium as an unknown work. Gallery labels on the back show that it was at some point sold through the Max Bine Gallery in Paris which was active from 1914–1930. Lane did very few watercolors; we have not seen him use the medium as preparatory works for oils where one would expect a looser technique as he worked out ideas. The brushwork here is very precise and he doesn’t use washes or scumbles as is typical in preparatory works. He appears to be copying his oil original as the composition and details precisely follow the oil painting.

The original oil went directly from Lane’s studio to the Stacy family in Gloucester where it descended until given to the Cape Ann Scientific, Literary and Historical Association in 1948. This watercolor version is unrecorded—perhaps Lane did it for a friend as all his commissions we know of were for oil paintings, as was typical of the time. The paper is a fairly smooth, off-white paper, not a heavy or wove paper as one would expect for a watercolor commission. It is painted right to the edges of the paper, again atypical of a commission, where a border would be expected as Lane used in the watercolor Shooting Seabirds, c.1842 (inv. 789). How it got to Paris in the early 1900s remains a mystery.

– Sam Holdsworth

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Explore works in the Catalog using the Interactive Feature

Brig "Antelope" in Boston Harbor, 1863 (inv. 43)

Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Bequest of Martha C. Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815–1865 (48.449)
Gloucester Harbor from Rocky Neck, 1844 (inv. 14)

Collection: Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Mrs. Jane Parker Stacy (Mrs. George O. Stacy), 1948 (1289.1a)
Gloucester Harbor, 1852 (inv. 38)

Collection: Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Deposited by the City of Gloucester, 1952. Given to the city by Mrs. Julian James in memory of her grandfather Sidney Mason, 1913 (DEP. 200)
Ten Pound Island, Gloucester, 1850s (inv. 17)

Collection: Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Bessie Stanwood, 1948 (1238)
Salem Harbor, 1853 (inv. 53)

Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Bequest of Maxim Karolik (64.465)
Boston Harbor, c.1850 (inv. 48)

Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815–1865, by exchange (66.339)
Fresh Water Cove from Dolliver's Neck, Gloucester, Early 1850s (inv. 45)

Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Bequest of Martha C. Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815–1865 (48.445)
Gloucester Harbor, 1847 (inv. 23)

Collection: Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Estate of Samuel H. Mansfield, 1949 (1332.20)

» Browse all the works in the catalog.

» Browse works by type:
Paintings  //  Drawings  //  Prints

» See Fitz Henry Lane works on view at the Cape Ann Museuminteractive features.

Historical Materials

Subscription List and Mailing for "Castine, From Hospital Island" 1855
Noah Brooks' Library

Historical Materials:
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Brooks, Noah » 
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Historic Photographs »

1859 Cape Ann Advertiser 12.2.1859
Water bucket from ship "Boston"

Historical Materials:
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"Boston" (Packet Ship) » 
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Objects »

Browse all Historical Materials »

The Cape Ann Museum is grateful to the following organizations for their support of Fitz Henry Lane Online:
Wyeth Foundation for American Art National Endowment for the Arts Institute of Museum and Library Science Thomfohrde Foundation Danversbank Charitable Foundation
Citation: "Welcome." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. http://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/homepage.php (accessed May 21, 2022).
Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
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