Monhegan Museum Acquires George Bellows Portrait of Museum Co-Founder as a Child
The Monhegan Museum of Art & History has acquired a 1914 painting by George Bellows (1882-1925) of Jacqueline “Jackie” Hudson (1910-2001) as a child. Jackie Hudson would later become a painter in her own right and a co-founder of the museum in 1968. The museum purchased the work at auction in July with funds donated by museum trustee Susan Bateson and her husband, Stephen S. Fuller, in honor of Edward L. Deci, director of the museum from 1984 to 2019. The painting will be on view at the museum during the summer of 2021.
“This amazing painting is an outstanding example of Bellows’s work on Monhegan and is a wonderful addition to the museum’s collection, which allows us to tell the stories of both the Monhegan art colony and also the founding of this institution,” said Robert Stahl, co-Director of the Monhegan Museum of Art & History. “We are extremely fortunate to count among our friends Susan Bateson and Stephen Fuller, and the museum cannot thank them enough for their incredible commitment and generosity.”
Jackie Hudson, the daughter of Monhegan artist Eric Hudson, was four years old when Bellows painted her portrait, probably in her father’s home overlooking Monhegan Harbor. Bellows also painted a companion portrait of her sister, Julie, at the same time, which is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Jackie was in the Bellows family until the death of George’s wife, Emma S. Bellows, in 1959. The painting was then acquired by an art collector from Bronxville, New York, named Max Dreyfus. Dreyfus gave the painting to his chauffeur, who recently died, and the painting came up for auction in July at Heritage Auctions of New York.
One of the most acclaimed American artists of his generation, George Bellows was drawn to the natural beauty and rocky coastline of Maine at the invitation of his teacher Robert Henri. Bellows first visited Monhegan in 1911 and spent several summers there. Fellow artists from that period who also worked on the island were Rockwell Kent, Edward Hopper, Randall Davey, and Leon Kroll. In the same year that Bellows participated in planning the groundbreaking 1913 Armory Show in New York, where many of his works were exhibited, he also painted Iron Coast, Monhegan, which Jacqueline Hudson donated to the museum in 1998. The next year, 1914—when Jackie was painted—was Monhegan’s tercentennial, and Bellows participated in the events surrounding the event, performing in the island’s band. Bellows was so enamored with the island that he painted 117 paintings in one year on Monhegan.
With Jackie, the Monhegan Museum’s collection now includes five Monhegan works by George Bellows. Following conservation this winter, the painting will be on view at the museum in the summer of 2021.
About the Monhegan Museum of Art & History
The Monhegan Museum of Art & History is located in the historic Monhegan Island Light Station, 12 nautical miles off the coast of Maine, and is a member of the Maine Art Museum Trail. Its mission is to steward and showcase art and artifacts that represent the collective values of the community and to communicate their meaning. The Lighthouse Keeper’s House contains exhibits of Monhegan’s history, and in the Assistant Keeper’s House an art gallery displays an annual art exhibition featuring the museum’s art collection, which spans more than 160 years. Additionally, the Rockwell Kent/James Fitzgerald Home and Studio, a member site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios program, presents a collection of works by Fitzgerald. The museum is open daily from June 24 through September 30, during which time the Kent/Fitzgerald Home and Studio are open two days a week and by appointment. For more information, visit www.monheganmuseum.org