Mid-coastal wags used to say, “See Camden, smell Rockland,” a pointed commentary on the latter’s rough fishing-industrial port. No more. Rockland’s streets are now lined with galleries, shops and restaurants, and at the center of this vibrant revival is the Farnsworth Art Museum, one of the finest regional museums I have had the pleasure to visit.
While its stated purpose is to celebrate “Maine’s role in American art,” its holdings reflect a global taste. That said, it has one of the best collections of Wyeth works in the world, the artists N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth all having had deep roots in Maine. The Farnsworth’s Wyeth Center, housed in a former Methodist church across from the main building, is a splendid space. There, the downstairs galleries are chiefly devoted to N.C. Wyeth, and those upstairs to Jamie Wyeth. An extensive collection of temperas, watercolors, drybrush paintings and drawings by Andrew Wyeth is on display in the main building. Nearby, a Victorian house contains a research facility with materials relating to all three Wyeth generations.
The Farnsworth also has a collection of works by the sculptor Louise Nevelson (who grew up in Rockland), paintings by American Impressionists Childe Hassam and Frank Benson, landscapes by Thomas Eakins and Winslow Homer, and 20th-century works by Rockwell Kent, Edward Hopper and others. The weather in Maine can change in an instant. When it turns against you, the Farnsworth is a worthy diversion.
Free of advertising since its inception in June 1979, Hideaway Report is a private monthly publication for sophisticated travelers. The selection of hotels, resorts and restaurants for inclusion in this publication is made on a completely independent basis, with Andrew Harper, LLC paying full rate for all meals, lodging and related travel expenses. Andrew Harper and his editors travel incognito to write candid and unbiased travel reviews for a subscription service, which provides personalized travel-planning assistance, bespoke tours and valuable travel privileges to its subscribers. For questions regarding this article please contact email@example.com.