Past Exhibitions

COUNTERPOINT: Monhegan’s Artist Couples

Featuring artworks by Lynne Drexler & John Hultberg, Jan & William McCartin, Marvin Oberman & Arline Simon, and Reuben & Geraldine King Tam.

July 1 – September 30, 2023

The mid to late 20th century was a pivotal moment on Monhegan, when, following the end of the Second World War, modernist painters came to form the core of the island’s art community. Four artist couples came to Monhegan Island at this time: Reuben & Gerry Tam, Moe Oberman & Arline Simon, Jan & Bill McCartin, and Lynne Drexler & John Hultberg. These artists met and married in New York City, their paths converging either through their association with art schools or at gathering places for the avant-garde.

Feeling inspired by the place and welcomed by the people, they structured their lives to allow for extended stays on Monhegan year after year so that they would have time for their art. Some pushed the limits of the summer season, arriving as early as April or staying into October, while others made temporary or permanent commitments to year-round residency. Living as they did, in shared spaces and in close proximity while working on the island, their art related in counterpoint, like simultaneous melodies interwoven in a musical composition.

The artists showed their work in solo exhibitions and during open studio hours on Monhegan, but many also exhibited together as couples and with other Monhegan artists in Maine and in New York City. Through their commitment to their art, to each other and to the island they became a community. This exhibition explores how these eight artists became interconnected as partners, collaborators, neighbors and friends during the second half of the twentieth century.



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