Digest>Archives> Jan/Feb 2004

New Print to Benefit Lighthouse Museum


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Jamie Wyeth.
Photo by: Peter Ralston

World famous artist Jamie Wyeth has released a new print of his painting “Lighthouse Iris” to benefit fund raising for the new home of Maine’s Lighthouse Museum in Rockland, Maine.

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Ken Black, 80, “Mr. Lighthouse” from a photo ...

The new print was officially unveiled at the world famous Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland a few weeks ago as part of the ongoing fund raising to help move the museum to a new home on the city’s waterfront in this mid-coast Maine city, which is known around the world as the home of the nation’s largest lobster festival, its famous Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse and widely known Samoset Inn.

Jamie Wyeth’s artwork is on display in galleries around the world and he may be best known for his portraits of former presidents Kennedy and Carter, actor and now Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger and Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev. However, to New Englanders and especially Mainers, Wyeth, a third generation of renowned American artists, he is known for his Maine land and seascapes. He is the son of Andrew Wyeth who is one of our nations most popular painters and the grandson of Newell Convers Wyeth who became famous for his book illustrations.

In lighthouse circles, Wyeth is a hero of sorts, living in Maine’s restored Tenants Harbor Lighthouse, which his family has owned since 1978, and where he does much of his work. A number of years ago he released a print called “Iris at Sea” which was used as a major fund raiser to help pay the costs of the Maine Lights Program, which transferred over 30 Maine lighthouses to local government and non profit agencies, a program that evolved into the into the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000.

Fund raising for the new Maine Lighthouse Museum is under the direction of Philip Conkling and Peter Ralston, of the non profit Island Institute, which has led the way not only through the Maine Lights Program, which was their idea, to now making sure the largest and most valuable lighthouse lens collection in the United States is protected and properly displayed for future generations.

More recently Jamie Wyeth was instrumental in providing funding for the restoration of Maine’s Burnt Island Lighthouse, which is now open to the public as New England’s only living history lighthouse museum.

The Shore Village Museum, in Rockland, Maine was founded by former Coastguardsman Ken Black who spent the greater part of his lifetime amassing the largest collection of lighthouses lenses and lighthouse machinery in a museum in the United States. Last year the City of Rockland sold the building, which housed the museum, forcing a long overdue move of the crowded museum, which will change it’s name to Maine’s Lighthouse Museum when it opens at the new location later this year.

However, that move will be expensive, and neither the city nor the museum has the necessary funds to pay for such a massive move and the building of new displays. A new board, under the chairmanship of Philip Conkling, has undertaken the task of raising the money through various sources and means. “This is a great leap forward for the Maine Lighthouse Museum. It’s a beautiful painting and a profoundly meaningful contribution on Jamie Wyeth’s part,” said Conkling.

Your purchase of the Wyeth’s Lighthouse Iris will help the Maine Lighthouse Museum. Realizing the ever-increasing value of Wyeth’s prints it could also make for a wise investment for the future.

The new print titled “Lighthouse Iris” is limited to only 300 prints.

This story appeared in the Jan/Feb 2004 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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