Selections on arts, culture & history from a dealer's perspective 

Content and photos (1986-2024) © Catherine Ryan cryanaid.com

Illustrations reminder: You can pinch and zoom to enlarge (and select “full size” image if that option shows). Click on arrow to expand field. 

 Good Morning Gloucester

August 26, 2023

 Was Lassie on Edward Hopper's Mind in 1939?

by Catherine Ryan

"...The short story is set in England and opens with a small family of three in recurring and searing pain: Two parents who have fallen on hard times and are under great emotional strain struggle to comfort their only child because they sold the family dog... If not Lassie herself, it’s tempting to consider the intergenerational communication and couple dynamics explored in Knight’s story as themes Hopper noticed, too..." continue reading or PDF

"...Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence at the MFA, lays out 100 examples of Katsushika Hokusai’s lifework in every period, genre, and medium, his famous woodblock series, new discoveries and rarities, and the Japanese and Western cultural exchanges that impacted his own practice. About 200 works of art by other artists spanning 200+ years demonstrate a sample of Hokusai’s relevance and inspiration to artists he knew or taught, and to artists and movements, generation by generation and around the globe, since his death..." continue reading


Good Morning Gloucester 2013 

Edward Hopper: House by 'Squam River   

by Catherine Ryan


"There are several Edward Hopper examples in the collection of The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, including this beauty, the 1926 House by ‘ Squam River . Can you name its Gloucester location? There are notes indicating that it’s in the general direction heading into Annisquam. IT’S NOT. I admit to clinging to this suggested area with some unreasonable hope because of personal bias (my parents lived on Wheeler’s Point for 30 years and the charm and power of those panoramic vistas)…"  Continue

Mary Ryan Gallery | Susan Sheehan Gallery


Très Complémentaires: The Art and Lives of Ethel Mars and Maud Hunt Squire

by Catherine Ryan

"...Looking back with a hundred years of distance, we can only begin to imagine how talented, determined and adventurous Ethel Mars and Maud Hunt Squire must have been. Coming from mid-western families (Mars's of very modest financial means) they left home at a young age and attended one of the top art schools in the United States where, though they were women, they were among the best students. Throughout their lives they sought out the most exciting artistic milieus wherever they were to be found, whether near Gertrude Stein in 1906, Provincetown in the great summer of 1915 or along the south of France in the 1920s--even in the midst of two World Wars..." 

Catalogue design: Amy Bernstein. Special thanks to  David Hamill.

"Come on inside the Virginia Lee Burton Writing Cottage which was once the acclaimed artist’s former studio of her own. Virginia Lee Burton’s personal studio was rescued and nestled into the Lanesville Community Center property. The center’s clubhouse and grounds, established in 1954, seem to be the ideal spot for a summer rec program, even more so now. As one enters the cottage through the custom built door, there’s a brand new window straight ahead where the stove and chimney – and asbestos– had been. Virginia Lee Burton needed a wood stove. Today’s visitors won’t. New materials and insulation make the cottage cozy and warm..." Continue

Good Morning Gloucester

June 2021

Privy to Privy History: Digging Outhouses! Reader Asks What Did People Do Back in the Day?

The evolution of outhouses and public utilities with a history and timeline specific to Gloucester, Massachusetts, and an emphasis on art and public works.

by Catherine Ryan

Gloucester Outhouses in American Paintings. Artists: Edward Hopper, Stuart Davis, Mabel Dwight and more (excerpt 1 Aug. 2021)

Outhouses in American Photographs: Victorian Age - Early 20th C including Lee Russell, Carl Mydans, Walker Evans (excerpt 2)

"Catherine, you have left me speechless.  Has anyone, anyplace ever done such an in-depth study of three hundred years of sanitation (or lack of).  From the artistic angle to the health angle I can't imagine that you missed anything either local or national.  From Mount Vernon's privy to Babson's privy and everything in between you got it in there!"- Prudence Fish, June 6, 2021 

"...The variable terrain of Cape Ann impacted outhouse design. If a farmer didn't own enough land with suitable soil, they might opt for a basic "dig, bury & move" or "slide & fill" solution, rotating the outhouse footprint after it filled--faster with a bigger family--like a handheld number slide puzzle.

When digging a deep enough pit latrine was not an option, or the property was solely ledge, mucking out with rake and spreading ashes (later lime) was necessary. Waste and refuse was portable. Compost could be used for backyard gardens. Whether collected from a vault hatch, pail & sawdust, custom cabinet drawer, bucket & lid sanitary ware, or chamber pot, it did not matter. Filth, euphemistically "night soil", could be dropped off or conveyed (eventually with a license only, and limited by off season dates) to designated collection sites near and far, sold, or even stolen--as late as 1915--see below! 

Those who could afford to hired help or contracted with a subscription company. Municipalities like Gloucester had line items in the budget for waste collection, incineration and plumbing inspectors: These were thriving businesses.

Prior to sanitary reform in Gloucester and all of Cape Ann, the surrounding streams, marsh and ocean were availed as unmitigated dumps. The natural topography of Gloucester--all that water! all those hills!--was considered an enviable benefit for city infrastructure and street plans, and likely delayed the city's modern sewer system. (When public water carriage lines were introduced they could flow downhill into the harbor from densely populated areas or directed into the sea anywhere along the coast, whether for public or private owners. Out of sight. Out of mind.) Dilution was the solution.

Efforts to improve municipal services--to manage public and private waste to keep it out of the water table--were increased. Separate water and sewer lines would be regulated; eventually outhouses were a thing of the past and (quality) food scrap or compost value from home garbage was reduced to nil. You have to skip ahead a full century to find the Gloucester Harbor Clean Harbor swim milestone.

Below is a chronology illustrated with famous vs. local American outhouses, and a **selection** of Gloucester's sewer and sanitation milestones. I've written a fair amount about Gloucester art and public works so a few links are provided for those as well. You have to love Public Works..."  continue

 Good Morning Gloucester


Art Review: Peabody Essex Museum | Hasten to Hassam

Charles Hassam survey

by Catherine Ryan

"...Since the Gloucester drawing was marked ‘Providence’, I knew the drawing was done long before the 1923 construction. I tentatively dated the schematic ca.1910. Thankfully Thomas Warren Sears was a photographer, too. Turns out that this image is a Sears’ photograph of a lovely Sears’ design. The glass negative is dated 1908 which squares with his professional career timeline..."

 Good Morning Gloucester

May 2, 2019

Where have all the lighthouse foghorns gone?

by Catherine Ryan

 Good Morning Gloucester

October 31, 2018

 Salem Witch Trials End with Esther Elwell, from Gloucester, Sarah Jessica Parker's Ancestor

with background about witches in Gloucester 

by Catherine Ryan

With the addition of the Hank Willis Thomas monument commission to the Kings, Embrace (2022), three centuries of striving for equality-- now including a tribute to a woman* (rather than an allegory for the spirit of Freedom) are located on the Boston Commons within sight of the State House. 

Mary Ryan Gallery | Susan Sheehan Gallery

 Ada Gilmore (1883-1955)- The summer of 1915 Provincetown  Watercolors

Curator, Catherine Ryan

All watercolors were made in the spring and summer of 1915 in Provinctown, Mass. Each one is postcard size and tipped on a paper support with hand painted border by the artist.

Mary Ryan Gallery


Edna Boies Hopkins: Provincetown Color Woodblock Prints 1900-1923   

Co-Curator. Essay, Chronology, Research by Catherine Ryan

First Hopkins solo exhibition retrospective since the 1920s. Co-curator, essay, chronology, research- Catherine Ryan

"...Because of her zealous commitment to detail and process a print would sometimes be in the development stages for many years. "Hollyhocks", for instance, is derived from pencil sketches made in her father's garden in the United States and watercolors that she made in Claude Monet's garden over an 8-year period (through her husband, James, Edna befriended Monet and, according to her notes, his garden was the source of many of her prints.) She combined the various watercolors and drawings in a series of 10 thumbnail sketches from which she chose the final composition for the print. From that point she made several detailed graphic studies, watercolors, and a final black and white watercolor that indicated the tonalities of the finished print. All of this had to be done before she could begin to carve the block..." excerpt

Berkshire Art Museum Deaccession & lawsuit coverage

 Good Morning Gloucester

Oct. 21, 2017-2019

Art & Law: Berkshire Museum Controversy | Deaccession and Lawsuit | Norman Rockwell Shuffleton's Barbershop 

photos and coverage ©Catherine Ryan 

Oct 21, 2017 Will Pittsfield museum be the pits? Last ditch attempts to keep the art in …

Oct 31, 2017 Berkshire Museum Nailbiter- Healy halts Sotheby’s…some …

Nov 2, 2017 Emergency Motion! Berkshire Museum dramatic courtroom hearing

Nov 8, 2017  Berkshire Museum Can Sell ALL art | Judge Agostini Okays Sotheby’s Auction

Nov 10, 2017 Attorney General Appeals @BerkshireMuseum Judge Agostini Decision, & Sotheby’s Sale is Halted. INJUNCTION!

November 11, 2017 - Return of the Magnificent 7: Healy Halts Sotheby's from Selling Berkshire Museum art

November 13, 2017 - Sotheby's Auction Tanked as Berkshire Museum Art yanked & Paul Manship Sculpture Soared Past Estimate.  

November 20, 2017 - Sotheby's 21st Auction a Tale of Two AGOs: Berkshire Museum on Hold, but James Prendergast Library a Go. (Update Nov. 21, 2017: James Prendergast Library only sold 3 at Sotheby's..)

Feb 5, 2018- Breaking News: Joint statement from #BerkshireMuseum and Office of the Attorney General Shuffling to Single Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court 

Feb. 9, 2018 - Cy Pres and Money: Berkshire Museum AGO Greenlight Sale & Cue Up Massachusetts SJO (See summary, and I speculate Lucas as contender for ultimate acquisition)

Feb. 12, 2018 - Massachusetts Attorney General Assent Letter for Berkshire Museum

March 12, 2018- What will Justice Lowy decide. And the room where it happens. Last stop for Berkshire Museum Docket SJ-2018-065 at John Adams Courthouse Boston Supreme Court. Includes photos Amici | Amicus Curiae

March 15, 2018 - Breaking News: This Isn't Just Another Lost Cause. Justice Lowy Has Scheduled a Hearing for Berkshire Museum Litigation

March 20, 2018 - Doors Open for the Berkshire Museum Case. John Adams Courthouse. #BERKSHIREMUSEUM  *Catherine Ryan, Court appointed photographer.

March 22, 2018 - Justice Lowy to Berkshire Museum Attorney Lee at Massachusetts Supreme Court: "So in other words, I have to tell you, I'm watching two different movies."  

"...At high noon on March 20, 2018, in Courtroom 2 of the John Adams Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts, Justice David Lowy presided over the ongoing Berkshire Museum deaccession litigation. Four attorneys, two for each side, were summoned before the Massachusetts Supreme Court to argue positions..."

March 28, 2018 Roundup of Updates from Save the Art / Save the Museum and other arts coverage

March 29, 2018 - Berkshire Museum Art Case: Mass Supreme Court Justice Lowy Allows Third Amicus Brief 

April 6, 2018 - What a Low Blow: Justice Lowy Clears Contested Berkshire Museum Art for Auction. Includes lengthy selection of Berkshire Museum historic highlights I culled in defense of the Museum's value in protecting and celebrating its fine arts collection. 

April 12, 2018 - And the Mystery Buyer of Berkshire Museum Shuffleton's Barbershop by Norman Rockwell is...Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. 

April 8, 2019 - Berkshire Eagle Receives 2019 JFK Commonwealth Award 

 Good Morning Gloucester

July 25,  2017

Art review: The Manships exhibition at Flatrock Gallery includes rare Paul Manship sculptures you could own. 

Featuring works by Paul Manship, John Manship, Margaret Cassidy


by Catherine Ryan

"...Another life cast that's for sale is this vividly detailed and lovely Perseus and Andromeda, 1965 ($39,000).  There's a rescue and great tension so effective with the mixed materials, florid and fascinating. There's poor Andromeda sacrificed by her mother Cassiopeia to appease Poseidon and beg off a sea monster. You can pick out the anger and emotion in that sea. The bag with Medusa's severed head was captivating, bounced just so, side quests are still to come after all. Don't miss the sword and winged sandals Hermes gave Perseus." Catherine Ryan

Gloucester art at Sotheby's. Stuart Davis Painting hints to memories and impressions of Gloucester, Paris, and New York, and 192 East Main St., 51 Mt. Pleasant Ave, and Romany Marie.

Day trip tips & photos. Concord Museum. Home of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Louisa May Alcott | home of Little Women Orchard House. Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau Walden Pond. Gropius House. Marcel Breuer House 1. Moon Hill Road. Decordova. Drumlin Farm.  Mass Film Map. Mass Modern Trail. Thoreau in Gloucester. Emerson in Gloucester. Alcott in Gloucester. Mass Modern in Gloucester.

 Good Morning Gloucester

 January 24, 2023

 Edward Hopper House in the Italian Quarter, 1923. Smithsonian 

by Catherine Ryan

“#16 Fort Square Road, Gloucester, MA. Turn around with your back to Gloucester harbor and face “Tony’s House” at the angle shown here. In the painting, note the hint of  city skyline lower left, and the slight  slope along the right of the harbor. The double house, chimneys, and outhouses were irresistible and inevitable subjects.” Catherine Ryan, 2010. 

2023 update: Shingles gone. The home was for sale in 2020, sold, and renovated. Blue cladding is recent. Photo with snow 1/24/2023. Note Birdseye in 2010 photos where Beauport Hotel is now. 

Good Morning Gloucester 

April 6, 2016

James Connolly (1868-1957) Irish American best selling author, active in Gloucester

Good Morning Gloucester

Rituals of Solace and Gratitude on Memorial Day. Poppies and Liet. Col. John M. McCrae's Poem In Flanders Fields   

by Catherine Ryan

Good Morning Gloucester

Nov. 2016

Dead Seal on Long Beach 


short form

Good Morning Gloucester

March 21, 2013

Review: Exploring Exhibits at Peabody Essex Museum  

by Catherine Ryan  

Good Morning Gloucester


Review:Ocean Liners Exhibit at Peabody Essex Museum  

by Catherine Ryan  

Cape Ann Beacon 

Artists Chosen to Create Public Art   

Cape Ann Chamber Annual Guide 2014      

Round Up of Top 2013 Local and National Art Stories