The initial visual that comes to mind when thinking of Bermuda is blue water, white roofs and pink sands. Imagine if you could see this visual, while in Bermuda, illustrated by major artists such as Winslow Homer, Georgia O’Keefe, Charles Demuth, Jack Bush, Andrew Wyeth, and Albert Gliezes, amongst others. The Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art has mounted an extraordinary show of their permanent collection, which pulls out all the stops. The major works organized is a curatorial triumph on the main floor as well as the upstairs loft.
After having a roving home in its early years, the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, found its permanent location in the Botanical Gardens at Camden House, the official residence of the premier. The museum belongs to the people of Bermuda and the mission statement of the museum is to preserve the permanent collection while continuing to build an important collection to celebrate Bermuda’s culture and intrinsic beauty.
One of the highlights of the show for me was to see works by the modernist Charles Demuth, who I typically associate with urban cityscapes and Marsden Hartley, who I usually associate with early modernist abstraction. In the museum collection, we’re privy to early works by both artists from their visit to the island in the winter of 1917. On view are islandscapes by Demuth and modernist precursors by Hartley, with a Bermuda palette of pinks. I’m always fascinated by the affect an environment has on an artist. Not only in terms of color, but also the lifestyle reflective of surroundings typically associated with a relaxed mind and body. The island has always been known for its intoxicating ability to alter ones approach to life and living, to instill calm and contentment. This becomes very evident when viewing these two great artist’s works inspired and brought to life by the island of Bermuda.
As the artists found their way to the Bermuda beaches, I highly recommend a stop at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art during your travels. The best way to understand the Homer painting of Bermuda is by viewing the painting after walking through the streets with the sunlight bouncing off the white roofs, the array of colorful houses exciting your visual palette, and having just seen the water lapping against the Bermuda coast.