The Coastal Art Collection of Charles and Irene Hamm
Mystic, Conn. (May 5, 2016) – For the past several decades, Charles and Irene Hamm have dedicated their time and resources to developing a renowned art collection focused on American coastal art. This spring the Hamm’s labor of love will be displayed at Mystic Seaport in “Over Life’s Waters: The Coastal Art Collection of Charles and Irene Hamm,” an exhibition on loan from The New Britain Museum of American Art opening May 21, 2016.
The exhibition consists of 63 works of art in a variety of media, spanning two centuries of American coastal art and featuring such noted artists as William Partridge Burpee (1846-1940), Sears Gallagher (1869-1955), Rockwell Kent (1882-1971), and Paul Pollaro (b. 1921). Visitors may recognize some familiar scenes, as the exhibition highlights several of the most inspirational destinations for artists, notably Monhegan and Mount Desert Islands in Maine and Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Each work in the collection and exhibition has been handpicked by Charles and Irene Hamm. When forming their coastal art collection, the couple decided they would collect works by American painters, alive or dead, in any medium, of any time, which attracted their eyes and emotions. Unlike most collectors who decide to focus on specific periods or styles, the Hamms have embraced painters working from the early 19th century right through to the present day in an exceptionally wide variety of media and manners.
To state that the Hamms have been passionate about the sea would be both accurate and revelatory. Charles was born in Brooklyn Heights, a stone’s throw from New York’s East River. Irene’s life as a native Floridian was shaped by her proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. In his youth, Charles studied art, and one of his own paintings, Sunset at Home, 2006, appears in the exhibition. Together, the Hamms have sailed along several continents and enjoyed owning a series of both sail and power boats. Longtime supporters of Mystic Seaport, where Charles presently serves as a trustee, their Connecticut residence on Long Island Sound near Mystic was designed to display their coastal art collection and maximize their views and feeling of connection to the water.
“We are honored to feature this exhibit of the Charles and Irene Hamm collection, because not only is it a moving examination of coastal subjects, but the individual examples by some of the most accomplished artists of the 19th and 20th centuries are of exceptional quality,” said Mystic Seaport President Steve White. “We believe this exhibit captures the essence of the ocean and enables visitors to grasp the fundamental significance of coastal waters and how the Atlantic has shaped America.”
“Over Life’s Waters” will be on display through January 16, 2017, in the R.J. Schaefer Building.
About Mystic Seaport
Mystic Seaport is the nation’s leading maritime museum. Founded in 1929, the Museum is home to four National Historic Landmark vessels, including the Charles W. Morgan, America’s oldest commercial ship and the last wooden whaleship in the world. The Museum’s collection of more than two million artifacts includes more than 500 historic vessels and one of the largest collections of maritime photography in the country. The state-of-the-art Collections Research Center at Mystic Seaport provides scholars and researchers from around the world access to the Museum’s renowned archives. Mystic Seaport is located one mile south of Exit 90 off I-95 in Mystic, CT. Admission is $26 for adults and $17 for children ages 6-17. Museum members and children 5 and under are admitted free. For more information, please visit https://mysticseaport.wpengine.com/ and follow Mystic Seaport on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.