American Treasures: Small Treasures

  • Paul Manship, Europa and the Bull, 1924, Bronze on Marble, 10 1/2" x 7 7/8" x 12 7/8", museum purchase, 1945
  • Thomas Eakins  (1844-1916) Study for The Thinker, 1900 Oil on paper adhered to wood panel  14 x 10 inches Gift of Gifford A. Cochran, 1962
February 16, 2013 - February 16, 2014
Library Gallery

A work of art need not be grand in scale to have an impact, and sometimes that impact is made all the more powerful because of what the artist is able to achieve within a relatively small amount of space. This exhibition features a selection of pieces from the museum’s collection that demonstrate that big is not necessarily better. The small scale of the works in this show evolved from various concerns on the part of their makers. Thomas Eakins’ Study for the Thinker, for example, was consciously made as a way of testing out a compositional idea that would later be incorporated into a larger finished painting. Robert Henri’s painting, Monhegan Island, on the other hand, was done quickly and as a means of capturing the essential character of a place at a specific moment, perhaps to be expanded later into a larger painting, but perhaps not. Others, like Paul Manship’s bronze, Europa and the Bull, were intended to be fully self-sufficient, simply a realization of ideas carried out in small scale. Perhaps most intriguing about the works gathered together here is how they reward close looking.


American Treasures consists of several related exhibitions: Small Treasures, Other Voices, Maine Voices (opens May 18), and three that will open on June 1: New Visions, New Languages; Visions of the Land and Sea; and Family and Friends. The overarching exhibition will celebrate Maine’s role in American art by displaying the very best among the over 13,000 works in the museum’s collection. On view, through a series of themed exhibitions, will be paintings, photographs and sculpture by many of America’s most important artists.


American Treasures is sponsored by: A.E. Sampson & Son, Houses & Cottages by Eric E. Allyn, The Grasshopper Shop of Rockland, Wickham Skinner Fund, and an anonymous gift
The Primary Media Sponsor of American Treasures is Maine Home + Design





Community Partners for American Treasures include Breakwater Vineyards and  Fixtures Designer Plumbing Showroom.

Additional support provided by: Bar Harbor Bank & Trust; Cafe Miranda, Carol Emery, Esquire; Country Inn at Camden/Rockport; Maine Coast Construction; Silverio Architecture & Design; and Waterman’s Beach Lobster.