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Portland Museum of Art

7 Congress Square
Portland, Maine

Phone: 207 775 6148 -- 1 800 639 4067

Statement of Purpose:

Celebrate art in Maine at the Portland Museum of Art, the state's oldest arts institution, founded in 1882.

The Museum's extensive collection of fine and decorative arts dates from the 18th century to the present. Works by Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Rockwell Kent, Marsden Hartley, and Andrew Wyeth showcase the unique artistic heritage of the United States and Maine.

The major European movements, from Impression through Surrealism, are represented by the Joan Whitney Payson, Albert Otten, and Scott M. Black collections, which include works by Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Edvard Munch, and Rene Magritte.

Special exhibitions complement these holdings. The Museum is housed in an award-winning building, which opened in 1983, designed by I. M. Pei & Partners. Visit today for an unparalleled look at the art of three centuries.

Highlights & Collections:

18th to 20th century American fine and decorative arts. Joan Payson Whitney Collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. Special exhibitions.




    The Portland Museum of Art has received a painting by internationally known artist Jenny Holzer from contemporary art collector Kevin Longe and his family, daughter Kathleen Marie Longe and son Kelly Patrick Longe. The painting, entitled Left Hand, is currently on view in the Museum’s third floor galleries. 


“This is a significant gift and the first major painting by Jenny Holzer to come into the Museum’s collection,” said Museum Director Mark H. C. Bessire. “We are thrilled with Kevin’s desire to bring great art to the Museum and to help us build a significant contemporary collection.”


Left Hand features an enormous handprint below an enigmatic hand-written inscription that gives the name of an Iraqi detainee who died in Abu Ghraib prison. Like other works in her Protect Protect series, Left Hand is taken from previously classified documents made public by the United States Government. When Holzer exhibited works from this series at the 2007 Biennale in Venice, she observed that, “People find them sad. The prints from the detainees are post-mortem, and it is ghastly to take a dead man’s hands and yank them down to make prints. That’s why those handprints are distorted.” While the subject matter is difficult, Holzer’s paintings have elements that are in the spirit of Pop and contemporary artists, such as Andy Warhol and Gerhard Richter, whose work raised difficult subjects to high art.

Holzer’s identity as an artist has been closely linked to her use of language, specifically aphorisms, that she carves in granite benches, displays as large LED signs, and projects in public spaces. In December 2010, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Nelson Social Justice Fund lecture series at the Portland Museum of Art, the Museum commissioned a projection by Holzer for the Museum’s façade. This site-specific work, For Portland , featured selections from the poetry of Nobel Prize-winner Wisława Szymborska. The projection was on view for one night only and was a crowd-stopper for downtown Portland. The Museum also owns a small set of Holzer sayings printed on wooden postcards, one of which reads: “Protect me from what I want.”


In presenting the gift to the Museum, Kevin said he chose the Portland Museum of Art for “its desire to build a contemporary collection for which this piece could serve as a cornerstone for attracting other internationally recognized art, the interest and enthusiasm of the museum staff and the Portland, Maine community in the arts, as well as the Museum’s emphasis on social justice through the Nelson Social Justice Fund. I wanted the painting, which was first exhibited at the 52nd Annual Venice Biennale, to go to a museum where it could have the greatest impact.”


K evin Longe is a avid supporter of the Portland Museum of Art and president of ThermoSafe Brands. In January 2010, along with the Jenny Holzer painting, Longe loaned the Museum three major works of contemporary art by Richard Serra and Ellsworth Kelly. The three works are all black and white and large in scale, with each featuring a distinctive surface that engages the visitor in different ways—politically, thematically, and aesthetically.


(Image credit: Jenny Holzer (United States, born 1950), Left Hand , 2007, oil on linen. Portland Museum of Art.)



Lois Dodd is best known for her works in which she paints the world around her—from her apartment windows in New York City to the woods and gardens of Maine and New Jersey. The exhibition Lois Dodd: Catching the Light is the first career retrospective for the painter and features more than 50 paintings from six decades. The exhibition will be on view January 17 through April 7, 2013, at the Portland Museum of Art.

Born in 1927 in Montclair, New Jersey, Dodd first moved to New York as a student at the Cooper Union. She studied there from 1945 to 1948, a time when New York emerged as the postwar art capital of the world and Abstract Expressionism flourished. In 1952, she was the only female co-founder of the Tanager Gallery, along with artists Philip Pearlstein and Charles Cajori, among others. Rather than turn to abstraction, minimalism, or Pop, Dodd has remained faithful to painting her immediate surroundings throughout her career, whether it be a country landscape or an interior view of her apartment.

Dodd was a key member of New York’s postwar art scene and later taught at Brooklyn College for 25 years. She also found a second home in Maine and became associated with the Lincolnville artists, including Alex Katz and Neil Welliver, before moving to Midcoast Maine where she has lived and painted for several decades.

Dodd was part of the wave of New York modernists to explore the coast of Maine in the later half of the 20th-century. Like Fairfield Porter, Rackstraw Downes, Alex Katz, and Neil Welliver, Dodd started spending her summers in Maine, beginning in 1951. Attracted by the inexpensive but rambling old farmhouses, endless woods, stone quarries, and the bright sunshine, Dodd and her fellow artists sought both companionship and escape from the demands of city life. At one time, Dodd shared a house with Alex Katz who refers to Dodd’s work as, “fresh, honest, direct” in the exhibition catalogue. To this day, Dodd can be found trekking through the fields and forests in her Maine environs with canvas and paint supplies in hand.


She often works en plein air, starting paintings on site in the woods or other location and finishing them in her studio. In her essay, exhibition curator Barbara O’Brien writes, “Her paintings are premised on the truth that she stood in this place, with the light casting shadows just so, the temperature of the air warm or cool, the sun warm against her face, protected by the brim of a straw hat; her fingers able to employ brush to linen against the wind of a New Jersey winter.” At times, her observations are so direct that she uses the window to frame her compositions, as seen in the exhibition’s View of Neighbors House in Winter.


Dodd often returns to the same location and views to explore at different times of day and times of year. Lois Dodd: Catching the Light includes views of a men’s shelter outside her Lower East Side apartment that become studies of light, architecture, and the city. In Men’s Shelter, April, 1968, one sees the verdant grass of spring with shadows cast by the surrounding architecture of the neighboring buildings, depicted through her flat blocks of color. Artist Will Barnet described Dodd’s work by noting that, “she has this broad imagery and also this ability to do different subjects and give them what was important in that particular moment. She has an extraordinary body of feeling about the possibility of imagery that can be so different from each other, yet each a work of art, which is not easy to do.”


Dodd is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Academy of Design, and a member of the board of governors for the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Among many honors, she recently was awarded the Benjamin West Clinedinist Memorial Medal in 2007 from the Artists’ Fellowship, Inc. and Cooper Union’s Augustus Saint-Gaudens Award for professional achievement in art in 2005. Her works can be found in museums including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri, and Portland Museum of Art, Maine, among others. Dodd currently resides in both New York and Maine.


The exhibition is curated by Barbara O’Brien, director and chief curator at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. Jessica May, Curator of Contemporary and Modern Art, will install the exhibition at the Portland Museum of Art. A scholarly catalogue accompanies the exhibition Lois Dodd: Catching the Light includes essays by Alison Ferris, Barbara O’Brien, and John Yau, and 51 color plates and 26 illustrations. In the essays, Ferris, curator at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, focuses on Maine and its influences on the artist’s work. O’Brien discusses the artist’s environment and subjects. Yau, poet, art critic, curator, and professor at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, examines her work in New York. The catalogue also includes personal reflections on the artist by Will Barnet, Frances Barth, Charles Cajori, Wolf Kahn, Alex Katz, Leslie Land, Mel Leipzig, Carl Little, Norma Marin, Elizabeth O’Reilly, and Philip Pearlstein. The catalogue is $40 and available in the PMA Store.


This exhibition was organized by the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri. Media sponsorship is provided by WCSH 6. 


(Image Credit: Lois Dodd, Men's Shelter, April, 1968, oil on linen, 47 1/2 x 39 1/4 inches; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri; Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection, Museum Purchase made possible by a gift from the Kemper Foundations.)




Lois Dodd in Conversation with Karen Wilkin

Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Holiday Inn By the Bay, Tickets: $10/Free for members. Purchase tickets at

This program features artist Lois Dodd in conversation with art critic Karen Wilkin. Lois Dodd was a key member of New York’s postwar art scene and part of the wave of New York modernists to explore the coast of Maine in the latter half of the 20th century. Dodd will be in conversation with Karen Wilkin, a regular contributor to The New Criterion, Art in America, and the Wall Street Journal and Contributing Editor for Art for the Hudson Review. The two will discuss the evolution of the art scene in New York and Maine, and the ways the two locations continue to inspire the artist. Afterward, Museum members are invited to join the opening celebration to the retrospective exhibition Lois Dodd: Catching the Light.


This program is made possible in part by the Beatrice Gilmore Fund for Museum Education.


Voices of Design: 25 Years of Architalx will showcase the power of design through an interactive exhibition featuring work of some of the world’s leading architects and designers. On view February 2 through May 19, 2013, at the Portland Museum of Art, Voices of Design will celebrate 25 years of Portland’s Architalx lecture series.  

Voices of Design will include a 17-foot-tall tower with three levels of images that alternately reveal themselves and disappear. A dynamic image projection will light up two sides of the tower by using projectors embedded in the interior of the tower and will feature infrared light sensors, creating touch interactivity for visitors. The visitors’ touch will cause a rippling response of images on a massive scale and connected to 12 architectural themes: Nature, Place, Expression, Material, Process, Responsibility, Light, Structure, Space, Craft, Optimism, and Culture.

On either side of the tower will be two 10-foot-tall sound portals with thematic audio clips from the Architalx lecture series. Through the use of “holosonic” technology for projecting tight beams of sound, the sound will be heard only by the person or persons in the portals.

The exhibition will highlight the cutting-edge work of leading architects and designers from around the world who have presented as part of the Architalx lecture series in Portland during the last 25 years, including: Glenn Murcutt, Rafael Moneo, Tod Williams, Billie Tsien, Peter Bohlin, Jim Cutler, Michael Van Valkenburgh, Ada Karmi-Melamede, Samuel Mockbee, Brian MacKay-Lyons, Brigitte Shim, Merrill Elam and Henry N. Cobb, among others.

The Voices of Design tower was designed by architects Tim Ventimiglia and Jennifer Whitburn of Ralph Appelbaum Associates, New York, with the multi-media interactivity created by the international team of Raphael DiLuzio, artist and Associate Professor of Design Science/Fine Art at the University of Southern Maine in Portland, as well as an Apple Distinguished Educator, and Matthias Oostrik, an interactive video artist based in Amsterdam, with contributions by Andrew Bradley, structural engineer with SMRT in Portland. Voices of Design was curated by Robert Wolterstorff, Director, Bennington Museum of Art, Vermont and John Turk, Principal, ttl-architects, LLC. 

Architalx is a non-profit volunteer organization established in 1987 for the purpose of providing educational programs in the field of architecture and design to Greater Portland and Maine. The mission of Architalx is to broaden the awareness and understanding of architecture, landscape architecture, and design by sponsoring activities which foster evocative and creative dialogue within the design community and with the general public. The Architalx board of directors is composed of design professionals and others interested in the built environment. For more information, visit

The Voices of Design exhibition underwriter is Marvin Windows and Doors, distributed by A. W. Hastings and Company. CBRE/The Boulos Company is a Visionary Voice of the exhibition. Sponsor Voices are Wright-Ryan Construction, Duratherm Window Company and Studio Mnemosyne. Patron Voices include SMRT, Inc., Doug Green, Green Design Furniture, and Heidi Dikeman, GoGo Design.  The media sponsor is Maine Home + Design. Voices of Design is a recipient of a 2011 Davis Family Foundation grant.


(Image credit: Ralph Appelbaum Associates)


This spring, the Portland Museum of Art will present From Portland to Paris: Mildred Burrage’s Years in France , an exhibition devoted to the work of Portland-born artist Mildred Burrage (1890-1983), who as a young aspiring painter traveled to Giverny, France in the early 1900s. On view April 21 through July 15, 2012, the exhibition will feature more than 70 works of art including paintings, drawings, and never-before-exhibited letters from a collection of works given to the Museum in the 1980s as well as works on loan from private collectors.


While Mildred Burrage was a prolific artist up until her death in 1983, this exhibition will celebrate the crucial, formative years (1909-1914) of her life when she traveled abroad and was introduced and exposed to modern European movements. There, Burrage trained her eye on the landscape, creating oil paintings and filling sketchbooks with images in her distinctive Impressionist style. She wrote copious letters to her family back in Maine, detailing her adventures and providing vivid accounts of the artists, dealers, and distinguished figures whom she encountered, including French artistic legend Claude Monet and avid collectors Gertrude and Leo Stein. The exhibition will reflect this unique time of innocence, ebullience, and optimism in Mildred Burrage’s life and career, and in the American and European psyche before the onset of the First World War.


Many of the letters in the exhibition, carefully transcribed by Maine State Historian and co-curator of the exhibition Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr., are delightfully annotated with drawings and watercolor sketches . The exhibition will also include a special display evocative of a turn-of-the-century artist’s studio and will feature works by other artists who painted in Giverny represented in the Museum’s permanent collection and on loan from private collectors.


Mildred Burrage took her first art classes from Portland artist Alice H. Howes. Encouraged by her family, Mildred continued her art studies at Miss Wheeler’s School in Rhode Island. Miss Wheeler owned a cottage in Giverny, France, and invited Mildred to spend the summer painting there in 1909. Under the direction of Miss Wheeler and other painters in the area, including American expatriate artist Richard Miller who became her mentor, she painted countless paintings and sketches of the landscape and of the French villagers whom she met. Her works reflect the influences and inspiration of Miller as well as Monet, with their portrayal of light and shadow, and use of fluid brushwork and bright natural colors. She exhibited her works in exhibitions in Paris as well as submitted them to exhibitions back in the States. She traveled widely throughout Europe until 1914 when the onset of the First World War brought her back to Maine.


Throughout her travels in Europe, Mildred enthusiastically recounted her adventures in postcards and letters which she sent to her parents and sister back in Maine. In a postcard from 1909, for instance, she described with delight a day in her life painting in Giverny:


"The river is a good deal wider than the Kennebec. It is the loveliest country you ever saw, the red brown roofs, the white houses, and the green fields. I have been painting all the morning, and we are just going to begin again. Tell mama Miss Wheeler said most encouraging things to me this morning…Probably we are going to Paris Sunday. Notre Dame. I hope we will be there for the music. I would give anything to have you here. It is so new and such fun. Heaps of love from M. "


While this exhibition will focus on the early moments in the artistic career of Mildred Burrage, she went on to become a force in Maine through to the end of her life. An active advocate for historic preservation and a champion for the arts, she established the Lincoln County Cultural and Historical Association and spearheaded numerous preservation projects. 


This project is related to the exhibition The Draw of the Normandy Coast (June 14-September 3, 2012) which will also be on view at the Museum through the summer of 2012—both exhibitions will celebrate the lure of northern France for American and European artists. 


The exhibition is curated by Margaret E. Burgess, The Susan Donnell and Harry W. Konkel Associate Curator of European Art at the Portland Museum of Art, and Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr., Maine State Historian. A full-color catalogue will be published with this exhibition.


This exhibition is supported by Sally Wallace Rand, William G. Waters, and by Wilmont and Arlene Schwind in honor of Sally Wallace Rand. Corporate sponsorship is provided by The Bear Bookshop, Marlboro, VT.


(Image Credit: Mildred Burrage, Souper a Deux , 1909–1912, oil on canvas, 34 5/16 x 30 1/2 inches, Portland Museum of Art, Maine, Gift of the artist.)

Edgar Degas: The Private Impressionist: Works on Paper by the Artist and His Circle (first floor)
February 23 through May 28, 2012

Edgar Degas: The Private Impressionist will be the first comprehensive exhibition in the history of the Portland Museum of Art devoted to the 19th century French master Degas and his works on paper. Comprised of more than 70 drawings, prints, pastels, and photographs as well as several sculptures, the exhibition will provide an insightful exploration of the oeuvre of one of the most skilled and complex artists in art history. In addition to masterworks by Degas, the exhibition will include a select group of 17 rare works on paper by artists of his circle, including captivating works by Mary Cassatt, Paul Cézanne, Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Paintings and drawings by Jane Sutherland, a contemporary New England artist greatly inspired by Degas, will add yet another dimension to the display.

*The Call of the Normandy Coast (1820–1920) (first floor)
June 7 through September 3, 2012

The northern coast of France—and Normandy in particular—proved to be an artistic crucible for French and American painters during the course of the 19th and 20th centuries. Geographically convenient to Paris, accessible by train, with dramatic cliffs and rock formations, and picturesque and active ports, Normandy was an attractive haven. Realists, Impressionists, Neo-Impressionists, Fauves, Cubists, and Surrealists all gravitated to the area. Spanning roughly 100 years (1820–1920), this exhibition will chart the coast’s significance and showcase the ways in which the landscape was rendered by a spectrum of artists. This exhibition will explore the importance of the towns and villages of Honfleur and Le Havre, and such unique destinations as Étretat and will feature more than 40 works of European and American art, mostly paintings and works on paper, from the Portland Museum of Art and from the private collection of Scott M. Black.


This winter, the Portland Museum of Art will showcase its growing collection of celebrity portraits, prompting a new look at the art of photographic portraiture and highlighting two newly acquired portfolios of works by artists Berenice Abbott and Robert Doisneau. Making Faces: Photographic Portraits of Actors and Artists, on view January 14 through April 8, 2012, will feature 35 black-and-white photographic portraits of recognizable television personalities and famous artists.

The exhibition will reveal the sometimes surprising ways in which appearance, poses, and props help to define the public perception of an artist’s work—both on the stage and in the museum. Other photographers whose works will be on view include Philippe Halsman, with his ground-breaking images of notable early television comics, such as Lucille Ball, Jimmy Durante, and Imogene Coca, whose wildly expressive faces helped forge their careers. Barbara Morgan’s photographs of the noted choreographer Martha Graham further capture the essence of modern dance in similarly exaggerated movements. The exhibition also includes a close look at some of America’s most recognizable artistic personalities—Andy Warhol, Andrew Wyeth, and Robert Indiana—masters of public relations, as well as the canvas.


In addition to the faces of creative personalities, these photographs also explore their art. Making Faces juxtaposes paintings, drawings, and sculptures by leading European modernists such as Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, and Jean Arp along with their photographic portraits. Another gallery in the Museum will be devoted to Maine photographer David Etnier’s extensive portrait project that focuses on the work of his father Stephen Etnier and his artist friends who have dominated the Maine art scene for the past 30 years. Among the group are portraits of some of Maine’s favorite artists, both figurative and abstract, including Dozier Bell, Alan Bray, Brett Bigbee, Jack Heliker, and Karl Schrag.


  This summer the Portland Museum of Art presents The Portland Society of Art: Winslow Homer’s Legacy in Maine, on view July 28 through January 13, 2013. This exhibition examines, for the first time, the artistic relationship between the painter Winslow Homer, his close friend the architect John Calvin Stevens, and the early years of the Portland Society of Art, the precursor to the Portland Museum of Art. With architectural drawings and a range of paintings and watercolors by Winslow Homer and his Maine contemporaries, this installation of 50 works provides a deeper understanding of Portland’s art world at the turn of the last century.


The exhibition includes southern Maine scenes by artists Charles Kimball, Vivian Akers, and George Morse, Casco Bay seascapes by Harrison Bird Brown, and watercolors by Mary King Longfellow. These paintings will be installed next to contemporary pictorialist photographs by William B. Post, Frank Laing, and other members of the Portland Camera Club. Together, they place Winslow Homer’s art in a regional context and they demonstrate how important his legacy was for the burgeoning community of artists in Portland during the early decades of the 20th-century.


Founded in 1882, just as the Homer family began to explore Prouts Neck for its potential development as a summer community, the Portland Society of Art sought to define a higher profile for the fine arts in this city. The Society organized small exhibitions of works by local artists, encouraged residents to display art works that they had acquired in their travels abroad, and promoted the new idea that photography was a fine art.  

A century ago, just after Homer’s death in 1910, the Portland Society of Art opened its new art galleries designed by the city’s leading architect, John Calvin Stevens. The stylish Renaissance Revival building, known as the Lorenzo de Medici Sweat Galleries, was intended to house the Society’s growing collection of art by contemporary Maine painters. Significantly, during the first three years of its existence, the galleries also featured a small, but significant, collection of works by Winslow Homer. Lent to the Society by Homer’s brother, Arthur, the collection included 16 paintings and watercolors. During those same years, 1911 to 1913, John Calvin Stevens placed his Homer painting, The Artist’s Studio in an Afternoon Fog , on public view for the first time. This romantic scene of the rocks at Prouts Neck, shrouded in fog, silhouettes the Homer family compound which Stevens had designed for them in 1883.


Alongside Homer’s work, the Portland Society of Art’s early exhibitions also featured paintings by an important group of local plein-air painters known as the “Brush ‘uns,” whose Sunday excursions were frequently led by Stevens. Over the subsequent decades the Society acquired a representative group of their landscapes and portraits, in addition to a number of art photographs taken by members of the Portland Camera Club, housed in the Society’s building. These works came to form the core collection of the Portland Museum of Art, when it was fully established in 1911.


(Image credit: Winslow Homer (United States, 1836–1910), Artists Sketching in the White Mountains , 1868, oil on panel, 9 7/16 x 15 13/16 inches. Bequest of Charles Shipman Payson.)


Admission & Directions:

$12 adults
$10 seniors and students with I. D. 
$6 youth 13 to 17
Children under 12 are free
Free on Friday evenings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., made possible through the generous support of L.L.Bean and Patricia and Cyrus Hagge.
Members are free. Membership is a great value! Portland Museum of Art Members receive free year-round admission, discounts in the PMA Store, and the Members' Magazine.

PMA Café is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday until 8 p.m. Memorial Day through Columbus Day, open on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. No admission is required to visit the Museum Café. 

Open during regular Museum hours, the PMA Store showcases products by Maine artists and artisans including handcrafted jewelry, cards, home goods, and gifts as well as Maine's largest selection of art books, a children's section, and a variety of items highlighting the Museum's collection and exhibitions. Members receive a 10% discount. No admission is required to visit the PMA Store.The Museum Shop is 

The museum is located at Seven Congress Square in Downtown Portland, at the intersection of High, Congress, and Free Streets.

To reach the Museum from I-295 (north or south), take Exit 6A, Forest Avenue South. Bear right at the first light, drive through the park, and proceed on State Street to the top of the hill. Turn left at the light onto Congress Street. The Museum is located on the right after the next light. Public parking lots are located on High Street, Free Street, and Spring Street.


Key Personnel:

Mark Bessire, Director
Kristen Levesque, Director of Marketing & Public Relations
Karen Sherry, Curator of American Art

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