Then to Now: Paintings from the Permanent Collection

September 15 – December 30, 2023


Then to Now features paintings from the ZAM’s permanent collection, 1864 to present, which document the passage of time and place through mostly realistic, nature-inspired paintings. These works invite a comparison of historical approaches of landscape painting to more contemporary depictions of the environment.  

The earliest work represented, The Elm, was painted in 1864 by George Inness. Inness was one of the key figures of the Hudson River School, one of the first cohesive American art movements. This idyllic and atmospheric landscape is a romantic interpretation of a scene that the artist painted throughout his career. His use of diffused light and subdued tones created the pastoral perspective. Alfred Thompson Bricher’s Coast Landscape, 1878 was also associated with the Hudson River School. 

One of the 20th mid-century works highlighted in the exhibition is Andrew Wyeth’s watercolor painting, On Bar Island, 1946. Wyeth’s muted colors and shadowy light imbue the painting with mystery and stillness. Another artist of this period with connections to Maine is Carl Sprinchorn. Stormy October Sunset – Shin Pond, 1946, a scene depicting cloudy skies over water, is painted with gestural marks and a turbulent palette.  

Many contemporary paintings in the exhibition share the landscape narrative of the older works but execute the vision differently. In the verdant pastoral painting Merrymeeting Bay, 1970, Thomas Cornell explored the process of composition by using perspective lines as a dynamic visual device. In contrast, Dozier Bell creates an abstracted, moody, and tempestuous reflection of place with Map #7, 1995.  

The breadth of style and technique on display in this exhibition is as diverse as the artists themselves. The artworks provokes the viewer to contemplate, “what makes a landscape?”


  • Dozier Bell (American, born 1957). Map #7, 1995. Oil and acrylic on linen and wood. Gift of Dean Valentine & Amy Adelson, 2005.20
  • Alfred Thompson Bricher (American, 1837 – 1908). Coast Landscape, 1878. Oil on canvas. Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Bernard Rolnick, 60.41.P
  • Sam Cady (American, born 1943). Snow Squall Over Outer Islands, 2004. Oil on canvas. Museum purchase, 2006.11
  • Thomas Cornell (American, 1937 – 2012). Merrymeeting Bay, 1970. Oil and graphite on masonite. Gift of the Estate of Thomas Cornell, 2019.14.17
  • Anna Hostvedt (American, born 1971). Bearing Northwest, 2007. Oil on museum board on panel.
    Gift of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York / Hassam, Speicher, Betts and Symons Funds, 2008.7
  • Gerald Immonen (American, 1936 – 2011). The Magic Solitude, 2007. Watercolor on paper. Gift of Delight and Gerald M. Immonen in memory of Mikko Luke Immonen, 2010.3
  • George Inness (American, 1825 – 1894). The Elm, 1864. Oil on canvas. Gift of William P. Viles, Class of 1928, 56.69.P
  • Jonathan Lux (Amercian, born 1976). Best Bar-B-Q, 2008. Oil on canvas. Gift of the artist, 2011.5
  • Abbott Meader (American, born 1935). Lake and Island, 1964. Oil on paper. Gift of the artist, 93.3.61
  • Forrest Walker Orr (American, 1895 – 1972). Migrant Workers, 1920. Watercolor on paper. Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Forrest Orr, 72.99.P
  • Edmund Schildknecht (American, 1889 – 1985). Johnson Cove, 1959. Oil on canvas. Gift of the artist, 74.142.P
  • Carl Sprinchorn (American, 1887 – 1971). Stormy October Sunset – Shin Pond, 1946. Oil on canvas board. Museum purchase: The Kenduskeag Fund, 56.58.P
  • Andrew Newell Wyeth (American, 1917 – 2009). On Bar Island, 1946. Watercolor on paper. Gift of Adeline and Caroline Wing, 48.1.P