Frank Mason - Vermont Stream

FRANK MASON IN VERMONT: Artist and Teacher

– Mickey Myers

Bryan Memorial Gallery presents FRANK MASON IN VERMONT: Artist and Teacher in its Main Gallery this summer.  22 paintings by Mason and 60 paintings by students he taught in Vermont workshops over 40 years will be included in the exhibit.

Frank Mason (1921 -2009) was a classical realist painter of international repute and a beloved instructor at the Art Students League in New York City for over fifty years.  If he had done nothing else he would have found his place in American Art History by virtue of his teaching classical realism with steadfast purpose through the era of abstract expressionism.  Early in his life, however, he had the singular distinction of studying with Frank Vincent DuMond (1865 – 1951), who set him on course as both a painter and a teacher.

DuMond taught Mason not only classical skills, but also the cadence of his life, spending summers in Vermont, painting the atmosphere.  Though ultimately their works were distinctly their own, Mason assumed the “Mantel of the Masters,” offering his students the opportunity to study painting “en plein air” with him in Vermont during the month of June from 1968 until shortly before his death in 2009.

Smuggler's Notch
Frank Mason – Smuggler’s Notch

Mason was completely at home in the environs of Stowe, Lamoille County and Peacham VT, surrounded by students at their easels along dirt roads, often in a downpour.   Their loyalty to him and his ideas about painting has lasted throughout many of their lifetimes, as evidenced not only in their artwork, but also as many continue to meet in Vermont for the month of June, painting together daily and critiquing each other’s works, to this day.

Frank Mason - Peacham Orchard
Frank Mason – Peacham Orchard

To open the exhibition, Mason’s nephew, Scott Mason, will speak on the Bryan Gallery’s Artists Roundtable, Sunday, July 2 at 1 PM.  Mason’s widow, Anne, will be in attendance at the Roundtable and the opening reception for the exhibit.

Frank Mason will be the subject of a feature article in the July/August issue of American Art Review: Frank Mason in Vermont: Artist and Teacher by Mickey Myers, Executive Director of Bryan Memorial Gallery and co-curator of this exhibition.

Frank Mason - Forest Retreat
Frank Mason – Forest Retreat

This exhibit was co-curated by Bryan Gallery Executive Director Mickey Myers and the gallery’s Exhibitions Chair, Fiona Cooper Fenwick.

Bryan Memorial Gallery is at 180 Main Street, Jeffersonville, VT.  802-644-5100.  A digital preview of this exhibit can be seen at www.bryangallery.org after June 29.  Summer gallery hours:  Open daily, 11 – 5.

Curator’s Note:  Frank Mason painted massive classically realist canvases, portraits, still lifes and landscapes.  His landscapes painted in Vermont and elsewhere in New England possess a particular atmosphere, relaxed and pungent with rich coloration and the lavish effect of the passage of light across a scene.

His work came to Bryan Gallery’s attention through its Exhibitions Chair, Fiona Cooper Fenwick, who studied with him over the last several summers of his life, and who continues to meet with other Mason students in Vermont each June.  Last summer (2016) she served as the “monitor” in setting up all the locations for the group painting in Vermont.

In 2015 when Bryan Gallery was preparing for the exhibit GENERATIONS, featuring the paintings of many artists and their teachers, Cooper brought a painting by Mason, and one also by DuMond to include in the show.  So captivating was the GENERATIONS exhibit (summer, 2015) that Bryan Gallery has pursued the concept of featuring just one teacher, to show how influential a great teacher can be.  In summer 2016 the works of Robert Douglas Hunter and a selection of his students were featured in the main gallery.

For the Mason exhibit, his widow, Anne Mason, who still resides in the Mason loft in Little Italy, has advised the curators and generously made the works available to Bryan Memorial Gallery.  Scott Mason, Mason’s nephew and executor of Mason’s Estate, has assisted in curatorial matters as well and will speak at the opening of the exhibit.

Frank Mason - Dawn Fantasy
Frank Mason – Dawn Fantasy