Organized in conjunction with the exhibition Fitz Henry Lane and Mary Blood Mellen: Old Mysteries and New Discoveries at Cape Ann Historical Museum and Spanierman Gallery, the Fitz Henry Lane and Mary Blood Mellen Scholars’ Convening provided an opportunity for academics, curators, conservators, art dealers, and engaged collectors to investigate the vexing attribution issues and new theories put forward by Fitz Henry Lane expert John Wilmerding, Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. The exhibition sought to reassign the authorship of several of Lane’s paintings to Mary Blood Mellen, Lane’s long-time student and sometime collaborator.
The convening officially concluded with a report of the day’s findings published as a supplement to the exhibition catalogue. As an opportunity to reconsider long-held art historical assumptions and put forward exciting new theories ripe for further investigation, the Fitz Henry Lane and Mary Blood Mellen Scholars’ Convening created a venue for exploring and debating fresh scholarship in American art history. As another result of the convening, the Terra Foundation commissioned a report by independent conservator Henry Travers Newton, which determined with a considerable degree of accuracy the authorship of Brace’s Rock, Brace’s Cove as solely the work of Lane.
Report on Scholars’ Gathering in Association with the Exhibition Fitz Henry Lane & Mary Blood Mellen: Old Mysteries and New Discoveries, Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Massachusetts, November 15, 2007.
Fitz Henry Lane’s Series Paintings of Brace’s Rock: Meaning and Technique. Report by H. Travers Newton, Jr., prepared for Elizabeth Kennedy, Curator of Collection, edited by Peter John Brownlee, Associate Curator, with assistance of Naomi H. Slipp, Curatorial Intern, Terra Foundation for American Art, April 2010.