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Art of the Sail: Marine Paintings and Artifacts from the Bay and Beyond at the John F. Peto Studio Museum

May 2, 2012


ISLAND HEIGHTS, NJ MAY 2, 2012 “The significance of sailing—and sailing in art—have long been integral to the history of the communities surrounding Barnegat Bay. A new exhibition, opening at the John F. Peto Studio Museum in Island Heights, NJ on May 19th, brings into focus the importance of sailing and marine art to Island Heights and, in particular, to the artist John F. Peto (1854-1907) long renowned for his still-life paintings in the trompe l’oeil style. His little-known interest in the sea is portrayed not only in his own sketches and paintings but also through marine related artifacts and paintings by other artists collected by him and displayed throughout his home and studio. The importance of sailing and its significance to the art of our region is further explored through the work of contemporary painters including John English, Eliza Auth and others.

Originally from Philadelphia, Peto made his home in Island Heights in 1889 where he chose to live up the street from the quiet and protected Holly Cove. It is evident that Peto loved boats from an early age. A childhood sketch shows a sailboat with his initials as the name of the boat, the “JFP.” As a young man, Peto painted watercolor sketches of sailboats on the water, based on the art of Franklin Dullin Briscoe (1844-1903). Peto had several of Briscoe’s paintings in his personal art collection, as well as seascapes and boats at mooring by other lesser-known artists. In a “patch” style self-portrait painted in the 1900’s, Peto includes a sketch of a sailboat—obviously of some importance to him.

Special sections of the exhibition include the history of the Catboat, designed specifically to sail the shallow waters of Barnegat Bay, and a history of America’s Cup racing. The paintings of John English (b. 1913) portray many of the majestic catboats sailed and raced on the Toms River as well as some of the boats raced in the America’s Cup. A long-time resident of Island Heights and avid yachtsman, English is known for his meticulous and accurate renderings. He has won many awards including a gold medal for marine painting from the Franklin Mint Gallery of American Art.

The Art of the Sail: Marine Paintings and Artifacts from the Bay and Beyond” is sponsored by the Island Heights Sailing Foundation. It will be shown at the John F. Peto Studio Museum, 102 Cedar Avenue, Island Heights, NJ from May 19 th through July 8th, 2012. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children. The museum is open during the special exhibition on Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm to 4pm. Group and private tours are available by appointment. For information, email or call 732-929-4949.


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