When artist Dodge Macknight died in 1950, the majority of his estate was left to the Sandwich Public Library. On August 23, an exhibition of his work opened and his paintings are now on display at the library.
While some his work can be viewed at museums such as the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Fogg Museum in Cambridge, there has not been a formal exhibition of his work in more than three decades.
“This will be the first exhibition of his work in 34 years,” local historian William R. Collins said. “Many paintings from private collectors have never been seen in public before.”
Dodge Macknight was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1860 and began visiting Cape Cod around 1900 to find inspiration for his watercolor paintings. He purchased a home on Spring Hill and lived there for the rest of his life with his family.
A popular man in his day, Mr. Macknight would entertain company in his home, which he called “The Hedges.” Many of his guests were famous artists, art collectors, and philanthropists.
“Macknight was quite famous in his day,” Mr. Collins said. “He was a friend of Vincent van Gogh, John Singer Sargent, and Isabella Stewart Gardner.”
In fact, Ms. Gardner named a room in her home, now the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, after him. Some of Mr. Macknight’s watercolor paintings are hung in the room.
After his son John died in 1928, Mr. Macknight retired from painting and began to give his work to the Sandwich Public Library. He is considered within in the art community to be one of the American masters of watercolor with the likes of James Abbott McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent.
The Dodge Macknight exhibit will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays in Room 2 at the library through Tuesday, September 9.