"Frank Lloyd Wright" by Nancy Ellen Craig
"Frank Lloyd Wright" by Nancy Ellen Craig

Nancy Ellen Craig was a contemporary portrait artist often compared to earlier grand masters like Thomas Eakins and John Singer Sargent. In a career spanning many decades, she painted the social, intellectual and political elite of the 20th century.

The Whistler House Museum of Art proudly exhibits 26 of Craig's most elegant and intimate portraits in Famous Faces: Portraits by Nancy Ellen Craig. On view in its Parker Gallery, located at 243 Worthen St., Lowell, the show runs June 29-Aug. 6, with an opening reception on Saturday, July 9, 2-4 p.m. in the Parker Gallery.

Craig (1927-2015) was born in New York City and graduated from Bennington College and the Art Students League in New York before beginning her career in portraiture.

"Self Portrait" by Nancy Ellen Craig
"Self Portrait" by Nancy Ellen Craig

Commissioned paintings of famous men and women like Frank Lloyd Wright, Lady Jean Campbell and Anjelica Huston supported Craig and her husband as they traveled the world and at home in Truro on Cape Cod, where she painted in a studio located in an antique barn.

Craig won numerous awards in the U.S. and Europe, including the Audubon Artists Patrons Prize and the Pollock-Krasner Award. Her work is included in such collections as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Baltimore Art Museum and the John Ringling Museum.

The exhibit is the culminating project for guest curator Michael Jones, an attorney, judge, artist and UMass Lowell professor, who interned at the Whistler House as part of his master's degree in museum studies at Harvard University. His wife Christine, a poet and physical therapist, was a close friend of Craig's and helped in curating the exhibit.


"From My Rib" by Hazel Ang at ALL Gallery
"From My Rib" by Hazel Ang at ALL Gallery

Together, they selected works that demonstrate Craig's talent, ambition and breadth of style.

"We are proud to present this outstanding collection of portraits by Nancy Ellen Craig, whose natural genius and talent in form, color and line transcends the test of time and continues to bring high praise from leading art critics, past and present," said Sara Bogosian, Whistler House president and executive director.

Visit www.whistlerhouse.org or call 978-452-7641 for info.

Art picks

Artwork by Deborah Barlow and Barbara Gagel on view in ’In Water’
Artwork by Deborah Barlow and Barbara Gagel on view in 'In Water'
  • IT FIGURES: The Arts League of Lowell hosts a reception on Saturday, June 25, 4-6 p.m. for Form To Figure, its current members show on view through Aug. 7 in the ALL Gallery, 307 Market St., Lowell. Gallery hours are Wednesday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m. and Sunday, noon-4 p.m. Visit www.artsleagueoflowell.com or call 978-221-5018 for info.
  • WATER WORKS: In Water, an exhibit exploring the role water plays in the planet's politics and ecosystem, is on view June 25-Oct. 25 at the Beyond Benign Gallery, 100 Research Drive, Wilmington. Beyond Benign is an educational and advocacy organization devoted to green chemistry and a sustainable future.
    The Wayside, home to three famous Concord authors, re-opens Saturday after three years of renovations.
    The Wayside, home to three famous Concord authors, re-opens Saturday after three years of renovations.
    It is partnering with the Revolving Museum for the exhibit. The diverse works are by artists Deborah Barlow, Kay Canavino, Rachael Eastman, Barbara Gagel, Susan Quateman and George Wingate. The opening reception is on Saturday, June 25, 2-5 p.m. Visit http://therevolvingmuseum.org/in-water/
  • SPECIAL EVENT: The Wayside, an historic home, located at 455 Lexington Road, Concord, is reopening to the public on Saturday, June 25, with tours, special visitors and a program beginning at 11 a.m. It has been closed for three years for major renovations. Visitors have a chance to meet Margaret Lothrop, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott, whose families all lived here at one time or others. In addition, sneak previews of the film Half the History: The Wayside, done by Tufts University students in April, will also be presented. Following remarks by Minute Man National Historical Park Superintendent Nancy Nelson and comments by Margaret Lothrop (portrayed by Jane Sciacca), the Friends of Minute Man Park, will serve refreshments. Admission is free on Saturday. Regular hours, beginning June 26 and through Aug. 13, are Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday, 9:30-5:30 p.m., and Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Hours Aug. 14-Oct. 30 are Sunday, Monday and Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Weekday tours at 10 and 11 a.m., 1, 2, 3 and 4:30 p.m., and Sunday tours 1, 2, 3 and 4:30 p.m. Admission $7, adults; $5, seniors and students 17 and over; 16 and under, free.
  • JULY 4TH REMINDER: Registrations will be accepted through June 24 for the Chelmsford Art Society's 48th annual 4th of July Art Festival being held on Independence Day at the Chelmsford Center for the Arts, 1A North Road, Chelmsford. Register on line at the CAS website at www.chelmsfordartsociety.com or pick up applications at Picture Yourself Frame Shop, 17 Central Square, Chelmsford. Drop off artwork on Wednesday, June 29, 1-3 p.m., or 5-7:30 p.m. at the CCA. Call 978-256-0140 for info.

Nancye Tuttle's email address is nancyedt@verizon.net.