Tuesday, February 26, 2008

H. Brett Paintings


I have a original old watercolor signed H. Brett.

Would anyone know where I might find more info on him??

Best Regards,


Anonymous said...

Hi Tim,

I used to work at the Chatham Beach and Tennis Club and there was an older member named Brett who is now deceased. Perhaps it was someone in his family. Here's a link where you might inquire about an H. Brett.


best of luck with it!
Christopher Seufert
Chatham, Cape Cod's Online Guide

Anonymous said...

Here's an article that may interest you.

Author Joseph Lincoln And Illustrator
Harold Brett Shared A Common Cape Bond
by Debra Lawless

Harold Brett, who illustrated many of the Cape Cod tales of Joseph Crosby Lincoln, was often said to be the artist who "gave Cape Cod a face" while Lincoln was “the writer who invented Cape Cod.”
In a 40-minute illustrated lecture at the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis last Thursday, docent and museum educator Jeanne Linxweiler spoke about the intertwined lives of Brett and Lincoln, both of whom called Chatham their homes.

A 1943 painting of Joseph C. Lincoln by Harold Brett, which hangs in the Lincoln Room at the Chatham Historical Society’s Atwood House Museum.
Both men were born on the Cape, she noted, and "both spent certain parts of their youth here." Although Lincoln used more than 60 different illustrators for his books, it was Brett who illustrated the 1935 book "Cape Cod Yesterdays," on which Linxweiler based much of her lecture. As adults, both men had homes in Chatham.

Brett was born in 1880 and studied painting at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston under Philip Hale and Frank Benson. Later he studied at the New York Art Students League and then, at age 26, under Howard Pyle of Delaware, known as "the father of American illustration." Brett began his career as a magazine illustrator, "the place where artists could find work," Linxweiler said. His work appeared in such popular publications as the Ladies Home Journal and on covers of the Saturday Evening Post. People "read the stuff, the news, the stories, whatever. The artists did the illustrating to get the money."

In 1915, Brett first collaborated with Lincoln by illustrating a short story in Everybody’s Magazine. Over the next 24 years Brett would illustrate at least 11 of Lincoln’s books. With "Yesterdays," a book of reminiscences of the bygone Cape both knew as boys, Brett received equal billing to Lincoln on the title page. Although Lincoln was a decade older than Brett, the men shared a nostalgic point of view that harkened back to a time before the automobile and the influx of visitors it brought so changed Cape Cod. In their youths, "the Cape was left ever so much more to itself. We welcomed our city friends but they must take us as we were; we did not change our mode of life to suit their convenience," Lincoln wrote in "Yesterdays."

Seventeen of Brett's illustrations for "Yesterdays" were displayed in the Old Corner Bookstore in Boston in 1935 and later sold, Linxweiler said. Eastward Ho! Country Club owns four Bretts, including "Captain Hunter," a scallop fisherman mentioned in "Yesterdays."

Interestingly, Lincoln originally thought he'd also follow a career as an illustrator. An only child, he was born in 1870 to a line of sea captains. Lincoln's father died when he was one, and he went to live in his maternal grandmother's home near the Brewster Ladies Library on Route 6A. During his childhood in Brewster, "he came to understand the humor of Cape Codders," Linxweiler said. In 1894, Lincoln studied illustration in Boston and two years later set up a commercial art studio. In 1900, though, when he sold his first stories to the Saturday Evening Post, he gave up illustrating.

The more than 50 books Lincoln eventually wrote were "not intellectual — they appealed to just common folks," Linxweiler added.

Linxweiler illustrated her talk with an assortment of Brett's magazine illustrations, scenic paintings such as the First Congregational Church of Chatham in the snow, and portraits of Chatham's sea captains, fishermen and citizens both prominent and obscure. Brett's 1943 painting of Lincoln hangs in the Joseph C. Lincoln Gallery of the Atwood House Museum.

"You can appreciate Brett's interest in observing the people around him," Linxweiler said. "His palate is vibrant. Lots of yellows. Charm, color, people. He just can capture their soul."

Toward the end of his career, Brett began painting formal portraits such as that of 18-year-old Charlotte Clark. "He painted people as they wished to be seen," Linxweiler said. "Women were genteel, men serious." Brett painted Clark, who was studying painting with him, in a white dress, with her arms bare. Clark later told an interviewer that high praise from Brett were the words, "now, that's the stuff," Linxweiler said.

In 1920, Brett and his wife Edith bought the 1812 Captain Joshua Atkins House on Old Harbor Road in North Chatham, where he set up his studio in the barn. The square-topped house appeared in the frontispiece illustration for Lincoln's novel "Christmas Days," Linxweiler said. Lincoln’s home “Crosstrees” was 1.4 miles away on Shore Road.
Lincoln died in 1944 on a trip to Winter Park, Fla. His ashes were buried in plot 38 in Union Cemetery. Brett died 12 years later in Mount Auburn Hospital. His ashes were buried three days later in plot 25 in Union Cemetery, a few yards from the ashes of his old friend.
"They were friends and they're resting together now and sharing stories, I'm sure," Linxweiler said.

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