“We’ve assembled the island’s greatest treasures,” says Tom Butterfield, director and founder of Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art. He’s not talking about pirate’s gold discovered in one of Bermuda’s shipwrecks, he’s talking about the masterpieces you’ll see in this museum.
Located within the Bermuda Botanical Gardens and open seven days a week, the world-class Masterworks houses paintings, drawings, photography and sculpture from the 18th century to the present day. “So many wonderful artists – including several household names like Georgia O'Keefe – have taken inspiration from our shores,” Butterfield says.
Andrew Wyeth's Royal Palms
One of these treasures is a relatively recent addition to the Masterworks collection: Andrew Wyeth’s gorgeous Royal Palms, which was acquired in the fall of 2014. One of only four Bermuda paintings by the world-renowned 20th century American artist, Royal Palms depicts Shinbone Alley in the Town of St. George.
“It’s a huge addition to the museum,” Butterfield says. “The painting had been borrowed and shown on the island many years ago, but we never dreamed we’d have the chance to have it here permanently.”
For Royal Palms, Wyeth bypassed the usual pastel colours of the island, instead presenting his subject in a stark and striking light. “But there’s no mistaking the painting’s origin,” Butterfield says. “It’s a great example of the different ways artists have been inspired by the island.”
Winslow Homer: Bermuda's Artistic Ambassador
Another legendary American artist who embraced the vibrant colours of Bermuda was Winslow Homer. The watercolourist visited Bermuda regularly starting in the 1880s and created some of his most beloved works here – vibrant, beautiful and sunlit, just like the island itself. In fact, the museum's cafe is named Homer's in honour of its namesake.
Butterfield notes, the entire collection is always available for viewing. “If you want to see a work that isn’t currently on view, just ask,” he says. “The answer is always yes."
So many wonderful artists – including several household names – have taken inspiration from our shores.