Winslow Homer, West Point, Prout’s Neck, 1900. Homer considered West Point, Prout’s Neck one of his greatest seascapes. Image courtesy of Clark Art Institute
SEATTLE— When the Super Bowl kicks off on Sunday, administrators at Seattle Art Museum (SAM) and New England’s Clark Art Institute will be glued to their televisions. Soon after the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots emerged as the two teams to play in Super Bowl XLIX, Seattle Art Museum and Clark Art Institute agreed to wager major works of art from their collections on the outcome of the game. The wager will ensure temporary loans of major paintings to the winning art institution. To add to the excitement, the masterpieces selected for this wager showcase the beautiful landscapes of the Northwest and the Northeast respectively. The winning museum will receive a three-month loan of the prized artwork. All shipping and expenses will be paid by the losing museum.
The majestic Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast from 1870 by Albert Bierstadt from SAM’s American art collection is wagered by Kimerly Rorschach, SAM’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO.
Winslow Homer’s masterpiece, West Point, Prout’s Neck (1900), one of the greatest works in the Clark’s noted Homer collection, is wagered by Michael Conforti, director of the Clark Art Institute.
Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast is a spectacular eight-foot-wide view of Puget Sound that resulted from newly reawakened interest in a region Bierstadt had visited only briefly seven years before. Painted in 1870, Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast is one of the most novel subjects of Albert Bierstadt career. Beyond a beautiful landscape, the painting also has historical significance. It is a narrative of an ancient maritime people, and a rumination on the ages-old mountains, basaltic rocks, dense woods, glacial rivers, and surf-pounded shores that have given the Northwest its look and also shaped its culture.
West Point, Prout’s Neck, is the culmination of Winslow Homer intense study of the coast of Maine where he spent his last years as an artist. Homer considered West Point, Prout’s Neck one of his greatest seascapes, not just because of its aesthetics but also because it links years of studies and observation. In West Point, Prout’s Neck, waves crash against massive rocks as bands of brilliant color stretch across the horizon, casting a rosy glow over the ocean. “The picture is painted fifteen minutes after sunset—not one minute before,” wrote Homer, who went on to explain that recording such a fleeting moment took “many days of careful observation.” The brilliance of Homer’s color and brushwork expresses brilliantly the power of nature.
As the Super Bowl XLIX kickoff draws closer, the two art institutions can not contain themselves as they boastfully support their teams. Kimerly Rorschach, SAM’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO is certain that Seattle Seahawks will win Super Bowl XLIX, and art lovers will get the opportunity to see and enjoy Winslow Homer’s West Point, Prout’s Neck, 1900, for three months:
I am sure that this beautiful Homer painting will be coming to Seattle after our Seahawks defeat the Patriots for another Super Bowl win. We are already making plans to host this incredible work of American art in our galleries so that the 12s can enjoy it.
Rorschach’s confidence is evidently predicated on last year’s win over Denver Art Museum (DAM). Last year, SAM and DAM agreed to a wager on Super Bowl XLVIII between Seahawks and Broncos. SAM won the bet when Seahawks beat the Broncos 43-8. Denver Art Museum not only lend its Broncho Buster, a bronze icon of the West by Frederic Remington from the renowned western American art collection at the at the DAM to SAM, it also denied Denver art lovers the opportunity to experience a majestic Native American mask, reminiscent of a mighty “Seahawk” from SAM’s renowned Northwest Coast Native American art collection.
Seattle Seahawks grand style win over the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII and the fact Denver Art Museum had to lend its priced sculpture to Seattle Art Museum is generating a lot of fear at Clark Art Institute. Michael Conforti, director of the Clark Art Institute, though certain that New England Patriots will win Super Bowl XLIX, is consciously optimistic:
The way we see it, nobody loses with this wager. Albert Bierstadt was raised in New Bedford, Massachusetts, so we will be very happy to welcome the work of a native son back to New England following the Patriots’ win on game day. Having just opened our new building, we’ve got just the right spot to show this remarkable Bierstadt and know our visitors will love the chance to see it.
The wager between Seattle Art Museum (SAM) and New England’s Clark Art Institute is not only generating excitement in the art world but also among football fans. As Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots fans converge at the University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona to cheer their teams to victory on the football field, art lovers are also cheering for their museums in this wager that is bound to go in the record books. If the New England’s Clark Art Institute wins the wager, Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast, 1870 by Albert Bierstadt will fit perfectly with the Institution’s new beautiful architecture and exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture. However, if Seattle Art Museum (SAM) comes up top in the wager, Winslow Homer’s masterpiece, West Point, Prout’s Neck (1900) will enhance the museum’s mission to enrich lives and engage diverse communities. But more importantly, it will foster its ability to provide unique educational resources benefiting the Seattle region, the Pacific Northwest, and beyond.