Groton library offers Tarbell exhibit

Painted by Edmund C. Tarbell, "Margery, Edmund and Danny" depicts the artist's daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.
Groton Public Library
Painted by Edmund C. Tarbell, "Margery, Edmund and Danny" depicts the artist's daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

For the 150 years since the birth of Edmund C. Tarbell, one of the founders of the style of painting known as the Boston School, little has been made of the artist’s Groton roots. The artist was born and spent his early childhood in West Groton, but the family had moved away by the time his interest in painting was taking hold.

But the lack of acknowledgment of Tarbell as a native son has recently been changing, thanks to the initiative of the artist’s grandson Daniel Tarbell, who felt that the family owed something to the small community in which they had ancestral roots.

So several years ago, Tarbell contacted the Groton Public Library’s director at the time, Owen Smith Shuman, to ask whether the library would appreciate having some of his grandfather’s paintings to display.


Shuman quickly said yes, according to library curator Deborah Santoro, and Tarbell presented the library with two works. After the grandson’s death, the Tarbell Charitable Trust delivered the rest of the bequested paintings, drawings, and sketches.

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“He felt that Groton never really had its chance to claim itself as Edmund Tarbell’s hometown,” said Santoro. “And Dan Tarbell wanted to change that.”

Nearing the end of his life, Daniel Tarbell created the trust to oversee his personal collection of his grandfather’s work. And recently, the trustees have been working with the town to find opportunities to exhibit the pieces. The result is an exhibition of Tarbell paintings, drawings, and sketches on display in the library’s Owen Smith Shuman Gallery through Nov. 9.

The library has planned additional events in conjunction with the show, including a talk by local artist Mary Minifie slated for Nov. 3. After the show’s opening last month, Minifie gave another talk, and held a workshop at the library for children at which she instructed them in Tarbell’s style of oil painting.

Minifie’s connection with Tarbell goes beyond her living and working in his former hometown. As a portrait painter, she was trained in the Boston School, and she points out that there are few traditional methods of painting that are still alive and well today to the extent of Tarbell’s methods.


“Most traditional ways of painting were lost in the course of the 20th century,” she said. “But students of the Boston School’s founders continued training students throughout the 1970s and 1980s. So the tradition is still very much alive, and remains of great meaning and importance to artists like me.”

In addition to the exhibition at the library, the Tarbell Charitable Trust has worked with the town to find other venues for exhibiting Edmund Tarbell’s work. There are plans for a painting to be displayed in the Board of Selectmen’s meeting room in Town Hall, and for a show at RiverCourt Residences, a senior housing facility at 8 West Main St.

Minifie will speak about the significance of Tarbell’s work on Nov. 3 from 2 to 3 p.m. at the library, 99 Main St. For more information, call 978-448-1167 or go to www.gpl.org.

ANNIVERSARY SHOW: Francesca Anderson Fine Art, at 56 Adams St. in Lexington, is celebrating its 30th anniversary with an exhibition running through Oct. 26.

The show will feature pieces by 20 artists, including oil paintings, watercolors, cut-paper mosaics, and pastels.


The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment. For more information, call 781-862-0660 or go to www.fafineart.com.

FROM HERE AND THERE: The Arlington International Film Festival opens at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday with a lineup featuring “Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth,” directed by Frauke Sandig and Eric Black.

A panel discussion will follow the screening at the Regent Theatre, 7 Medford St.

The annual festival continues through Oct. 27 with an array of films from around the world, including “I Learn America,” directed by Jean-Michel Dissard and Gitte Peng; “The Iran Job,” directed by Till Schauder; “Clandestine Childhood,” directed by Benjamín Ávila; and works from Japan, Israel, Egpyt, Italy, and Europe.

Tickets are $11; a festival pass is $50. For tickets or more information, call 781-646-4849, or go to www.regenttheatre.com or www.aiffest.org.

GOT A CLUE: The Concord Youth Theatre Young Adult Company is performing “Clue, the Musical,” based on the classic board game, through this weekend at 358 Baker Ave. in West Concord.

The show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, as well as 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets are $13; to purchase in advance or for more details, call 978-371-1482 or go to www.concordyouththeatre.org.

FUN WITH FLAMENCO: Musician and educator Roberto Rios and his ensemble El Arte Flamenco present a musical exploration of the Gypsies of Spain at 7 p.m. Saturday at Follen Church Society, 755 Massachusetts Ave. in Lexington.

The 90-minute program will be highlighted by examples of various musical forms by live dancers and musicians. Admission is $10, and preregistration is recommended; call Lexington Community Education at 781-862-8043 to reserve a seat.

MORNING JOLT: Poet Susan Deer Cloud will share pieces inspired by her Native American roots as one of three guests at this month’s installment of “Wake Up and Smell the Poetry” at the HCAM Studios, 77 Main St. in Hopkinton.

Doors open at 10 a.m. and the show starts at 10:30, with the program also featuring Hopkinton singer-songwriter Amanda Maffei, composer of “Run Boston Strong,” and storyteller K.R. Glickman, who will share her tale of growing up deaf in a hearing world. An open mike will follow for poetry, story, and song. For more information and to reserve a seat or an open mike slot, go online to www.hcam.tv/wakeup or call 508-435-8638.

RECALLING FROST: The Munroe Saturday Nights series presents “Frost in the Air: A Glorious Evening of Poetry in Celebration of the 140th Birthday of Robert Frost” on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Community of Christ, 1386 Mass. Ave., Lexington.

The event features 12 Boston-area poets reading favorite works by Frost and original poems inspired by him. Admission is free, but donations will be appreciated, organizers said.

For reservations and more information, e-mail saturdays@munroecenter.org.

ON HUMANISM: A series of three presentations on humanism hosted by First Parish in Concord, 20 Lexington Road, starts at 7 p.m. Friday with a talk by Mark Reimers, “Evolution of the Human Mind.”

Michael Werner will give the other two presentations. On Sunday at 10:30 a.m., he presents his new book, “Regaining Balance: The Evolution of the UUA,” and at 7 p.m. Wednesday his topic is “Ethical Dilemmas and Humanist Ethics.”

The suggested donation is $5 for the series, being hosted by Concord Area Humanists, First Parish Humanist Council, and First Parish Sunday Forum Committee. For parking and other information, contact Patrick Everett at pne@aol.com.

TRADITION OF HUMOR: Comedian Wendy Liebman will perform at the Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center, 333 Nahanton St. in Newton, at 7 p.m. Sunday as part of the JCC’s 30th anniversary celebration. Liebman has been doing stand-up comedy for more than 25 years and has been a regular on many late-night comedy shows.

Tickets are $30; visit www.bostonjcc.org, call 617-965-5226 or 866-811-4111, or e-mail boxoffice@jccgb.org.

Send ideas to nancyswest@ gmail.com.