Building the Schooner, ProvincetownOn Display

This colorful and light-filled masterpiece by the American Impressionist Childe Hassam held a special place within the artist’s home. In a 1956 letter to Richard Howard, first director of the Birmingham Museum of Art, Joseph Gotlieb, a New York art dealer, explained, “‘Building the Schooner, Provincetown’ was one of Mrs. Hassam’s personal favorites, and the painting was never for sale while Mr. or Mrs. Hassam lived. I personally remember seeing it there on the wall.” In 1900, Hassam visited Provincetown, Massachusetts, the historic and picturesque village at the tip of Cape Cod. Once a thriving center for fishing, whaling, and shipbuilding, by the time Hassam visited, the town had begun to rely heavily on tourism. Here, Hassam depicts a once frequent, but now rare event: the building of a schooner. Commissioned as a luxury yacht by a Chicago millionaire, the Charlotte was the first large ship to be built in Provincetown in a quarter of a century.

  • 1900
  • 22 x 28 in. (55.9 x 71.1 cm)
  • 1956.22
  • Museum purchase
  • Collection of the Artist. Purchased by the Milch Galleries New York form the Estate of Mrs. Childe Hassam administered the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Purchased by the Birmingham Museum of Art from The Milch Galleries, New York in 1956.