Isles of Tranquility: Paintings of Bermuda by Clark Greenwood Voorhees (1871-1933)

As the weather gets colder, Hawthorne Fine Art will be dreaming of the warm climate of paradise! From December 8 to January 18, we will be exhibiting paintings, drawings, and watercolors by Clark Greenwood Voorhees that capture the landscape and colors of Bermuda. Isles of Tranquility: Paintings of Bermuda by Clark Greenwood Voorhees (1871-1933) is only the second full-scale show of the artist’s work in three decades.

In 1919, Clark Voorhees visited Bermuda for the first time, accompanied by other artists from the Old Lyme Art Colony. He and his wife, Maud, eventually purchased a home in Somerset, which they called “Tranquility,” and returned to the islands every winter. Located in Sandy’s Parish, the western-most of nine Parishes in Bermuda, Somerset (and “Tranquility”) was within reach of numerous beaches and other sites. The Royal Navy Dockyard, painted by Voorhees, is located at the northern tip of Sandy’s Parish, while Church Bay is located in nearby Southampton Parish.

Looking Toward the Dockyard, Somerset (Click to enlarge)
Church Bay, (Click to enlarge)

Like in New England, Voorhees depicted examples of typical Bermudian architecture. Springfield Courtyard by Moonlight depicts a 1740s mansion in typical plantation architectural style. The white walls and roof made a perfect canvas on which Voorhees experimented with light and shadow.

Springfield Courtyard by Moonlight (Click to enlarge)

Having received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Chemistry, Voorhees demonstrated a lifelong interest in science. After changing careers to become a full-time artist, he continued to take a scientific interest in the landscapes he painted, coming into direct contact with nature through avid bicycling. In Bermuda, Voorhees explored the islands on his “wheel” and produced images that captured the jewel-like colors of the location, the juxtaposition of land and sea, and the varieties of trees (cedar and papaya) that he encountered.

Somerset Parish—Islands with Cottage (Click to enlarge)
Cedar Trees at Whale Bay [located in Southampton Parish] (Click to enlarge)
Rock with Water (Click to enlarge)

Over the course of his career, Voorhees’s painting style developed from Barbizon-inspired Tonalism to Impressionism, following the course taken by the Lyme Art Colony. Voorhees continued to experiment with Tonalism and Impressionism using the brilliant atmosphere and variety of colors to further explore his already developed techniques.

Isles of Tranquility is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue, which includes an essay titled, “Impressions of Paradise: Clark Greenwood Voorhees in Bermuda,” and reproductions of the works in the exhibition. We look forward to sharing this catalogue with you, and hope you will join us at Hawthorne Fine Art to view the exhibition!

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