2020 Commercial 047


Labrador Landing Condominium | Boathouse (Unit C).

The Boathouse occupies a prominent place in the history of the Provincetown art colony, as this was the Shore Studios, established in 1947 by the artist Donald Frederick Witherstine (1896-1961). It was one of the first and most important commercial galleries in town. “We could use the amazing Mr. Witherstine in 57th Street also,” Edward Alden Jewell wrote in The New York Times that year. “He is a force, a whiz, a conflagration.”

Born in Herkimer, N.Y., Witherstine lived in Peoria and attended Bradley College there, which explains the “Illinois” on his Army gravestone, noting his service as a private in World War I. He studied further at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, before coming to town to study with George Elmer Browne. Not only a fine and respected artist himself — his moody woodblock prints evocatively depict the somber darkness that can steal over Provincetown — Witherstine was a prominent advocate of the art colony. He helped put together the seminal Forum 49 and was president of the Provincetown Art Association. He caused a sensation in 1945 by arranging for the sales of artwork at the association. Then he went off on his own.

“Shore Studios isn’t really a gallery,” Jewell said. “There is no wall space at all, and pictures are just stacked around on the floor. This, of course, is no way really to show art, except to individual collectors and other prospective buyers. But the news today is that Mr. Witherstine, with his highly developed talent for picking the strongest talents and getting hold of their best work, has been selling at a phenomenal rate. Museums are among the buyers.” The line-up in the inaugural year included LaForce Bailey, Morris Davidson, Charles Heinz, Hans Hofmann, Irving Marantz, Ross Moffett, Maurice Sterne, and John Whorf.

Witherstine died in 1961. The property remained in family hands until 1997. It is now owned by Lyn A. Plummer and Maria A. Cirino through Labrador Landing LLC. They rent it out in turn, having renovated it 2011.

For a view of the Main Residence, please see 47 Commercial Street.

For a view of the Cottage, please see 47 Commercial Street.

¶ Last updated on 21 June 2018.

For further reading online

Labrador Landing website.

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