Stage Fort across Gloucester Harbor

Artist: Fitz Henry Lane (formerly Fitz Hugh Lane) (1804–1865)

Date: 1862

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 38 x 60 in. (96.5 x 152.4 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, Rogers and Fletcher Funds, Erving and Joyce Wolf Fund, Raymond J. Horowitz Gift, Bequest of Richard De Wolfe Brixey, by exchange, and John Osgood and Elizabeth Amis Cameron Blanchard Memorial Fund, 1978

Accession Number: 1978.203


Lane returned to his native Gloucester from Boston in 1848. His works of the 1850s and 1860s are successively purged of genre and topographical elements, becoming increasingly spare and essential. By 1862, Lane had engineered a seamless, self-effacing style, possibly influenced by the works of Martin Johnson Heade. Stage Fort, once the site of military fortifications, sits on an arching land form used to lead the viewer's eye into the glowing, lucid, and almost eerily still distance. Despite the disjuncture between the virtually surreal, meticulously painted foreground and the sheer plane of water near the horizon, this work marks the transition to Lane's final, taut, elemental style. The painting's disquieting stasis, even with its hopeful pink and golden glow, creates a hermetic, elegiac mood found in many of Lane's late works.