About the Exhibition
For five decades, Mary Sinclair’s career was tied to a remarkable degree to Cape Cod and Provincetown in particular. Her work always emphasized friends and family, and place and environment. These traits blossomed in the 1960s, clearly benefiting from her Provincetown sojourns.
About the Artist
A Detroit native, Mary Sinclair (1914-2004) grew up in Connecticut. She lost her father, Samuel Eastwick Sinclair, at the Second Battle of the Martne in 1918. Her mother, Grace Elizabeth Williams, was a commercial artist. She married again, to colleague George Annand. Mary Sinclair was Annand’s model for the now iconic National Biscuit Company’s child in a yellow raincoat. Sinclair started to make art seriously as a child; she was nine years old when New York’s Macy’s Department Store incorporated her drawing The Queen into one of their advertisements.
After graduating from Darien High School, Connecticut, Sinclair attended the Art Students League in New York City from 1931 to 1933. There she met fellow student Will Barnet (1911-2012); they were married from 1933 to 1952. Her second marriage, in the 1950s, was to the doctor and artist Joseph Epstein. They lived in Union City, New Jersey, and from the 1960s to the 1990s they vacationed in Provincetown and Wellfleet with their family.
Sinclair had six children: Peter, Richard, Todd, Mary Elizabeth, Margaret, and Judith. Peter Barnet and Richard Barnet both became artists. Her children, her home, and her neighborhoods were Sinclair’s most important subjects. Richard Barnet noted “The skill and beauty of Mary Sinclair’s drawing-in-color does not stand alone. Rather, central to her work are the compositions. She always builds powerful designs from these elements: people and the places they inhabit.”
Throughout her life Sinclair was an active member of many artist communities and participated in group shows across the country. At the National Arts Club, NY, a work received the Best Oil Painting Award, 1975, and two pieces were included in American Modernist Drawings, at the Susan Teller Gallery, September 3–28, 2013. Sinclair had one-person shows at the New School for Social Research, the Van Diemen Lilienfeld Galleries (with Joshua Epstein), 1950, the Hilda Carmel Gallery, the Education Alliance of New York, the Carl Ashby Gallery, NY; the College of Mount Saint Vincent, 1992, Riverdale, NY (which also has a work by Sinclair in their permanent collection); and the Robert Hutchins Gallery, Mapplewood, NJ, 1996.