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Selections from the Pat and Nanno de Groot Collection

July 12 - September 8, 2019

Curated by:
Christine McCarthy
Opening Reception:
Friday, July 12 at 8pm
Exhibition Checklist:
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About the Exhibition

This exhibition features recent acquisitions gifted to the Provincetown Art Association and Museum including art works by Pat de Groot, Nanno de Groot, Richard Baker, Paul Bowen, Polly Burnell, Jack Pierson, and Bob Thompson among others.

Pat de Groot was born in London to Ernald Richardson and Evelyn Weil (a granddaughter of Isidor Straus, co-owner of Macy’s, who died on the Titanic), and was sent to the U.S. at the age of 10. In her 20s, she worked at the Paris Review, and then designed book covers for Random House and Farrar, Straus and Giroux in New York.

But it was in Provincetown that Pat made her mark. She met the painter Nanno de Groot in the late 1950s, and it changed everything. They married in 1958, when she was 28 years old, and the couple bought land on Commercial Street. She and Nanno then designed the perfect artists’ house, which over the years, became a center of artistic activity.

Following Nanno’s death, de Groot became a painter in her own right. She began drawing in 1974, and then made paintings that often depicted the horizon and the weather she watched from her home studio. She took a drawing pad with her out in a kayak, where a human-friendly whale once swam beside her—that was the vantage point from which she sketched her famous cormorants. She also practiced karate, was an award-winning tuna fisherman who appeared in Sports Illustrated magazine after hauling a huge tuna onto Charles Mayo’s boat, and played the conga drums with the man she called her “last boyfriend,” Elvin Jones, a John Coltrane drummer. Pat died Thursday, July 26, 2018 and is buried in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Nanno de Groot was born March 23, 1913 in Balkbrug, Netherlands. In 1930–1933, he went to the nautical school in Amsterdam, Netherlands. After graduation, he received third mate and radio operator’s papers. From 1937 to 1941, he worked in the shipping business and lived on the island of Bali. In 1941, he was called for submarine duty by the Dutch Navy and was assigned to Admiral’s headquarters on Java where he stayed until the arrival of the Japanese. He was sent to San Francisco, California to serve as a liaison officer to the US Army and US Navy in charge of running troop ships between the west coast and the western Pacific. He was Lieutenant Commander in charge of the Dutch Port Authority in San Francisco, a position that was discontinued in 1946. He became a US citizen in 1954.

Nanno de Groot started drawing at six years of age. In 1946, at age 33, he discovered Picasso and he dedicated the rest of his life to painting and drawing. He worked for a year as a cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle. After his marriage to the New York School artist Elise Asher in 1948, de Groot settled in New York on West 12th Street. He and Elise Asher divorced in 1957, and she subsequently married poet Stanley Kunitz. Nanno went to Provincetown where he spent the last five years of his life.

De Groot considered himself an American artist and part of the Abstract Expressionist movement. Nanno de Groot died on December 26, 1963 in Provincetown, Massachusetts from lung cancer.

Image: Nanno de Groot, untitled (seascape), oil on canvas, 52 x 60”, detail