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Home » ARTS AND CULTURE » MASSACHUSETTS » The Scoop on Provincetown Galleries
‘A Dreamy Afternoon in June’ by Peter Busa (Albert Merola Gallery)
The Scoop on Provincetown Galleries

Part 2 - Art in America’s First Art Colony

By Steve Lyons | March 21, 2011

Previous Article in this Series

In the concluding part of his stroll around the galleries in Provincetown, Massachusetts, Steve Lyons reveals the depth of the artistic community.

Simie Maryles Gallery

There are a lot of reasons to visit Simie Maryles Gallery. Maryles, a painter herself, showcases lots of talent, but the single best reason to go is Anne Blair Brown. This Nashville Tennessean’s work washed ashore several seasons ago, right into the front window of Maryles’s space, and she’s been stopping traffic ever sense.

While Brown, a trained chef, who chose painting as an additional creative outlet, is a natural at architecture (city streetscapes are a recurring image), her work mostly centers on people, interior spaces and rural and urban landscapes. It’s a great oeuvre, but it’s her restaurant scenes that you want to own. These little pieces (the biggest I’ve seen is 18″ x 24″) are exquisitely delicious and clearly influenced by her profession and her scenes of the comings and goings of chefs, customers and waiters never fail to conjure up Parisian bistros.

Though she prefers to paint, as the French say, en plein air, the restaurant scenes are done in her studio from a mix of photographs and memory.


‘Patio Entertainment’ by Anne Blair Brown (Simie Maryles Gallery)

McGuire Studio & Gallery

Provincetown has a love-hate relationship with artists who take the responsibility of owning the “business piece” of their art and open their own gallery. So, it’s no wonder that tongues started wagging the moment Michael McGuire hung up his shingle sign—Michael McGuire Gallery & Studio—and started selling his own work, an act that became all the more damning because he succeeded.

What drives buyers to his door? You’ll have to see it to believe it, but in a nutshell—a style wherein he breaks apart an image, such as a boat, creates shadow and light with blocks of color and then outlines them in black. It’s crazy but exceptional and unique.

‘Rest Day’ by Michael McGuire (McGuire Studio & Gallery)


Albert Merola Gallery

Did you know that the infamous filmmaker John Waters is also an artist? The Albert Merola Gallery did and along with the auteur’s works, exhibits some of the hippest and coolest stuff in town.

You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to enjoy any of the shows, but you should come with a liberal mind about what constitutes “art.” Even when it’s being de-constituted by the likes of Peter Busa, an abstract expressionist who, as the story goes, trashed his ascending career due to anger management issues (he threw his New York gallery rep down two flights of stairs).

If you need one more reason to put the gallery on your list of places to see, it also showcases Lester Johnson, Cary S. Leibowitz (Candyass), Pat de Groot and Donna Flax, who has also gained recognition for her boutique of fashionable sweatshirts and tees.   Located across from the post office, it’s often the first stop for visiting celebrities.



It’s a gallery. No, it’s a restaurant. Actually, it’s both. This old fashioned Cape Cod restaurant serves up one of the most extensive menus in town and eclectic collections of art in the world.

You’re just as likely to find an early Anne Packard painting hanging over your shoulder as you dine or an African mask en route to the bathroom. What’s more, Napi and his wife Helen have acquired much of their collection of local artists (estimated to be worth approximately $10–$15 million) by helping them pay rent and eat during the off-season when sales are few.

Don’t expect to view the entire collection in one sitting—it’s massive! Located up a small winding street just a block from Commercial Street, the quaint restaurant is open year- round, with lunch served only October–April. Learn more at www.napis-restaurant.com.

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