Roy M. Mason (1886–1972), Monhegan Island, Maine, n.d.; oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches; Promised Bequest Gift of Dr. Michael W. Wood, 2017
Monhegan Island has attracted some of America’s best known 20th-century artists, including George Bellows, Robert Henri, Rockwell Kent, and three generations of the Wyeth family. (Roy Mason was friends with patriarch, N. C. Wyeth.) Mason’s depiction of the landscape takes a unique perspective. Most artists concentrate on the rocky shoreline, crashing waves, and perilously situated houses. Instead, this aerial view is an abstracted study of serene blue and violet balanced by a curving shore, massive granite wall, and dark, silhouetted trees.
Roy Martell Mason of Batavia, New York was known as a sporting or wildlife artist whose landscapes reflect his appreciation of nature. He traveled to hunt, fish, and sketch in Lake Ontario, Vermont, New Hampshire, Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains, the Carolinas, and Virginia, which provided a vast array of subjects. The primarily self-taught artist became a member of The Salmagundi Club and National Academy of Design in New York, and regionally, the Buffalo Society of Artists, Batavia Society of Artists, and The Rationalists, who promoted “soundness and sanity in art.” His facility with watercolor also earned him election to the National Watercolor Society. When he became editor of American Artist magazine, printmaker Norman Kent catalogued and lauded Mason’s work on the American landscape. —NW