Artist: John Whorf
Title: "Setting the Decoys"
Size: 28" x 21"
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Signature: Signed and dated 1959 lower right
John Whorf (American 1903-1959)
John Whorf was a prolific American painter. Born and raised in Winthrop, Massachusetts, Whorf began his artistic education with informal studies with his father, Harry C. Whorf, a graphic designer. Harry and Sarah (Sadie), John's mother, took an active interest in the development of their children's creative pursuits. Their home was full of easels that were freely used by John and his brothers, their parents at times even encouraging them to paint on the walls. Whorf began his formal training in the Boston atelier of Sherman Kidd and at the Museum School, where he studied drawing with Philip Leslie Hall and painting with William James.
Whorf spent summers in Provincetown, Massachusetts, which proved to have a significant influence on the development of his style. It was there that Whorf began studying under George Elmer Browne and Charles Webster Hawthorne. In 1919, Whorf traveled to France, Spain, Portugal, and Morocco, at which point he began to shift his focus away from oil painting and almost exclusively to watercolors.
Whorf continued to spend summers in Provincetown with his wife Vivienne, née Wing, whom he met in his hometown of Winthrop as a student. In 1934, Whorf and Vivienne began renting a cottage from the Waugh family, thus beginning Whorf's acquaintance with the marine painter Frederick Judd Waugh. Influenced by Waugh's realistic depictions of crashing waves on the shores of Cape Cod, Whorf began painting seascapes.
In the 30's, Whorf, Vivienne, and their four children had permanently settled in Provincetown. Whorf enjoyed depicting a side of the summer resort town that vacationers seldom experienced, finding poetry in Cape Cod's off-season beauty.
His paintings may be found in numerous prestigious museum collections, among them the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, New York and The Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois, as well as in the Pitti Palace in Florence, Italy and the National Museum in Stockholm, Sweden.