April 2, 20201–September 12, 2021

at the Discover Portsmouth Welcome Center
10 Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH

Open 7 days, 10 am–5 pm



Portsmouth Historical Society Members
Seniors 70+
Children under 18
Active & retired military

Admission grants access to the John Paul Jones Historic House Museum at 43 Middles Street, at the galleries in the Academy Building at 10 Middle Street, and can be applied toward a discount on historical walking tours or towards an annual membership

Don Gorvett: Working Waterfronts” presents over sixty works by this famed seacoast master printmaker highlighting the dynamic commercial harbors of the region. Renowned for his imaginative seascapes and “boat portraits,” Gorvett’s work celebrates the mechanical and gritty alongside the serene and picturesque.

Don Gorvett was born in Boston in 1949 and raised in Cambridge and Somerville. Much of his youth was spent at the seashore, swimming, fishing, and observing fishing-town industry. Don’s family moved to Burlington, Massachusetts, where high school art instructor Elinor Marvin discovered his talents. He received from Mrs. Marvin an extraordinary education, focused on drawing, graphic arts, and theatrical set design. He attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and, after graduation, moved to Gloucester, Massachusetts, to pursue a career in painting. With the encouragement of Elinor Marvin, and the support of Annabelle Lewis, a longtime summer resident of Ogunquit, Don began his annual summer-long painting excursions to Ogunquit, Maine. While in Gloucester, Don was introduced to Mrs. Buswell, heiress to the Jacobean-style Stillington Hall estate. She offered the rooms in the estate’s theater for the artist to live in. There Don set up his first etching press and began a series of large-scale woodcuts based on Richard Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung. He also created a series of drypoint etchings recording the Gloucester waterfront.

This brief film by Steven Galante (sgalanteproductions.com) is an excellent peek into Don Gorvett’s creative process.

The seaside and harbors are fundamental to his work, as is his passion for history, drama, and music. His skills as a draughtsman and his understanding of the medium of printmaking are features of his bold, graphic style and the nature of his imagery. The reduction woodcut marries naturally with the maritime rusticity of New England’s harbor towns. All woodcuts are designed, cut, and editioned by Don in his studio. In 2006, Gorvett opened his first gallery with a printmaking studio in Portsmouth, now known as the Don Gorvett Gallery.

Early in 2020, Don moved his studio from Portsmouth to the Beacon Marine Basin in Gloucester. The new studio’s spacious second-floor loft at the marina also allows him to exhibit his own work and that of other nationally known artists and printmakers. Today, Gorvett’s work is in many private and public collections throughout the world.

“Artistic Encounters over the Last Thirty Years”

an evening with Don Gorvett

Join us for an evening lecture with printmaker Don Gorvett as he shares tales of life working as an artist on the Seacoast and shows us the process of creating a reduction woodcut. “Working Waterfronts,” currently on display at the Portsmouth Historical Society, is the first ever retrospective on Gorvett’s work, offers a great opportunity to see the evolution of one artist’s work, and explores the dynamic medium of the reduction woodcut.

June 17, 2021
in-person at the Discover Portsmouth Welcome Center
and virtually, via Zoom

Don Gorvett, on the front page of the Portsmouth Herald on March 24, 1991, working on his print Wentworth by the Sea

Thank you to the lenders and donors who made this exhibition possible

Martha Fuller Clark and Geoffrey E. Clark • Pauline C. Metcalf / The Felicia Fund, Inc.

William & Arlene Brewster • Joseph MacDonald Family • New Hampshire State Council on the Arts

Anthony Moore Painting Conservation • Jameson & Priscilla French

Piscataqua Savings Bank • Cambridge Trust

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