Exhibition and Lecture on Nationally Known Artist Norman Fortier

The Photographer’s Brush: Watercolors by Norman Fortier – Friday, June 7

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. –Massachusetts photographer and artist Norman Fortier (1910-2010) will be celebrated in a new exhibition opening on June 7 at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Although best known nationally as a photographer, Fortier was also a talented watercolorist with a gifted eye for light and composition. Norman Fortier: The Photographers’ Brush showcases charming watercolor renderings of boats, people, and places in Padanaram, Massachusetts, and farther afield, many on loan from the private collections of his friends, family, and patrons. The exhibition opening will also be coupled with a talk about the artist and his watercolor pieces by Whaling Museum Trustee and long-time friend of the artist, Edward Howland. This talk is part of the Sailors’ Series lectures for 2019, which present a wide variety of experiences and adventures by individuals with lifelong commitments to sailing, boats, and the sea.  The reception and exhibition viewing begin at 6:00 pm, and the lecture starts at 6:45 pm. Tickets can be purchased for $15 for Whaling Museum members and $20 for non-members at www.whalingmuseum.org or by calling 508-997-0046. The Whaling Museum is located at 18 Johnny Cake Hill in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

At his harborfront studio on Elm Street in Padanaram, Norman Fortier would host friends and fellow sailors, many of whom would commission a boat portrait or two by the charismatic artist. Some of these works and many others are included in The Photographer’s Brush, and together they demonstrate his extraordinary range of style, from broad planes of colorful spinnakers at the starting line to playful light flickering off the trees of Elm Street, to images of clapboard houses reminiscent of Edward Hopper. The upcoming exhibition presents a unique opportunity to see many works by a truly remarkable local artist, from private collections as well as the Whaling Museum’s collections.

Fortier made his reputation as a photographer, particularly for maritime pictures of yachts and regattas taken in and around Buzzards Bay, Narragansett Bay, and other popular waters of New England. His photographs have been featured in publications and exhibitions at the Whaling Museum in recent decades, and over 100,000 of his negatives of these and other subjects are archived in the Museum’s permanent collections.

The 29th annual Sailors’ Series is supported by Ruth and Hope Atkinson. Following Edward Howland’s lecture about Norman Fortier on June 7, the Sailors’ Series will continue on July 18 with a lecture related to wind, which coincides with the Museum’s exhibition De Wind is Op: Climate, Culture and Innovation in Dutch Maritime Painting as well as the city-wide “Summer Winds” celebration. The final Sailors’ Series lecture in September will focus on the craft of making Azorean whaleboats. 

Tina Malott
Director of Marketing & Public Relations
New Bedford Whaling Museum
508-997-0046 Ext. 140

For high resolution images contact Tina Malott. (Image thumbnails below)


About the New Bedford Whaling Museum
The New Bedford Whaling Museum is the world's most comprehensive museum devoted to the global story of human interaction with whales in the world’s oceans, and the history and culture of the SouthCoast region. The cornerstone of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, the Museum is located at 18 Johnny Cake Hill in the heart of the city's historic downtown. Museum hours: January through March, Tuesday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.; April through December, daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum is open until 8 p.m. every second Thursday of the month. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.  Admission is free for Museum members and children ages three and under; adults $17, seniors (65+) $15, students (19+) $10, child and youth $7. For more information, visit www.whalingmuseum.org.


Caption Below: Norman Fortier, Buzzards Bay Regatta. Watercolor on paper. Collection of Blair and Carol Brown

watercolor Buzzards Bay Regatta











Caption Below: Norman Fortier, Norman Fortier’s Elm Street Studio and the Packet. Watercolor on paper. Collection of Nancy Wheelwright.

watercolor Elm Street Studio