Gleason Fine Art

‘Sisters: The Paintings of Anne and Dorothy Eisner’

Tue, 05/21/2024 - 1:30pm

Story Location:
31 Townsend Avenue
Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538
United States

    Beginning Friday, May 24 and running through Tuesday, June 25, Gleason Fine Art will be celebrating the inaugural show of the paintings of two mid-20th century sisters: Anne (1911-1967) and Dorothy (1906-1984) Eisner. A catalog with essays by noted arts writer Carl Little and Dorothy Eisner's daughter (and Anne Eisner's niece) Christie McDonald is available for the asking. The reception for "Sisters" is Friday, June 7 from 5 to 7 pm. Christie McDonald will be attending the reception and will happily share stories about both sisters. The show itself opens May 24 and runs through June 25.

    Anne and Dorothy Eisner represent an extraordinary example of sibling creativity. Cherished daughters of well-off European immigrants to New York City, each of them pursued a life in art from an early age through trying times that included the Great Depression and World War II. They had many adventures along the way. Anne spent nine years in the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). Dorothy attended the Leon Trotsky trial in Mexico City and, while there, befriended leading Mexican artists. Wherever they found themselves, the sisters responded to what they witnessed.

    Both Anne and Dorothy found inspiration while staying at the famous Maine art colonies on Monhegan Island and Cranberry Island. In 1944, Anne Eisner painted Monhegan's iconic Island Inn against a lush summer landscape. In watercolor, she paid homage to the woodstove, an island mainstay, and to the cool light of Cathedral Woods. On Cranberry, Dorothy Eisner painted croquet matches that she and her husband John McDonald hosted and energetically contested, as well as lively cocktail hours attended by fellow artists William Kienbusch, John Heliker, and Robert LaHotan and beach outings on Cranberry's popular Preble Beach.

    While living in the Congo with her anthropologist husband Patrick Putnam, Anne kept her paints close at hand to capture village life among the Mbuti pygmies of the Ituri rainforest, a tribe she adored and who adored her in return. Leaving her traditional painting style behind, she explored using a looser, modernist form of expression, such as exhibited in her vibrant oil "Woman and Jug" and her elegant forest series done in brilliant blues and greens.

    The Eisner sisters remained unconventional all of their lives. While Dorothy Eisner's paintings are well-known in Maine - shows of her work have been held at the Farnsworth Art Museum, the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, as well as at Gleason Fine Art. Anne Eisner makes her Maine debut here in Boothbay Harbor. "Sisters," which marks the first time Anne and Dorothy's paintings have been shown together, offers a splendid opportunity to appraise--and admire--their individual visions. The show is a tribute to two artists whose paintings continue to make an indelible mark on the rich canvas of 21st-century art.

    Gleason Fine Art is located at 31 Townsend Ave., Boothbay Harbor. Join us for the reception for "Sisters: The Paintings of Anne and Dorothy Eisner." The "Sisters" show catalog is available upon request. For further information, call the gallery at 207-633-6849; or email us at

    Please enjoy the Eisner show, as well as the gallery's entire inventory of 20th and 21st century art, on our beautiful new website: