Library welcomes Langlais art with reception

Jan 31, 2014
Photo by: Joanna Hynd Local residents attend a Thomaston Public Library reception for its newly installed art works by Bernard “Blackie” Langlais.

Thomaston — The Bernard Langlais art reception held Jan. 24 at Thomaston Public Library was a big success, attended by approximately 50 people. The reception celebrated the library's acquisition of five pieces of art by the renowned Maine artist Langlais, who was born in Old Town and lived for many years on the Cushing peninsula, where he died in 1977.

Head Librarian Ann Harris addressed attendees, relating the manner in which the artworks were acquired. In 2010, Helen Langlais, Bernard Langlais' wife, bequeathed a large number of Langlais' artworks and 90 acres of their Cushing property to Colby College, a gift that has allowed Colby College Museum of Art to become the largest holder of Langlais' art. After making their own selections, Colby curators made a gift of nearly 3,000 Langlais artworks to the Kohler Foundation, an organization committed to the preservation of art environments and important collections. Kohler preserved and then gifted these works to nonprofit institutions throughout Maine and the United States. Thomaston Public Library is one of those lucky recipients.

Annette Naegel of the Georges River Land Trust, who initially contacted the library about the possibility of acquiring a piece of Langlais art, addressed the reception audience as well, giving an update on the preservation of the Langlais' Cushing property and its outdoor sculptures. A portion of the estate will be preserved as a sculpture park for public access and will be named in honor of Bernard and Helen Langlais. The Georges River Land Trust of Rockland now owns the property and will collaborate with the Colby Museum of Art on programming at the site.

The library's artwork acquisition includes five pieces, all wood-relief wall hangings, two of them abstract and three figurative. The five pieces will be on permanent display at the library and available for viewing during all open hours.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or

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