Stephen Etnier (1903-1984)


Tidal Mill Cove, Maine

Oil on canvas


A native of York, Pennsylvania, Stephen Morgan Etnier was born on September 11, 1903 to a family of privilege, the first child of Carey and Susan Etnier. As was typical of this time, Etnier was expected to manage his family's successful manufacturing business. However, instead of engineering, Etnier went off to create an identity for himself that was based on two precepts: his ambition to achieve excellence as a painter and his love of sailing. His education at Yale University, Yale Art School, Haverford College, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Boothbay Art School and his apprenticeships with Rockwell Kent and John Carroll was sporadic and incomplete, sometimes due to poor academic performance. However, in 1950, he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate and earned honorary doctorates of fine arts later in life from Bates College and Bowdoin College. In addition, in 1953, he was elected full Academician into the National Academy. After his voluntary service as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy from Pearl Harbor until the end of the war, the lightheartedness of the prewar period never fully returned to Stephen Etnier's paintings.  His work of the early 1950s is characterized by quiet marine settings, sparsely lit early morning expanses, and harsh winter scenes. Stephen Etnier came to first Maine as a devoted sailor, and then became a summer resident on Gilbert Head, Long Island, Maine. The last thirty-five years of his life were as an established citizen at his residence named The Cove in South Harpswell, Maine. During the period from the 1960s until his death in 1984, his works are often reminiscent of Edward Hopper in terms of subject and scale.  However, Etnier's paintings are somewhat severe and lack familiarity; the subjects are in active tension with landmarks and have a surreal flavor.  It was also during this period of his life, he sought to document the harbors, towns and beaches of his beloved Maine. His exhibitions and medals are numerous and include the following to name a few: National Academy of Design, the Butler Institute of American Art, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum in Rockland, Maine, Bristol Art Museum at Linden Place, Bristol, Rhode Island and the Treat Gallery, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine. Magazine articles include Esquire's "Bad Boy Artist"; Magazine of Art article "Stephen Etnier"; Art Newsarticle "Etnier: Remoter Realism"; American Artist article "Stephen Etnier: Painter of a Gay, Sunny World"; and the American Artist article "Stephen Etnier: A Long Voyage Home". In addition, his painting "The Passing Tow" was featured in Life magazine.

Dealer Garvey Rita Art & Antiques
Artist/Maker Stephen Etnier
Measurements 16 x 36 inches
Price $9,000
Inventory View Dealer's Show Inventory
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