William Brewster Hoyt
I was born in October 1945 in New Haven Connecticut. In the following summer my father had returned from the war in the Pacific and took his growing family (I have an older sister, Kate) sailing up the coast of New England to explore his options. He found his metier in Newport, Rhode Island at St. George's School, which, seeking a new English department chair, turned to my father with his doctorate in English from Yale to fill that role. So I grew up at the school as the son of Dr. Hoyt, as he was known to his students, and Norrie to his friends. My mother Kitty had attended Yale Art school, and she became an accomplished portraitist, working on her commissions from Newport's distinguished families and allotting our dining room to that purpose. Newport also boasted a vibrant art association, occupying the former home of John Griswold, a China trade merchant. As my mother devoted countless hours at the art association, I recall often walking over after school to the building, designed and built by Richard Morris Hunt in 1864. Inside I would stroll through the perfume of turpentine to find my mother painting upstairs in a light-filled studio. I came to love drawing, entertaining myself for hours doing typical little boy subjects; soldiers, airplanes, things exploding, guns, and elaborate underground forts in cross section with secret underwater chambers for submarines. I remember competing with another 5th grader because he drew smoke well, and I examined his drawing carefully to learn what the trick was. As a teenager, when I finally graduated from faculty brat to full student at St. George's, I discovered a mentor for my inchoate artistic vision in Richard Grosvenor. He taught watercolor, oil painting, and art history with infectious enthusiasm. After I took all the art courses in the curriculum, Dick and I just went out painting together, beginning an artistic friendship that continues today whenever I visit Newport and the day is right. However, a field trip to the Fogg Art Museum as a young student to see Andrew Wyeth's dry brush watercolors cinched the deal for me. I was going to be an artist too.
Beyond the canvas lay the sea. Dr. Hoyt was a lover of boats. My father went from summers of family sailing on a 36 foot Crocker cutter to hauling a 32 foot sailboat cross country with a family that now included a younger sister, Jane--stopping to sail the Mississippi over spring vacation, then out to the west coast, up the Sacramento river, and on to Puget sound and British Columbia. I was 11. His love of sailing drew him to ocean racing, and he crossed the Atlantic 23 times, making quite a name for himself in sailing circles with the slide shows he gave at yacht clubs and articles in Sail Magazine, where he served as a contributing editor. The summer after my high school graduation I joined him and 11 others on a 50 foot boat named Ondine in the transatlantic race to England.
In 1963 after sailing and foreign journeys, I went to Yale and discovered an entirely different art world. The chairman of the art department was the New York abstract expressionist Jack Tworkov. Also, though he had recently departed from Yale, Joseph Albers influence remained in the teaching of color theory by Sewall Sillman and painting by Richard Lytle. I was particularly affected by Walker Evans, the Depression era photographer who collaborated on James Agee's book, ''Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.'' Evans came out from New York on the train on Tuesdays and spent individual time with each of his students, looking at our efforts and sharing his expertise and wisdom.
After Yale a number of milestones ensued. I graduated in 1967, married shortly thereafter, had my first solo show at the Newport Art Association, got my draft notice, joined the Navy, went to OCS, was stationed in Italy with the commander of the Sixth Fleet, and embarked on the USS Littlerock. While enlisted, I painted portraits of both the admirals under whom I served and produced a portfolio of 25 paintings of Fleet activities.
After leaving the Navy I stayed in Newport for a year but then divorced and moved to Vermont to be with a group of friends with whom I had reconnected while sailing the frigate HMS Rose down from Nova Scotia. A friend in Newport had her built in Lunenberg for the Bicentennial in 1976 (most recently the Rose was used in the movie ''Master and Commander''). In the early 1970's, finally free of the limitations of various institutions and conventional society, my Vermont friends and I began to explore an alternative, communal lifestyle, encouraging each other in our different endeavors. I discovered that I liked building with wood, and, after adding an impractical sculpture studio addition onto the house, I left for Barnard, Vermont with my friend Timothy Smith to build a ''cabin'' for a couple I knew in Newport who owned land in Vermont and were up for something ''handmade.'' The project became more and more complicated, taking three years to complete. I loved every minute of it. We hauled in stone from all over, building the foundation and a 27 foot tall chimney with a fireplace and stone stairs winding up around it. Timbers came from old barns that had been crushed in a late spring snow, all hand hewn and ancient, pegged together. No nails were used. As we had no electricity, power tools were also out, except for the crucial chain saw. During this time I remarried, and in 1973 my daughter Gwen was born. She started life in a bureau drawer in the house still under construction. After it was finished we bought another old house in Barnard, Vermont, built in 1820, and I went back to painting. Tim left Vt for New York City to work stone on the cathedral of St. John the Divine and has since gone on to become a master stone mason.
The next four years found me painting in Vermont, accepting some portrait commissions, exhibiting in Vermont and in Newport, but after another divorce I commenced eight peripatetic years, coming back summers to Vermont from Morocco, Hawaii, Newport, and New Haven, eventually buying a piece of land in Hartland Vermont and building a studio on it in 1984. By 1987 I had added a house with my partner, Kathy Bailey, and her daughter Caitlin. We married in 1989. I was also sailing again with a new friend, Spencer Field, over in Maine. Talking in the outfield during a summer softball game, we discovered our mutual interest; moreover, he had a sailboat in Round Pond Maine and he was having trouble finding crew for it. A 32 foot Concordia Galaxy sloop, built in 1961 before boatbuilders had figured out that the new fiberglass didn't need to be as thick as wood, the sloop is a sturdy vessel with a cast iron keel bolted onto it. After sailing with him and painting a few summers on the coast, I accumulated enough paintings of Maine to look for a gallery there. A friend recommended Maine's Massachusetts House, north of Camden on Route 1 past Lincolnville Beach. I stopped in and met the owner, Ernie Schoeck, a retired police officer from Brooklyn, New York. He explained the strange name; one of the buildings had been built in the 1600's when Massachusetts governed what is now Maine. He was agreeable to my work, and as it seemed like a nice enough space, I signed on and started sending him work, which he sold in a desultory fashion for a couple of years until one day he called me in Vermont to ask if I had any more paintings ready because '' this guy came in and bought all your stuff.'' This was in the early 90's, the man was Charles Cawley, the president of MBNA, a new credit card company that had moved into an old mill in Camden. The business was growing rapidly and before selling out to Bank of America was the largest in the world. Thus began a patronage that lasted a dozen years and encouraged me to spend more and more time in Maine doing large oil paintings that went into corporate spaces in Maine, New York, and Delaware.
In the most recent incarnation of my painting career, some ten years ago I was introduced to John Spain from Maine Art Gallery by my friends at Hunter Editions in Kennebunk, Maine. After a couple of years of successful sales, I developed a wonderful working relationship with John, Francesca, and all the folks at Maine Art and their summer show space, The Gallery on Chase Hill. From there we have embarked on a rewarding, though sometimes exhausting, schedule of shows and events that has placed my work in some of the best collections in the region, and I relish the friendships I have enjoyed with many of these patrons of the arts.
There is a challenge and a joy in seeing something ineffably beautiful or moving and resolving to make a painting of it. The process has taken many twists and turns since I was fifteen, the stimuli shifting and evolving. The threads of the canvas, the sea, Vermont, family, friends, and Maine have woven themselves inextricably into my psyche and my work. Sometimes I go looking, often early in the morning before setting sail for the next harbor or toward the end of the day after we anchor and the harsh light softens. Other times a subject recommends itself unsolicited with the realization that a painting is staring me in the face. During the winter I find things I want to paint and contrive arrangements. I think painting is a kind of meditation, focusing on the simple joy of rendering well a chosen subject. I usually begin with a careful drawing and can spend days before beginning to paint, but I am not always consistent and I might just start right in. As a rule I work on one painting at a time from start to finish. I will sometimes go back into an older painting to make changes or additions. I have written comments to accompany the paintings in this catalogue, hinting at some of the thoughts I was having as I conceived them.
1945 - New Haven, Connecticut
1967 - Yale University, BA Fine Arts
1963 - St. Georges School ,Newport, R.I.
1990 - american Artist Magazine, Competition Winner. ''Preserving Natural Resources.''
1978 - First Prize for Watercolor, Newport Art Association Annual Show, Newport, RI
1973 - People's Prize, and First Prize for Watercolor. Newport Art Association, Newport, RI
25 paintings done while on duty in the Sixth Fleet for the United States Navy, including portraits of Admiral Martin and Admiral Richardson
Numerous Corporate & Private Collections
2012 - Group show, ''Choice,'' at Maine Art Shows, Kennebunkport, ME
2011 - Group show, ''Boat,'' at Maine Art Shows, Kennebunkport, ME
2010 - One man show, Maine Art Shows, Kennebunkport, ME
- Group Show, AVA Gallery, Lebanon, NH
2009 - One man show, Yarger | Strauss Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA
- Marine art show, Maine Art Shows, Kennebunkport, ME
2008 - One man show, Islesboro Historical Society, Islesboro, ME
- One man show, Maine Art Shows, Kennebunkport, ME
2007 - One man show, Maine Art Shows, Kennebunkport, ME
2006 - One man show, Maine Art Shows, Kennebunkport, ME
2005 - One man show, Islesboro Historical Society, Isleboro, ME
- Group show, Maine Art Shows, Kennebunkport ME
2004 - One man show, Maine Art Shows, Kennebunkport, ME
- One man show, The V Gallery, Woodstock, VT
2003 - Two person show, Spring Bull Gallery, Newport, RI
- Group show, Maine Art Shows, Kennebunkport, ME
2002 - Group show, Powers Gallery, Acton, MA
1993 through 2002
- Maine's Massachusetts House Gallery, Lincolnville, ME. More than 250 paintings for MBNA, Charles Cawley, Pres.
1996 - Group show, Grayson Gallery, Woodstock, VT
1994 - Two person show, Gallery 2, Woodstock, VT
1993 - One man show, Arnold Art, Newport, RI
1992 - One man show, Gallery 2, Woodstock, VT
- Marine Invitational Show, Arnold Art, Newport RI
1991 - One man show, Arnold Art, Newport, RI
1990 - Group show, Gallery 2, Woodstock, VT
- Sheburne Farms Exhibit, Webb Estate, Shelburne, VT
1989 - One man show, Gallery 2, Woodstock, VT
- One man show, Arnold Art, Newport, RI
- Screen show, Gallery 2, Woodstock, VT
- Marine Invitational Show, Arnold Art, Newport, RI
- Shelburne Farms Exhibit, Webb Estate, Shelburne, VT
1988 - Group show, Gallery 2, Woodstock, VT
1986 - One man show, Gallery 2, Woodstock, VT
1984 - One man show, Gallery 2, Woodstock, VT
1983 - One man show, Newport Art Association, Newport, RI
1982 - Gallery 2, Woodstock, VT
- Hopkins Center Regional Show, Hanover, NH
- Windward Artist Guild Show, Honolulu, Hawaii
- Showcase Gallery, Kona, Hawaii
- Hale Ku'ai Gallery, Waimea, Hawaii
1981 - One man show, Gallery 2, Woodstock, VT
1979 - Invitational Exhibit, National Academy of Design, NYC
- New England Drawing Competition, Decordoba Museum, Concord, MA
1978 - Hopkins Center Regional Show, Hanover, NH
- Newport Art Association Annual Exhibit, Newport, RI
- Gallery 2, Woodstock, VT
1977 - One man show, Gallery 2, Woodstock, VT
1976 - Far Gallery, New York City, NY
1975 - Hopkins Center Regional Show, Hanover, NH
- Stratton Arts Festival, Stratton, VT
- Black Gallery, Newton, MA
1974 - One man show, Gallery 2, Woodstock, VT
1973 - One man show, Newport Art Association, Newport, RI
- Newport Art Association Annual Show
1972 - One man show, Newport Art Association, Newport, RI
1970 - One man show, Lyman Allen Museum, New London, CT
- Newport Art Association Annual Show, Newport, RI
1967 - One man show, Newport Art Association, Newport, RI