To the editor:
Re “An Art Collection with Wellfleet as Its Muse” [Jan. 19, page C1]:
The image prominently featured at the beginning of this article about an exhibition at the Wellfleet Public Library is labeled “A painting of Duck Creek by John Whorf.” While I am always pleased to see my grandfather’s work discussed and exhibited, this painting, in my opinion, is not by John Whorf.
Not only did he not paint in Wellfleet (what are the chances this would be Whorf’s only known painting of Wellfleet, as claimed in the article), but the painting does not exhibit Whorf’s hallmarks: his facility, lively brush work, design, and vivid color palette. Significantly, he abandoned oil paint very early in his career and made watercolor his medium of choice. Anyone interested in Whorf’s work can view hundreds of his paintings online.
A great disservice is done — not only reputationally to Whorf, in this instance, but also financially to would-be buyers — when an artist is represented by a painting that is not his. The Wellfleet exhibit and the showcasing of “Duck Creek” in the article are the kind of “credentials,” in the absence of provenance or any other surety, that can later be used to promote a painting when it comes up for sale.
I suspect that the owner may have bought it solely because of the signature. The article reports that a North Shore collector bought the painting at auction, but when he “realized it wasn’t a painting of the Boston area, he put it back up for auction.” What the North Shore collector likely realized was that it wasn’t an authentic John Whorf and returned it to the auction block. Caveat emptor.
Amy Whorf McGuiggan
Editor’s note: We asked Michael Parlante, owner of the painting in question, to respond. He said it would be important to see the work in person before passing judgment on its authenticity. “I have bought and sold a lot of John Whorf,” said Parlante. “He went all over the world to paint. He painted everywhere. This is probably one of his best pieces. It’s a hell of a painting.”
Route 6 Constipation
To the editor:
If it is ever implemented, the “road diet” plan to eliminate half of the Route 6 lanes between Brackett Road in North Eastham and the Wellfleet town line [Feb. 2, front page] should be renamed “automotive constipation,” at least on summer weekends.
With the current four lanes (two in each direction), the backups of vehicles traveling east on that stretch of Route 6 are already severe, frequently extending a mile or so during periods when many residents and visitors are trying to reach their Cape Cod abodes. With only a single lane in each direction, the traffic backups will extend well past Brackett Road into the heart of Eastham. Significantly increased bumper-to-bumper traffic not only makes drivers suffer but also impairs conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.
My wife and I have been concerned about the continued accessibility of our house in South Wellfleet with climate change and rising sea levels. Not to worry: the transportation engineers may make that problem moot.
Wellfleet and Washington, D.C.
Change in Shangri-La
To the editor:
In response to Dan Katz’s worries about the Walsh property [Letter, Feb. 2, page A2], I can only surmise that he does not want his Shangri-La to change. His concerns are unfounded.
The 70-acre Walsh property has the potential of alleviating the housing shortage for many on the Lower Cape. It’s unlikely that the fireman, the teacher, or the nurse who may find housing there in the future will have any time for the beach.
Like many of the affordable housing developments that are currently in the works, the Walsh property will have intensive oversight with regard to water and wastewater. It will meet all the regulations the Dept. of Environmental Protection imposes on it.
I remind Mr. Katz that the Commonwealth requires every town to have the goal that 10 percent of its housing stock qualifies as affordable. Truro is woefully behind in achieving that goal. Lawsuit after lawsuit has stymied the attempts of those with guilty consciences to move projects forward.
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that nothing gets built at the Walsh property — that Truro imposes a complete moratorium on building. Year-rounders may no longer exist. Town meeting and government may become obsolete. Those who remain here in their second homes may grow lonely cutting their own grass.
Kathleen E. Bacon
The writer is a member of the Wellfleet Select Board.