Dr. Robert L. Stahl Courtesy photo

MONHEGAN ISLAND — The Monhegan Museum of Art & History announces the retirement of Dr. Robert L. Stahl from the positions of director of the James Fitzgerald Legacy from 2004 to 2021, associate director of the Monhegan Museum 2004 to 2019 and co-director of the Museum from 2019 to 2020. In addition to volunteering his time in these leadership roles, Stahl served as Treasurer for the Monhegan Museum for many years.

Stahl served as the first director of the James Fitzgerald Legacy, the extensive estate of James Fitzgerald including his house and studio on Monhegan Island (both built by Rockwell Kent) and an extensive body of Fitzgerald’s artwork, from the time it became part of the Monhegan Museum in 2004. In this role he worked tirelessly to preserve and promote the art of James Fitzgerald by organizing annual exhibitions in Fitzgerald’s Monhegan studio and hosting weekly studio hours, creating a comprehensive online catalogue of more than 2200 works by James Fitzgerald, and publishing the first volume of an authoritative series based on the catalogue raisonné: James Fitzgerald, The Drawings and Sketches, Selections from the Catalogue Raisonné in 2017. In 2018, Stahl successfully applied for the inclusion of the Rockwell Kent—James Fitzgerald House and Studio in the prestigious Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

“Bob Stahl is the kind of colleague you love to have—generous with his knowledge, passionate about American art, and someone whose life experience informs his scholarship and good judgment. His leadership of the James Fitzgerald Legacy is a perfect example of these qualities. I so value his service on the Executive Committee of the Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios program at the National Trust for Historic Preservation (HAHS) and look forward to continuing our work together. Hearty congratulations on his retirement!” said Jeffrey Andersen, chair HAHS Executive Committee and director emeritus, Florence Griswold Museum 

“I first had the pleasure of meeting Bob when he hosted me for a truly magical two-day introduction to Monhegan Island and the Rockwell Kent-James Fitzgerald Home and Studio,” said Valerie Balint, senior program manager, Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios. His knowledge and passion completely immersed me in the wonders of the island and its enduring artistic legacy. Through his strong leadership and stewardship, the site gained acceptance to the Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios (HAHS) program, and it continues to be a valued member. I know others in the HAHS family join me in wishing in him all the best in this new chapter.”    

In addition to his work promoting the legacy of James Fitzgerald, Stahl’s endeavors on behalf of the Monhegan Museum have included highlighting the works of two underrepresented artists in the exhibitions and publications: Lamar Dodd: Half a Century of Monhegan Summers (2015) and Maud Briggs Knowlton: A Life Made in Art (2019), organizing the 2007 Rockwell Kent symposium on Monhegan, overseeing the restoration of the Museum’s 1852 light tower in 2009, and co-authoring and editing the museum’s 50th anniversary commemorative volume The Monhegan Museum: Celebrating 50 Years, 1968-2018.

“Bob has had an influential role in the growth and direction of this museum, and his efforts to secure the legacy of James Fitzgerald have been extraordinary,” said Jennifer Pye, director of the Monhegan Museum of Art & History. “His knowledge of the life and art of James Fitzgerald is unsurpassed, and his work in this area serves as an enduring gift to all who have the good fortune to encounter Fitzgerald’s art.”

Stahl is continuing his work on the keenly anticipated volume: James Fitzgerald: The Watercolors— Selections from the Catalogue Raisonné, which will be available in the spring of 2022.

“Bob’s contributions have been tremendous and I am profoundly grateful for his dedication to the Museum and the Fitzgerald Legacy, and I thank him sincerely for his years of persistent service,” said Edward L Deci, president of the Board of Trustees of the Monhegan Museum of Art & History.

The Monhegan Museum of Art & History is located in the historic Monhegan Island Light Station, 12 miles off the coast of Maine. The Monhegan Light Keeper’s House contains exhibits about the island’s history, art, and nature; and the Assistant Keeper’s House holds a gallery that features exhibitions from the museum’s art collection, which spans more than 160 years. Additionally, the Rockwell Kent/James Fitzgerald Historic Artists’ Home and Studio display a collection of works by Fitzgerald. The museum is open daily from June 24 through September 30, during which time the Kent/Fitzgerald Home and Studio are open three days a week and by appointment. For more visit www.monheganmuseum.org.