On Friday August 12, 2011, The Seven Seas Gallery by Vanessa Noel, held a special cocktail event and meet and greet with photographer Michael Gaillard to celebrate his spectacular photographs of Nantucket Island.
In 2005, the Seven Seas Gallery was founded by Vanessa, a place where her passion for art and first edition collector’s books and much more is vibrant and alive. The Seven Seas Gallery is in an incredible historic building at 46 Centre Street, Nantucket Island, which the Essex whale ship’s Captain Pollard owned in the early 19th century. The history of the building where this Haute Nantucket Spot is located is fascinating. In fact, exactly 192 years ago, the Essex left Nantucket on August 12, 1819 on a two-and-a-half-year voyage to the whalinggrounds off the west coast of South America. Two days after leaving port the ship was hit by a squall that tipped the vessel on its side, almost sinking her. The topgallant sail was lost and three whaleboats were destroyed. Deciding to continue without repairing the damage, the Essex rounded Cape Horn in January 1820 and in October 1820 reached the hunting grounds. Finding the ground nearly fished out, other whalers they encountered told them of a newly discovered hunting ground in the South Pacific.
Interestingly, most recently, on February 11, 2011, writer Ker Than forNational Geographic News, published and wrote an article that claims and confirms that the Moby-Dick inspired story to be true…(Captain Pollard was the captain of the Essex, the doomed Nantucket whaler whose demise, in 1820, came in a most unbelievable fashion: it was attacked and sunk by an angry sperm whale, an event that inspired Herman Melville to write “Moby-Dick.”), so in other words that the whaling ship had been lost on a remote Pacific reef since 1823. Furthermore, stating that now experts have found hard evidence of the ship 600 miles (970 kilometers) from Honolulu. The article says that if confirmed, apparently, the discovery would be the first of a wrecked whaler from Nantucket, Massachusetts—the birthplace of the U.S. whaling industry. The shipwreck was found at French Frigate Shoals in the remote Papahnaumokuakea Marine National Monument.
So just a little more history Haute friends, that at its peak, from the 1820s to the 1840s, Nantucket was home to several dozen whaling ships. Indeed, whaling crews hunted whales species for their blubber, which was boiled down into oils that were used in everything from lamps to perfume to machine lubricants. Please note that whale oil “was the day’s equivalent of our oil trade. he resource was so valuable that it drove man to hunt species to extinction,” explained Kelly Gleason, a maritime archaeologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and maritime heritage coordinator at Papahanaumokuakea.
Vanessa was inspired to start this special space because of her passion for art. Anchored by the estate of the late, world famous pop artist Peter Gee, Vanessa opened her Seven Seas Gallery across the street from her two hotels, http://vanessanoelhotel.com/. This fun and fabulous Haute spot is filled with the works of her favorite painters and photographers, as well as previously mentioned, a remarkable collection of one of a kind vintage home décor and rare books.
Michael Gaillard uses a large-format film camera to capture the essence of Nantucket Island in rich color and breathtaking detail. He currently resides for the winter months in Brooklyn, New York. After receiving a Masters of Fine Arts from the Columbia University School of the Arts Visual Arts Division in 2010, Michael was hired as a professor of photography at Columbia University.
In addition, upon graduation he was nominated by the Columbia faculty for the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Artist Grant. When accepted into the program, Michael was selected from a pool of over 1200 applicants, and was among three photographers out of the twenty six artists in his class. He was born on Nantucket in 1979 into a family with a passion for the island and its unique beauty. Grandmother, Gwen Gaillard, was the founder and proprietor of the famous Opera House Restaurant, co-founder of the Opera House Cup, and a magnificently creative and talented person and his maternal grandmother, Elizabeth “Libby” Oldham, was the director of the Chamber of Commerce for twelve years and is now a cherished research associate for the Nantucket Historical Association Research Library.
After graduating from Nantucket High School, Michael moved out to California to pursue an art degree at Stanford University. He spent years under the close tutelage of Joel Leivick and Matt Kahn, chair of the art department and professor of photography and chair of the joint program in design, respectively. Upon graduation, Gaillard received the Leo Holub Award for Excellence in Photography , an award granted to the student whose photography is deemed most distinguished.
Enjoy! With Gratitude, Sonia
For more information:
The Seven Seas Gallery,
46 Centre Street,
508 680 7100