Marconi Ruin

South Wellfleet, MA
Oil on canvas
15 7/8 x 21 in. (40.3 x 53.3 cm)
Signed, dated on left: "E W Dickinson / 1941"
Private collection
Photo: Babcock Galleries


Notes: Painted in South Wellfleet, MA, September 17 "painted a long piece on cliff at Wireless Stn SoWellfleet". The South Wellfleet high dunes were the site of Guglielmo Marconi's wireless station from which the first trans-atlantic wireless message was sent from President Theodore Roosevelt to King Edward VII and his reply immediately returned. The buildings and transmission towers have now fallen into the ocean, and the site is maintained by the National Park Service.

A mile south of the Marconi Station was the site of the wreck in February 1914 of the barque "Castagna." Shipwrecks were frequent on Cape Cod before the digging of the Cape Cod Canal in 193?, and ED saw many of them. He was most moved by that of the Castagna. The ship was entirely sheathed in ice and wrote "I stood beside Margaret Eckerson [a pupil of Robert Henri] when she took [the] photograph before dawn. The frozen dead lay in a blue USLSS [United States Life Saving Service] wagon." The living were taken to the wireless station. ED made a drawing on the spot of a body being carried up the beach CR#.


Helen Dickinson Baldwin
Private collection

Exhibition History

1942 Passedoit Gallery: Paintings, Edwin Dickinson
1961 James Graham & Sons: Edwin Dickinson, Retrospective, as "Marconi, South Wellfleet"
1976 PAAM: Edwin Dickinson Retrospective, as "Marconi, South Wellfleet"
1983 Hirschl & Adler Galleries: Realism and Abstraction: Counterpoints in American Drawings, 1900-1940
1985 Alpha Gallery: Edwin Dickinson