St. Peter’s Fiesta Photo Exhibit

Cape Ann Museum exhibits photographs of St. Peter’s Fiesta

A small selection of photographs by Philip Reisman (1904-1993) is currently on view at the Cape Ann Museum. The photographs of St. Peter’s Fiesta are part of the Museum’s collection of approximately 450 color slides by Reisman from the 1950s. The photographs are on view through the end of August.

St. Peter’s Fiesta — or, more properly, Fiesta di San Pietro — honors the patron saint of fishermen and it is the largest, most colorful of the new celebrations which Sicilian immigrants brought to Gloucester. It began in the late 1920s as a neighborhood novena and expanded to a city-wide event in the 1930s.

Philip Reisman (1904-1993) was known as a Social Realist painter. He was also a printmaker, illustrator and amateur photographer. Born in Warsaw, Poland, his family fled to the United States to escape the pogroms when he was four years old. He lived in New York where he studied at the Art Students League and privately under Harry Wickey.

His early works were depictions of the ordinary working people of New York’s Lower East Side. During the depression he worked on WPA murals for Bellevue Hospital.

In the spring of 1944 he was persuaded by his friend Sol Wilson to escape the city and spend the summer in Rockport. Reisman, however, found the gritty working waterfront of Gloucester more to his artistic taste. He became fascinated with the fishing industry spending hours sketching, painting and later photographing the waterfront and the people who lived and worked there.
His artwork is in the permanent collections of many galleries and museums and has also been exhibited at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, Museum of Modern Art, National Print Exhibition and the National Academy of Design.

The Museum has a collection of 28 of his drawings, oil paintings and watercolors in addition to approximately 450 of his color slides from the early 1950s. The Museum presented an exhibition of his art work titled Men and Machine in the summer of 1985.

Funding for this program was made possible through a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which promotes excellence, access, education and diversity in the arts, humanities and interpretive sciences, in order to improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and to contribute to the economic vitality of our communities.

The Cape Ann Museum is located at 27 Pleasant Street in Gloucester. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Museum is closed during the month of February, on Mondays, and on major holidays. Admission is $8.00 adults, $6.00 Cape Ann residents, seniors and students. Children under 12 and Museum members are free. The Museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information please call: (978) 283-0455. Additional information can be found online at