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Nantucket Cottage Style

In the 1960s, Nantucket Island experienced a influx of artists and artisans who rejuvenated the art colony born on here fifty years earlier. Collectors Andrew Oates and Bill Euler were at the heart of this transformative period.

Nantucket Looms
Looms Staff Photo in 1977: Back row [L to R]: Lillian Foster, Mrs. Backus, Sam Kasten, Ani Kasten (baby), Jane Kasten, Bill Euler, Liz Wolven Winship; Middle [L to R]: Debbie Hatch, Mary Maulden, Andy Oates, Anna Worth, Jamie Gould; Front [L to R]: Laura Lovett, Linda Darbey. PHOTO BY LARRY CRONIN
In honor of these two men and their influence on Nantucket, the Nantucket Historical Association (NHA) has collaborated with the Artists Association of Nantucket (AAN) to present an exhibition exploring the estate of collectors Andrew Oates and William Euler and their vision for a “life well lived” based on the beauty and simplicity of cottage-style living.

Entitled Nantucket Cottage Style: Drawing Inspiration from the Oates-Euler Collection and curated by Robert Frazier, Curator of Exhibitions at the AAN, this exhibition features works and artifacts donated to both organizations and is on display in the McCausland Gallery (formerly the Peter Foulger Gallery) at the Whaling Museum, 13 Broad Street.

The Nantucket Cottage Style exhibition includes such artifacts as antique weaving looms, furniture, paintings, photographs, glassware and ceramics from the Oates-Euler estate, giving visitors an unparalleled glimpse at this robust collection. The show also includes a lush audio-visual presentation featuring several decades’ worth of photographs pertaining to Nantucket style.

After Oates and Euler were approached to help with the renovation of what is now the historic Jared Coffin House hotel, they purchased a property at 16 Main Street to use as a weaving workshop. This became Nantucket Looms, a business dedicated to handmade Nantucket crafts.

“For Andy Oates and Bill Euler, it was a perfect example of being in the right place at the right time,” says exhibition curator Bobby Frazier. “The island was expanding into a chic tourist destination, and the arts were rapidly becoming the downtown attraction.”

Oates and Euler became central figures in the revitalization of Nantucket during this pivotal time in the island’s history. They provided residents with modern furnishings while maintaining the spirit of casual and quaint living. Considered to be connoisseurs of culture and art, they started collecting local art and quality crafts for their home on Madequecham Valley Road, known as “The Shack.” Oates and Euler decorated their home and business in a way that reflected these tastes. This style eventually became known as “Nantucket Cottage Style.”

“Nantucket Cottage Style is certainly a celebration of the life and style of a memorable pair of men, but it is also a time machine, a window on an era whose spirit continues to thrive,” says Frazier. “Bill and Andy’s true legacy may well have been their caring mentorship of a surprising number of creative locals. Their influence upon a generation of Nantucket fine artists and artisans, and the interior decoration of the homes that their artworks graced, cannot be overstated.”

“Loving cultural collaborations, as we do at the NHA, we are delighted to be working with the Artists Association of Nantucket on this important exhibition, which will shed so much light on the origins of what is known as the Nantucket Cottage Style,” commented William Tramposch, Gosnell Executive Director of the NHA. Adds Frazier, “I’m excited about the twofold focus of the exhibition: local history and local art. Collaborating with the NHA allowed me to build a story that included many layers.”

Nantucket Cottage Style: Drawing Inspiration from the Oates-Euler Collection will be open to visitors through Nov. 2014, during regular Whaling Museum hours.

A Members Opening Celebration for members of both the NHA and AAN will take place on the evening of Thursday, May 22, 2014, at 6 pm.   R.S.V.P. to NHA Membership Coordinator Molly McIlvaine by Monday, May 19, at or by calling 508-228-1894, xt. 116.

Articles by Date from 2012