Stephen Etnier (1903-1984) possessed a restless fascination with remote scenery that had a formative influence on both his life and art by driving him to seek out solitary locales, such as the coast and islands of Maine. Although his family traveled extensively during his childhood, Etnier’s wanderlust prominently manifested itself while the young artist was pursuing an education. He began his studies at Yale and, after taking a spontaneous and unsanctioned trip to Rio de Janeiro, re-entered the university’s art school shortly before his dismissal for poor grades. Etnier continued his academic career at Haverford College and quickly transferred to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he remained for four years.
Beginning in 1928, he undertook a private apprenticeship with renowned painters Rockwell Kent and later worked with artist John Carroll, who took Etnier on a sailing and painting expedition along the Maine coast. This experience proved to be personally and artistically significant as Etnier continued to strengthen his ties to Maine by purchasing a house in Georgetown in 1934, marking the beginning of his long-term residence in the state. Etnier’s artistic output was characterized by his attention to the interplay between light and the surfaces it delineates as well as the geometry of outdoor scenes.