Item #AT-0329

"The Wharf Provincetown" Provincetown Players Oil Painting by Arthur V. Diehl (1870 - 1929)


"The Wharf, Provincetown", oil painting on artist board by Arthur V. Diehl. It is a wonderful charming Wharf in Provincetown Mass. Also the original sight of the The Provincetown Playhouse, It is beautifully painted and chaptures the shimmer of the water and the clouds.

Department of Fine Arts, Johnson Bookstore, Springfield MA. ( Famous Store in its day.)
Private Collection NYC Art Dealer.




4.5"H x 8"W


7"H x 10.5"W

Born in England to an artistic family, Arthur Diehl by age 19 had abandoned his education at Oxford University to explore the Continent, for a period studying painting in Milan, Italy. He returned to England, establishing a studio in London. In 1889 Diehl exhibited a painting titled The Quay, at Aldeburgh at the Royal Academy.

In 1891 Diehl travelled to the United States. Among his many jobs in the arts as a singer, actor and musician, Diehl also decorated piecework, such as snuffbox tops, to make ends meet. By the turn of the century, he had established studios in Englewood cliffs (1905-09), then Lakewood and Asbury Park (1909-13), New Jersey.

By 1912 and possibly through an introduction from friends in the theater, Diehl and his third wife spent their summers on Cape Cod in Truro (1912-13) and Provincetown (1914-20) where Diehl established studios.

He was known to paint rapidly on small canvasses usually composing his scenes from memory and entertaining onlookers as he painted, who in turn would often buy the works he completed right before them.

Catering to tourists drawn to the Cape each summer as well as visitors to his studios, Diehl was indifferent to artistic reputation and happy to sustain his family through his painting. During the winter months, he would also reside in Saint Augustine, Florida (1920-23), repeating the formula of his northern success, while still maintaining studios in Massachusetts and Hartford (1924-26) and New Haven (1926-1928), Connecticut.

Diehl died in Falls River, MA, in 1929.

The Provincetown Players began when a group of writers and artists who were vacationing in Provincetown, MA presented their plays July 15, 1915 on the veranda of Hutchins Hapgood and Neith Boyce's rented ocean-view cottage. The two plays were Constancy by Neith Boyce and Suppressed Desires by husband and wife George Cram Cook and Susan Glaspell. Boyce had previously had a reading of her play in her home a few weeks prior and this caused Cook and Glaspell to add their play to create a social event for their friends. Two makeshift sets, one facing the ocean and one facing the living room, were quickly organized by Robert Edmond Jones, already the most prominent American practicing the "New Stagecraft," who was also vacationing in Provincetown. Many friends and neighbors not in attendance that night heard about the plays and wanted to see them, so they were presented in a makeshift theatre made from the fishhouse on a wharf owned by Mary Heaton Vorse.

Their popularity was such that, led by George Cram Cook, two more plays were presented that sumWharf Playhousemer, which included amateur acting by visual artists Charles Demuth and B. J. O. Nordfeldt. Back in Greenwich Village, New York City, where most of the group lived, Cook stirred up enthusiasm that fall and winter such that an even greater number of writers and artists made their way to Provincetown the next summer of 1916. These new participants included journalist and poet John Reed, writer Louise Bryant, painter Marsden Hartley, artists William and Marguerite Zorach, the famed "Hobo Poet" Harry Kemp, editor of The Masses Max Eastman, his wife Ida Rauh, Floyd Dell, and Eugene O'Neill.