Motif Number 1

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A typical fisherman's shack on Bradley Wharf in the harbor of Rockport, Massachusetts is one of the most famous buildings in the world, instantly recognizable to students of art and art history as 'Motif Number 1'.

Built in the 1840s, as Rockport became home to a colony of artists in addition to fishermen, the shack became a favorite subject of painters due to the composition and lighting of its location as well as its symbolizing the hard New England maritime life. The painter Lester Hornby is believed to be the first to call the shack 'Motif Number 1', a reference to its being the favorite subject of the town's painters, and the name achieved general acceptance.

In the 1930s, the painter John Buckley used the shack as his studio, and sold it to the town in 1945, dedicated "to the fishermen and artists of Rockport." The town, recognizing the iconic value of the structure, has taken pains to preserve both its structure and appearance, finding a red paint which appears weatherbeaten even when new, and keeping the area clear of overhead wires, traffic signs, advertising, etc.

The shack was destroyed in a storm in February, 1978, but was rebuilt as an exact duplicate.

The dentist's office in the animated film 'Finding Nemo' has a picture of 'Motif Number 1' hanging on the wall, a tribute by director Andrew Stanton to his hometown of Rockport.