The Door County Maritime Museum (DCMM) recently received a beautiful addition to the collection, when long-time Museum supporter Gail Fischer donated an original watercolor painting. In with the Catch (2000) is a painting by noted Door County artist Phil Austin, depicting the fishing tug Kelly dockside at Little Sand Bay in northern Door County. The painting will become part of the permanent DCMM collection and will be on display at the Death’s Door Maritime Museum in Gills Rock.

The fishing tug Kelly is the sister ship of the Skipper, which is part of the DCMM collection and is an outdoor exhibit along State Highway 42 at the Death’s Door Maritime Museum.

“We are so grateful to Gail for her contribution to the Museum collection,” said DCMM Executive Director Kevin Osgood. “Having this painting at our Gills Rock location is the perfect fit, since Austin lived and worked here, and the painting illustrates the maritime history and fishing traditions of northern Door County.”

Originally from the Chicago area, Phil Austin (1910-2004) was well known for his watercolor landscape and marine paintings of his adopted home of Door County. He was a member of the American Watercolor Society, the American Artists Professional League, and the Academic Artists Association. Austin died on February 12, 2004, at his home in Ellison Bay, WI.

The Death’s Door Maritime Museum celebrates the area’s commercial fishing tradition. Located in the village of Gills Rock at the tip of the Door County peninsula on the shores of Porte des Mortes (Death’s Door), the museum features a shipwreck and scuba diving exhibit, including artifacts brought up from the bottom of Lake Michigan. It also boasts the wooden fishing tug Hope. Visitors also see the bronze sculpture unveiled in 2018, a tribute to commercial fishing in Northern Door.

Opening at the Death’s Door Maritime Museum in July 2021, the new photography exhibit “From Net to Table” will explore the current Door County fishing industry, focusing on the people who bring the local catch from the waters to the plate. The Death’s Door Maritime Museum will reopen to the public for the 2021 season on May 1, 2021. 

DCMM Executive Director Kevin Osgood, Gail Fischer and DCMM Curator Rhys Kuzdas
with Phil Austin’s In with the Catch (2000) at the Death’s Door Maritime Museum in Gills Rock.