Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson

Help this project find its audience by clicking here! In 1925 Artist Edith Lake Wilkinson was committed to an asylum. Her art was packed away and she was never heard from again...until now.

PACKED IN A TRUNK is a documentary film that celebrates the long-buried talent of the painter Edith Lake Wilkinson who was part of the Provincetown art scene in the early 20th century and produced an astounding body of work.

In 1925 she was committed to an asylum -- perhaps with the help of the family lawyer who was siphoning off her funds. The lawyer had also objected to Edith’s “close and constant contact” with her life-long love and companion Fannie. Once Edith was put away, her work and all her worldly possessions were packed into trunks and shipped off to a relative in West Virginia where they sat in an attic collecting dust for the next 40 years. Edith was never heard from again.

Edith’s great-niece, Jane Anderson (Emmy Award-Winning Writer & Director), grew up surrounded by Edith’s paintings thanks to her mother who had gone poking through that dusty attic and rescued Edith’s work. Anderson learned to paint and draw under the influence of her great-aunt’s brilliant, light-drenched canvases.

Later, when she moved to New York to pursue her own life as an artist, she began a decades-long journey to get Edith’s work back out into the world.

PACKED IN A TRUNK will follow Jane in her efforts to find the answers to the mystery of Edith’s buried life, as well as her goal to return Edith’s work to Provincetown and have her art recognized by the larger art establishment. To quote Anderson: “Edith’s paintings are a witness to my own happy life. I’ve benefited from all those grand social movements that have given women of my proclivities the freedom to live however we damn well please. I’m now in my late 50’s, the age when Edith was put away. I’m still productive and I’m very much loved. I have the life that Edith should have had.”