Most often associated with the area of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, where the Wyeth family has lived for several generations, Newell Convers Wyeth also had a studio in Port Clyde on the coast of Maine, where he spent many summers. Wyeth made a name for himself as an illustrator in the early decades of the twentieth century, but in the 1930s he turned increasingly to easel painting. This period marked the final phase in the artist's extensive and successful career.
Wyeth was fond of the remote part of the Maine coast depicted in "Blubber Island, Maine," and the painting is absent of any trace of human presence. Easel paintings were for the artist a way in which to escape the illustrational work of his past and explore greater personal expression. In 1940, the year of this painting, Wyeth wrote to his son, Andrew Wyeth: "One of my great and blessed relaxations is to concentrate upon any chance detail associated with remote Port Clyde and the sublime sea that bathes its shores."