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MFA Images: Nautical

  • MFA Images: Nautical - Slide

  • River Landscape with a Ferry and a Church

    about 1656

    Jan Josephsz. van Goyen (Dutch, 1596–1656)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    47.3 x 66.7 cm (18 5/8 x 26 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    07.502

    Collections

    Europe

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  • View across the River Y toward Amsterdam

    about 1660

    Ludolf Bakhuizen (Dutch, 1631–1708)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    42.2 x 49.5 cm (16 5/8 x 19 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    49.1708

    Collections

    Europe

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  • View of Rotterdam

    about 1700–30

    Signed by Cornelis Boumeester (1652–1733)

    Description

    A tile painting, composed of 33 Delftware tiles (including replacements) forming a view of port of Rotterdam. Set in 18th-century (?) mahogany frame, with gilded inscription on bottom border.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 50.8 x 88.9 cm (20 x 35 in.) Framed: 71.4 x 94.8 x 3.2 cm (28 1/8 x 37 5/16 x 1 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Tile; tin-glazed earthenware with underglaze blue decoration, wood frame

    Classification

    Ceramics, Pottery

    Accession Number

    2005.1057

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Fort on a River

    Jan Josephsz. van Goyen (Dutch, 1596–1656)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    42.5 x 75.5 cm (16 3/4 x 29 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.235

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Ships in Rotterdam Harbor

    17th century

    Ludolph Backhuyzen (Dutch, 1631–1708 Dutch)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 16.5 x 23.2 cm (6 1/2 x 9 1/8 in.) Mount: 27.2 x 34.7 cm (10 11/16 x 13 11/16 in.)

    Medium

    Pen and brown ink, and brush with gray and brown wash, over graphite

    Classification

    Drawings

    Accession Number

    2005.236

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Yacht of the Princes of Orange and Other Ships

    Jan Abrahamsz. Beerstraten (Dutch, 1622–1666)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    75.9 x 107 cm (29 7/8 x 42 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    17.1421

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Rough Sea

    about 1670

    Jacob Isaacksz. van Ruisdael (Dutch, 1628 or 1629–1682)

    Description

    The sea was an integral part of Dutch life and landscape; a powerful navy and ships that traded as far as Asia and the Americas made this small nation one of the wealthiest in Europe. The exhilarating expanse of space in Ruisdael's view of the estuary of the river Ij, near Amsterdam, is dominated by a towering sky. Clouds, white-capped waves, and the almost palpable presence of the wind are captured with compelling realism and an eloquent appreciation of the grandeur of nature. This is one of the finest of the rare seascapes by Ruisdael, widely considered the greatest Dutch landscape painter of the seventeenth century.

    Details

    Dimensions

    107.0 x 125.8 cm (42 1/8 x 49 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    57.4

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Backstaff

    1765

    Artist Clark Elliott (1729–1793)

    Description

    Inscribed: "Made by C. Elliott in New London/ For Mr. [----?] 1765" and "CE/ 346/ 1765". Rosewood, boxwood, walnut, ivory. Backstaff with rosewood limbs and braces decorated with incised lines, punched stars, and applied bosses, with inlaid ivory plate with maker's name, date, and owner's name (effaced) on long limb; small 60 degree arc and large 30 degree arc of boxwood and engraved with graduated scales; maker's initials, date, and serial number engraved on scrolled end of 30 degree arc, with punched stars; walnut horizon vane attached to long limb; other vanes missing.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 59.1 x 35.6 x 12.7 cm (23 1/4 x 14 x 5 in.)

    Medium

    Rosewood, boxwood, walnut, ivory

    Classification

    Instruments

    Accession Number

    1993.533

    Collections

    Americas

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  • East Indiaman "Anno Valkeniss 1717"

    1717

    Description

    During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, ships called East Indiamen-the finest and largest merchant ships of the time-were used for European trade to Asia. Richly ornamented and gilded, they evoked much national and company pride. East Indiamen were armed like war vessels for protection from attacks by pirate ships. The maiden voyage of "Valkenisse," a 60-gun Dutch East Indiaman, began in 1717, and she was wrecked in 1740. Measuring about 160 feet in length and about 40 feet in breadth, she was the largest of the Dutch East Indiamen.

    In the 1990s, Rob Napier of Newburyport, Massachusetts, meticulously researched, conserved, and rigged "Valkenisse," reconditioning this important model to its present appearance for the first time in many years.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 48.3 x 35.6 x 172.7 cm (19 x 14 x 68 in.) Container: 235 x 111.8 x 226.1 cm (92 1/2 x 44 x 89 in.) Overall (Fully rigged): 228.6 x 96.5 x 203.2 cm (90 x 38 x 80 in.)

    Medium

    Wood

    Classification

    Models

    Accession Number

    32.183

    Collections

    Americas

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  • North River N. Y. Schooner "Wave"

    About 1860

    Description

    Built up and to scale. Painted green and black. Linen sails. Name near stern.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall (H x W x L): 162.6 x 61 x 190.5 cm (64 x 24 x 75 in.)

    Classification

    Models

    Accession Number

    32.135

    Collections

    Americas

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  • 100-gun ship of the line

    About 1715–19

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall (H x W x L): 124.5 x 55.9 x 121.9 cm (49 x 22 x 48 in.)

    Medium

    Plank on frame; boxwood, pearwood, linen, brass, steel, mica Base: laburnum veneer, ebony Scale: about 3/16 in. = 1 ft.

    Classification

    Models

    Accession Number

    35.41

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Clipper ship "Flying Cloud"

    1915

    H. E. Boucher

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall (H x W x L): 96.5 x 61 x 157.5 cm (38 x 24 x 62 in.)

    Medium

    Wood

    Classification

    Models

    Accession Number

    35.42

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Ships in a Storm

    Jacob Adriaensz. Bellevois (Dutch, 1621–1676)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    128 x 176.8 cm (50 3/8 x 69 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    07.499

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Storm at Sea

    1840

    Robert Salmon (English, 1775–1845 or after (active in the...

    Description

    The low horizon and contrasting lights and darks indicate Salmon's longstanding awareness of such seventeenth-century Dutch painters as Willem van de Velde and Jacob van Ruisdael. The strong atmospheric effects in this particular painting also may show the influence of J. M. W. Turner's use of color and light.

    Details

    Dimensions

    41.91 x 61.59 cm (16 1/2 x 24 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.473

    Collections

    Americas, Europe

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  • Boston Harbor

    1835

    John S. Blunt (American, 1798–1835 American)

    Description

    Blunt captured a rare event-the partial freezing of Boston Harbor. Ice was a serious hazard to shipping; in the distance a line of men pull a ship across the frozen water to get it to its destination. An inscription on the back of the painting locates the scene one mile below Boston's Castle Island, facing east.

    Details

    Dimensions

    52.07 x 71.44 cm (20 1/2 x 28 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1240

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Wreck of the "Ancon" in Loring Bay, Alaska

    1889

    Albert Bierstadt (American (born in Germany), 1830–1902)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    35.88 x 50.16 cm (14 1/8 x 19 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on paper mounted on Masonite

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1250

    Collections

    Americas

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  • South Sea Whale Fishing II

    1831

    Robert Salmon (English, 1775–1845 or after (active in the...

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    41.59 x 61.59 cm (16 3/8 x 24 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    45.233

    Collections

    Americas, Europe

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  • Brig rigged corvette

    about 1810 (rigging about 1840)

    Description

    This corvette was originally a demonstration model to teach French naval cadets about sails and rigging. Brig-rigged corvettes were two-masted, square-sailed, armed ships that were widely used by European navies during the eighteenth century.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall (including cradle): 134.6 x 56.5 x 156.2 cm (53 x 22 1/4 x 61 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Wood; boxwood

    Classification

    Models

    Accession Number

    32.142

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Ship of the line "Mars"

    about 1800–15

    Description

    Ship models are usually rigged with threads of linen, cotton, or silk, but this model of "L'Mars"-a 132-gun ship of the line-was rigged with finely spun wool. The wool was coated with a drying oil and pine resin containing traces of copper and brass.

    Details

    Medium

    Boxwood

    Classification

    Models

    Accession Number

    32.140

    Collections

    Americas

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  • The Dory

    1887

    Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 38.7 x 54.2 cm (15 1/4 x 21 5/16 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    23.115

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Naval cutter "Earl Howe"

    about 1775–1800

    Description

    Scale: about 1/2 in. = 1 foot

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall (including cradle): 118.7 x 49.5 x 129.5 cm (46 3/4 x 19 1/2 x 51 in.)

    Medium

    Plank over hollowed-block hull; polychromed pine, oak, cedar, ebony, mahogany, brass, linen, steel, boxwood, pear, ash, copper, ivory, glass

    Classification

    Models

    Accession Number

    32.144

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Ship of the Line "Heros"

    about 1781

    Description

    This model of the French warship "Héros"-a 74-gun ship of the line-probably was made by French prisoners in British camps during the Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815). Inmates crafted articles to pass the time and to sell at prison markets, which were open to the public. Prisoners could obtain materials at such markets, but many models, including this one, were made predominantly of bone scraps saved from meals. Prisoners from Dieppe, France-who had been ivory workers-possibly crafted the fine ivory carvings at the bow and stern.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall (H x W x L): 71.1 x 25.4 x 96.5 cm (28 x 10 x 38 in.)

    Medium

    Other organic; whale bone

    Classification

    Models

    Accession Number

    32.146

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Ship "Henry Newell"

    Details
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  • U.S. Frigate Constitution

    1928

    Carved by J. Gregory Wiggins (American, 1890–1956)

    Description

    In 1794, in order to protect American merchant vessels from the attacks of Barbary pirates in the Mediterranean, Congress commissioned six frigates, including the 44-gun "Constitution." Joshua Humphreys and Josiah Fox designed the vessels with sturdier timbering, heaver armament, and more sail than contemporary European frigates. "Constitution" was constructed at Hartt's Shipyard in Boston and launched in 1797. After the War of 1812, the frigate remained on active duty until 1855, and then served as a naval training ship before being placed on exhibition at the United States Navy Yard, Boston, where she still may be visited.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall (H x W x L): 116.8 x 54.6 x 152.4 cm (46 x 21 1/2 x 60 in.)

    Medium

    Red Wood; oak

    Classification

    Models

    Accession Number

    32.150

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Dover Castle from the Sea

    1822

    Joseph Mallord William Turner (English, 1775–1851)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 40.5 x 60 cm (15 15/16 x 23 5/8 in.) Framed: 73.3 x 93 cm (28 7/8 x 36 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Transparent and opaque watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    23.513

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Talatat: River scene with royal barges and tow boats

    1349–1336 B.C.

    Description

    The Nile was Egypt's great artery, and river pageants formed an important part of ceremonial life. Depicted on these two adjoining blocks are two royal barges. The barge on the right may be identified as Nefertiti's by the two long steering oars that terminate in finials carved with her portrait. The queen wears the tall, flat-topped crown designed especially for her, surmounted by a sun disk and ostrich plumes.

    On the walls of the kiosk at the stern of the boat is a scene unprecedented in Egyptian art. There, beneath the radiant Aten, Nefertiti appears in the age-old pose traditionally reserved for kings, that of smiting a foreign enemy. Her enemy is female - another departure from tradition. The king himself appears in a complementary scene partially preserved on the barge on the left, where the victim is male. Not again until the Meroitic Period in Nubia, thirteen hundred years later, does the queen appear in this pose.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Height x width x depth: 23.4 x 53.1 x 3.6 cm (9 3/16 x 20 7/8 x 1 7/16 in.) - Lower Block

    Medium

    Painted Limestone

    Classification

    Architectural elements, Relief

    Accession Number

    63.260

    Collections

    The Ancient World

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  • U.S. Ship "Constellation"

    1850s?

    James Henry Wright (American, 1813–1883 American)

    Description

    Nearly as celebrated as Constitution, her sister ship, USS Constellation was one of the first frigates built for the U.S. Navy, and was launched from Baltimore in 1797. At the turn of the century Constellation patrolled the Caribbean, where her capture of the French warship Insurgent greatly increased the prestige of the young American navy. Subsequently, she was stationed in the Mediterranean, where she protected U.S. interests against the feared privateers of Tripoli.
    In December 1833, attempting a passage between the western coast of Turkey and mountainous islands off Greece, Constellation was nearly destroyed in a violent gale. Her safe arrival, after nearly a week in the storm, was due to the heroic seamanship of Captain Reed (or Read), whose name is inscribe at the bottom of this painting. The artist, possibly the same J. H. Wright who was active as a portrait painter in New York City at mid-century, created this stirring image some twenty years later, after the original square stern of the ship was replaced with the round stern that appears here. Although Wright described the vessel with some of the specificity of traditional ship portraits, his primary goal was to convey the drama of the event. He painted with great brio the shredded mainsail, the broken boom, and especially the hideous buffeting of the ship by the great serpentine wave that writhes across the surface of the painting like a primeval sea monster.

    This text was adapted from Gerald W. R. Ward, et al, American Folk (Boston, MFA Publications, 2001).

    Details

    Dimensions

    51.12 x 75.88 cm (20 1/8 x 29 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.495

    Collections

    Americas

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  • The Hudson River Steamboat "Rip van Winkle"

    1854

    James Bard (American, 1815–1897 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    79.06 x 135.25 cm (31 1/8 x 53 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1212

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Engagement Between the "Constitution" and the...

    1813

    Thomas Birch (American (born in England), 1779–1851)

    Description

    Thomas Birch was America’s first marine painter and thus the founder of a long and great tradition. He studied under his father, William, a painter and engraver, and in 1794 the two emigrated from England to Philadelphia. The War of 1812 inspired the younger Birch to produce a series of over a dozen naval pictures based on actual battles, each executed within months of the event—exemplars of the type of contemporary history painting initiated by Benjamin West. The unexpected American victories in the war against Great Britain—the first test of the nation as a military force—were a source of great pride to its citizens and provided a worthy subject for history painters to promote the new republic. Birch’s compositions were as accurate as he could make them. He carefully rendered the ships’ portraits and also included details of the fighting gleaned from interviews with participating crewmembers. His paintings were acclaimed not only for their sense of immediacy, but also for their appeal to the patriotic fervor of the young country.
    This painting documents the first great American naval victory of the War of 1812, the defeat of the British frigate Guerrière by the USS Constitution off the coast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on August 19, 1812. At the right, the helpless Guerrière, her last mast broken off and crashing into the ocean, is driven up against the Constitution, whose cannonfire relentlessly continues to pound the British ship. American flags proudly wave above the conflict, while the British banner sinks into the waves. This was Birch’s first War of 1812 subject, and it established his reputation.

    The USS Constitution got her nickname, “Old Ironsides,” during this very battle. A British sailor, upon observing that their cannonballs appeared to bounce off of the ship (her hull is made of layers of oak up to twenty-five inches thick), exclaimed, “Huzzah, her sides are made of iron!”[1]The Constitution went on to win other engagements in the War of 1812. The oldest active ship in the United States Navy, she is permanently docked at Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston.

    Notes
    1. Naval History and Heritage Command, “USS Constitution: History,” accessed August 30, 2011, http://www.history.navy.mil/ussconstitution/history.html [http://www.history.navy.mil/ussconstitution/history.html].

    This text was adapted from Elliot Bostwick Davis et al., American Painting [http://www.mfashop.com/9020398034.html], MFA Highlights (Boston: MFA Highlights, 2003).

    Details

    Dimensions

    71.12 x 92.07 cm (28 x 36 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1978.159

    Collections

    Americas

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  • "British America" of Winsor N.S. Passing Flushing 1875

    about 1875

    Unidentified artist, American, 19th century

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    60.64 x 77.47 cm (23 7/8 x 30 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Reverse painting on glass and painted paper

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1986.741

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Model of a transport boat

    2010–1961 B.C.

    Description

    While late Old Kingdom tombs had included limestone statuettes of people engaged in chores such as food preparation, a new development occurred during the First Intermediate Period and Middle Kingdom. Now, models made of wood, a less costly material, were manufactured in large numbers and placed in the burial chamber to furnish provisions for the deceased in the afterlife. In symbolically providing for the tomb owner's needs, the models functioned in much the same way as painted scenes of these activities did on the walls of tomb chapels.

    The tomb of Djehutynakht contained what may be the largest collection of wooden models ever discovered in Egypt. Toward the end of Dynasty 12 a change occurred in Egyptian burial customs for reasons that remain unclear. Although model boats continued to be placed in tombs, the scenes of crafts and food production disappeared permanently from the repertoire of funerary offerings. At approximately the same time, early versions of shawabtys, mummiform figurines intended to serve on behalf of the deceased in the afterlife, began to become more common in burials.

    Along with a collection of wooden models representing scenes of daily life, Djehutynakht equipped his tomb with a fleet of more than fifty-five model boats, the largest collection known from a single Egyptian tomb. Several types of craft are represented, including funerary vessels, boats for traveling, ships for troop or freight transport, hunting and fishing boats, and kitchen boats of the sort that would have accompanied a Middle Kingdom official and his entourage on voyages up and down the Nile. Although they vary in size and quality, all of Djehutynakht's boat models are constructed in the same fashion, with the hull carved from a single piece of wood, while the cabins, masts, other fittings, and crews were made separately and attached with pegs.

    This model depicts a rapid troop transport vessel powered by eight pairs of rowers like one that would have accompanied Djehutynakt on his expeditions on the Nile. Between the rowers on the model at the far left are small-scale versions of a long cowhide quiver of spears and a pair of shields. This boat was also equipped with a mast, which, on the real vessel, would have been taken down while the sails were not in use and placed in crutches at the center of the ship. The forked posts in the center of the model represent these crutches.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length x width x height: 120 x 40 x 44 cm (47 1/4 x 15 3/4 x 17 5/16 in.)

    Medium

    Wood

    Classification

    Models

    Accession Number

    21.407

    Collections

    The Ancient World

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  • Ship in Storm

    1828

    Robert Salmon (English, 1775–1845 or after (active in the...

    Description

    Salmon painted this theatrical seascape in 1828 when he immigrated to the United States from England. Under a dramatic sky the distressed ship flounders in the strong waves and is in imminent danger of crashing into the rocks. The figures in the foreground are powerless in the face of nature's fury. The theme of ships in danger was common in the seventeenth-century Dutch painting and could symbolize the precariousness of life's journey.

    Details

    Dimensions

    36.19 x 50.48 cm (14 1/4 x 19 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on board

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    2000.688

    Collections

    Americas, Europe

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  • Warship

    1775

    Description

    Corvettes were warships that carried fourteen to twenty-six guns and had a single, continuous deck. Usually ship-rigged (with square sails on all three masts), corvettes were smaller than frigates, but performed many of the same duties. An expert builder created the superb rigging on this model, which was used for the construction of a ship.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall (including cradle): 125.7 x 41.3 x 142.2 cm (49 1/2 x 16 1/4 x 56 in.)

    Medium

    Wood

    Classification

    Models

    Accession Number

    32.184

    Collections

    Americas

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  • "Marie Rose"

    1875–80

    Description

    Merchant barks such as the 1,000-ton "Marie Rose," which was built between about 1875 and 1880, succeeded the fast clippers and were designed for cargo capacity rather than for speed. The bark rig reduced the need for a large crew, resulting in vessels that were more economical and were competitive with developing steamships. The bottom of the vessel's hull was sheathed with copper laid over tar and horsehair, for protection from sea worms, barnacles, and rot. Here, the roof of the forward deckhouse has been removed, so that viewers may appreciate how model builders occasionally continued their finely detailed work in spaces that were not readily visible.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall (H x W x L): 78.7 x 33 x 132.1 cm (31 x 13 x 52 in.)

    Classification

    Models

    Accession Number

    32.210

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Boston Harbor

    about 1850–55

    Fitz Henry Lane (American, 1804–1865)

    Description

    Gloucester, Massachusetts, native Fitz Henry Lane was at the height of his career by 1850, when he executed this grand and tranquil scene of the bustling port of Boston. From the vantage of a hill in East Boston, a perspective popularized in printed views of the city, Lane suggests topographical accuracy in his carefully constructed scene of vessels dispersed before the horizon. Prominent features of the city such as the Massachusetts State House and the Old South Church are clearly visible, but Lane lowered the horizon line to convey a sense of the expansive harbor. Like Thomas Cole [47.1201]and Frederic Edwin Church [1982.419], Lane was capable of achieving an extraordinary balance between reality and the ideal. Here he delicately combines the topography of the port with his idealized version of the scene; his romantic seascape is suffused with a sense of calm and quietude.
    Lane was largely self-taught, although he was a quick study of those resources available to him. As an apprentice in the Boston lithography shop of William S. Pendleton, he was known for his careful draftsmanship that enabled him to render all the details of different sailing vessels. While he honed his drawing skills producing popular prints, Lane also absorbed the lessons of British-born painter Robert Salmon, who settled in Boston in 1828 and flourished as a marine painter [27.356]. Lane’s Boston Harbor recalls Salmon’s handling of topographical details and his use of familiar devices, such as the small boat being rowed toward the horizon that provides a sense of scale.

    Lane portrays the calm waters with his characteristic luminosity. The elegiac quality of the scene is also typical of Lane; his paintings often depict the end of the day and evoke the end of an era. At the time Lane was painting his ambitious scenes of the major Massachusetts ports of Boston, Salem, and Gloucester, which likely appealed to patrons engaged in the shipping industry, the Erie Canal had diverted much of the traffic that would have passed through those destinations to New York. The encroaching world of steam power, which dominated the Hudson River corridor from Albany to New York City, is indicated here by the appearance of a white steam ship entering the harbor at the far right.

    This text was adapted from Elliot Bostwick Davis et al., American Painting [http://www.mfashop.com/9020398034.html], MFA Highlights (Boston: MFA Publications, 2003).

    Details

    Dimensions

    66.04 x 106.68 cm (26 x 42 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    66.339

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Gloucester from Brookbank

    1848

    Fitz Henry Lane (American, 1804–1865)

    Description

    Lane painted this view from Brookbank, Samuel E. Sawyer's estate on the western shore of Gloucester's outer harbor. Sawyer, a merchant, was one of Gloucester's greatest benefactors, who funded, among other things, the city's public library. While the painting surveys his property, it also shows Lane's early sensitivity to the depiction of light.

    Details

    Dimensions

    50.8 x 76.52 cm (20 x 30 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.444

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Fresh Water Cove from Dolliver's Neck, Gloucester

    early 1850s

    Fitz Henry Lane (American, 1804–1865)

    Description

    Lane's early paintings are filled with anecdotal detail and derive from his successful topographical lithographs. In this work, he carefully described rocks, trees, scrub, and coastline and accurately depicted their placement in the landscape. Many of the sites Lane painted in Gloucester allude to Cape Ann's history: Fresh Water Cove was named for the spring found there by Samuel de Champlain in 1606.

    Details

    Dimensions

    61.28 x 91.76 cm (24 1/8 x 36 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.445

    Collections

    Americas

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  • New York Harbor

    about 1855

    Fitz Henry Lane (American, 1804–1865)

    Description

    Lane probably traveled to New York City in the late 1840s, for by 1849 he had exhibited New York from Jersey City (location unknown) at the American Art-Union there, and then a second view, New York Harbor (location unknown) in 1850. The documented dimensions of the latter painting, 42 by 48 inches (106.7 by 121.9 cm), preclude it from being the MFA’s canvas, which measures 36 by 60 1/4 inches (91.4 by 153 cm), but the entry in the Art-Union catalogue could easily have described it: “Vessels of all kinds lying at anchor or sailing. In the distance the spires of the city.”[1]Lane continued to produce scenes of New York Harbor well into the 1850s.
    At the time that Lane painted its harbor, New York had become the nation’s busiest commercial seaport. The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 diverted traffic to New York from other East Coast cities. Lane’s view also documents technological change: the variety of vessels shows the transformation in shipping at mid-century from sail to engine-powered craft. At the left, a large merchant ship is being guided out of port by a tugboat. Just behind it, a brig is maneuvered by a paddle-wheeler, and a ferry—a side-wheeler, also under steam power—shuttles passengers across the water. More steam is visible from a smokestack on a small craft in the distance. [2]

    Lane’s painting transcends the topographical. By the early 1850s he had achieved his mature painting style, characterized by carefully conceived compositions and delicate use of color and light. In New York Harbor, the profusion of boats is skillfully arranged. Lane divided them into two coherent groups, albeit asymmetrically, thereby opening up a pathway to a church spire at the right and to the sunset at the left. His composition bears similarities to the perspective diagrams in John Gadsby Chapman’s American Drawing-Book [1978.375], a publication that Lane, a largely self-taught artist, likely consulted. [3]Lane also balanced light and dark, showing the sails in shadow in the foreground group on the left and illuminating those on the right. Luminous colors extend across the background as the warm yellows of sunlight transition into soft pinks at the right. The subtlety of the Lane’s palette had darkened over time, but conservation treatment undertaken by the MFA in preparation for the opening of the Art of the Americas wing in 2010 revealed the artist’s mastery anew, showing that he suffused this composition with the delicate light and the glowing color for which he is best known.

    Notes
    1. Catalogue of Works of Art, Purchased by the American Art-Union, New York, 1850.
    2. Eric A. R. Ronnberg, Jr., “Imagery and Types of Vessels,” in Paintings by Fitz Hugh [sic] Lane (Washington D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1988), 73.
    3. John Gadsby Chapman, The American Drawing-Book: A Manual for the Amateur, and Basis of Study for the Professional Artist: Especially Adapted to the Use of Public and Private Schools, as well as Home Instruction (New York: J. S. Redfield, 1847); see Elliot Bostwick Davis, Training the Eye and the Hand: Fitz Hugh [sic] Lane and Nineteenth Century American Drawing Books, exh. cat. (Gloucester, Mass.: Cape Ann Historical Association, 1993), 22–26.

    Karen E. Quinn

    Details

    Dimensions

    91.44 x 153.03 cm (36 x 60 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.446

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    Americas

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  • Ships in Ice off Ten Pound Island, Gloucester

    1850s

    Fitz Henry Lane (American, 1804–1865)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    30.8 x 50.16 cm (12 1/8 x 19 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.447

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Owl's Head, Penobscot Bay, Maine

    1862

    Fitz Henry Lane (American, 1804–1865)

    Description

    Owl’s Head is one of Lane’s best-known and most admired works. He presents a contemporary coastal town with its commercial traffic, but he has greatly simplified the idyllic harbor view—a popular artistic motif—in virtually every detail. There are few props in the foreground and background to suggest daily affairs; instead, a single boatman gazes at a seemingly unpopulated bay. The distinctive profile of Owl’s Head with its tiny lighthouse is clearly silhouetted against the evening sky.
    Geometric clarity and simplicity set Lane’s work apart from landscape scenes of the previous century. In Owl’s Head, nature is a presence that envelops and transfixes the solitary boatman, but Lane’s picture renders this presence in the modest format and with some of the decorative appeal of an earlier era.

    This text was adapted from Diana Strazdes’s entry in A New World: Masterpieces of American Painting, 1760–1910, by Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., et al., exh. cat. (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1983).

    Details

    Dimensions

    40 x 66.36 cm (15 3/4 x 26 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.448

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Brig "Antelope" in Boston Harbor

    1863

    Fitz Henry Lane (American, 1804–1865)

    Description

    Wealthy owners of sailing vessels commissioned images of their ships, just as landowners hired artists to paint pictures of their houses. Much of Lane's income came from executing such works. Here, the artist painted "Antelope" (identifiable through her signal flags), as she appeared on her 1843 maiden voyage from East Boston to Asia. "Antelope" was one of the fastest ships trading between Boston, India, and China, a route that required extraordinary speed due to unpredictable weather and frequent pirate activity. Asian trade-in tea, fabric, and opium-established significant fortunes for many New England merchants.

    Details

    Dimensions

    61.59 x 91.44 cm (24 1/4 x 36 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.449

    Collections

    Americas

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  • View of Coffin's Beach

    1862

    Fitz Henry Lane (American, 1804–1865)

    Description

    View of Coffin’s Beach is an evocative late work by Fitz Henry Lane in which topography and anecdote are subordinated to the delicate beauty of dawn hues breaking over the land and water. The painting is based on a sketch Lane made from Two Penny Loaf, a rocky outcropping at the northern end of Coffin’s Beach on Ipswich Bay in Gloucester, Massachusetts (Coffin’s Beach from the Loaf, 1862, Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Massachusetts). Conservators and curators at the MFA have concluded that Lane used a camera lucida, a mechanical drawing device, to capture the shoreline with great accuracy. [1]While the finished painting replicates the outlines of the drawing, Lane widened the composition, accentuating the horizontal format and emphasizing the expansiveness of the landscape and a sense of emptiness. Lane’s subtle blending of the glowing pink-to-blue of the early-morning sky transforms a topographical study into one of his finest landscapes.
    Place, though, remained important to Lane and his patrons. On the back of the canvas, the geographical location is made clear. An inscription, now clearly identified as having been written by Lane himself, reads: “View of Coffin’s beach, from the Rocks/at the Loaf, after a sketch taken, August, 1862./Presented to Dr. H. E. Davidson and lady/by the Artist.” When Lane gave him View of Coffin’s Beach, Dr. Herman E. Davidson was an eminent physician in Gloucester. He had established his practice there in 1842 and soon became an active member of the community. He served on the school committee, was vice president of the Cape Ann Horticultural Society, and was a trustee of Oak Grove Cemetery. In 1873, Davidson was a founder and first president of the Cape Ann Scientific and Literary Association (now the Cape Ann Museum). How he and Lane met has yet to be established, but their relationship was close: Lane stayed with Dr. Davidson and his wife Sarah in their home on Dale Avenue (now the Sawyer Free Library) in the summer of 1862, the year he sketched Coffin’s Beach. Apparently Lane had had a major misunderstanding with his brother-in-law, Ignatius Winter, who was married to Lane’s sister Sarah. The couple lived with artist, but after their disagreement Lane felt compelled to leave his own home temporarily and seek sanctuary with the Davidsons.

    Lane often chose to paint sites in Gloucester of historical significance, including, for example, places such as Fresh Water Cove [48.445], named for the spring Samuel de Champlain found at the site in 1606. Coffin’s Beach, named after the landowners who established a farm there in the seventeenth century, is bracketed by the Essex River on the west and the Annisquam River on the east. In 1775, during the Revolutionary War, British loyalist Captain John Linzee (or Lindsay) sent men ashore at the beach from the sloop of war Falcon to procure sheep from the Coffin farm. Peter Coffin, an ardent patriot, gathered a handful of men and took positions behind the dunes to ward off the intruders. Their relentless volley of bullets convinced the sailors that there were more men protecting the farm than there actually were.

    It was probably the presence of John Charles Frémont, however, rather than the Revolutionary War association, that drew Lane to Coffin’s Beach in August 1862. A renowned explorer, Frémont had been controversial as a general in the Union army. He had overreached his authority and recently had been relieved of his command; at the behest of a friend, Frémont spent the month on vacation camping at Two Penny Loaf. Lane made a drawing of the camp on the dunes (Frémont’s Encampment at the Loaf, West Gloucester, 1862, Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Massachusetts) from which he produced an oil (location unknown) for Frémont’s wife Jessie. Probably around the same time, the artist completed the drawing Coffin’s Beach from the Loaf, which he used as the sketch for his painting View of Coffin’s Beach.

    View of Coffin’s Beach was given to the MFA by Dr. Davidson’s daughter, Alice Davidson Tilton, and is one of the few Lanes in the collection that descended in the family of the original owner. The painting came into the Museum as Ipswich Bay, but it has been recently retitled to reflect the location and inscription more accurately. Lane’s original titles most typically relate to his inscriptions.

    Notes
    1. See Karen E. Quinn with Sandra Kelberlau and Jean Woodward, “Rediscovering Fitz Henry Lane’s View of Coffin’s Beach on Cape Ann,” Magazine Antiques, July 2006, 66–69.

    Karen E. Quinn

    Details

    Dimensions

    50.8 x 84.14 cm (20 x 33 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    53.383

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  • Castine Harbor and Town

    August 1851

    Fitz Henry Lane (American, 1804–1865)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sight: 26 x 79.3 cm (10 1/4 x 31 1/4 in.) Framed: 47.6 x 99.7 cm (18 3/4 x 39 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite, panorama on two joined sheets of moderately thick, cream wove paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    54.1727

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Salem Harbor

    1853

    Fitz Henry Lane (American, 1804–1865)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    66.36 x 106.68 cm (26 1/8 x 42 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    64.465

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Fishing Party

    1850

    Fitz Henry Lane (American, 1804–1865)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    49.85 x 76.83 cm (19 5/8 x 30 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    69.405

    Collections

    Americas

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  • San Giorgio Maggiore: from the Bacino di S. Marco

    about 1726–30

    Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal) (Italian (Venetian), 1697–1768)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    46.3 x 63.2cm (18 1/4 x 24 7/8in.) Framed: 60.3 x 76.8 x 6.4 cm (23 3/4 x 30 1/4 x 2 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1993.34

    Collections

    Europe

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  • The Britannia Entering Boston Harbor

    1848

    Artist Fitz Henry Lane (American, 1804–1865)

    Description

    The arrival of British steamship "Britannia" in Boston harbor in 1840 established a strong commercial link with Great Britain and made Boston the major American port for the transmission of mail and cargo to and from Europe. Steamships were familiar sights to Bostonians by this time, but it was a noteworthy event to see such an important vessel. Lane painted the steamship at least twice. In 1842 he depicted the ship foundering in rough seas (Peabody-Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts). This view, however, probably was based on a small pencil sketch he made on the spot some years earlier (Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Massachusetts). "Britannia" moves through Boston Harbor with a procession of sailing vessels and an American steamer behind; two rowboats filled with men salute the arriving ship.

    Details

    Dimensions

    14 3/4 x 19 3/4 in. (37.5 x 50.2 cm)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    2000.825

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    Americas

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  • Cliffs of the Petites Dalles

    1880

    Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    60.6 x 80.3 cm (23 7/8 x 31 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    06.116

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Ships in a Harbor

    about 1873

    Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    49.8 x 61 cm (19 5/8 x 24 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    06.117

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Grand Canal, Venice

    1881

    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841–1919)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    54 x 65.1 cm (21 1/4 x 25 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    19.173

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Harbor Entrance

    1873

    Eugène Louis Boudin (French, 1824–1898)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    37.2 x 59.7 cm (14 5/8 x 23 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    19.98

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Venice, Santa Maria della Salute from San Giorgio

    1895

    Eugène Louis Boudin (French, 1824–1898)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    46.3 x 65.4 cm (18 1/4 x 25 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    25.111

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Salmon Fishing

    1927

    Frank Weston Benson (American, 1862–1951)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    91.76 x 112.08 cm (36 1/8 x 44 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    27.574

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Port Scene

    Eugène Louis Boudin (French, 1824–1898)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    15.5 x 21.2 cm (6 1/8 x 8 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.521

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Trouville Les Jetees a Maree Basse

    1885

    Eugène Louis Boudin (French, 1824–1898)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    23.8 x 32.7 cm (9 3/8 x 12 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    65.2638

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Fishing on the Bank of the Oise, Pontoise

    Emilio Sánchez Perrier (Spanish, 1855–1907 Spanish)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    26.7 x 35 cm (10 1/2 x 13 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1979.4

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Calm Morning

    1904

    Frank Weston Benson (American, 1862–1951)

    Description

    In the late 1890s Benson began to paint outdoors and over the next two decades he produced many of his most popular plein air paintings, primarily of his family at play during idyllic summers. The setting is the island of North Haven, Maine; the family rented Wooster Farm there, beginning in 1901, and later purchased it. In Calm Morning Benson depicted his three oldest children fishing over the side of a dory—Eleanor, the eldest, to the left in the stern of the boat; Elisabeth to the right; and George standing. Benson’s bright, luminous colors and long varied brush strokes give the effect of warm sun shining on the children and the inside of the boat, contrasting with the cool, quiet ocean. He skillfully captured the reflections on the stern of the boat and the deep green color of the water in its shadow. Although Benson usually composed and painted a finished oil directly on the canvas, for Calm Morning he took a more academic approach, making three oil studies which he combined into this larger work. Benson was pleased with the result, declaring it his “best out of door work.”[1]

    Notes
    1. Frank W. Benson to James Gest, May 11, 1905, Benson file, Cincinnati Museum of Art, Ohio.

    This text was adapted from Janet L. Comey’s entry in Impressionism Abroad: Boston and French Painting, by Erica E. Hirshler et al., exh.cat. (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 2005).

    Details

    Dimensions

    112.71 x 91.76 cm (44 3/8 x 36 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1985.925

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    Americas

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  • The Loing at Saint-Mammès

    1882

    Alfred Sisley (British (active in France), 1839–1899 British)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    49.8 x 64.9 cm (19 5/8 x 25 9/16 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1993.44

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    Europe

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  • Port of Le Havre

    about 1886

    Eugène Louis Boudin (French, 1824–1898)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    39.7 x 54.3 cm (15 5/8 x 21 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    RES.27.90

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Gloucester Mackerel Fleet at Sunset

    1884

    Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    39.69 x 95.88 cm (15 5/8 x 37 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1985.331

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Gloucester Mackerel Fleet at Dawn

    1884

    Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    39.69 x 95.88 cm (15 5/8 x 37 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1985.332

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Slave Ship (Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying,...

    1840

    Joseph Mallord William Turner (English, 1775–1851)

    Description

    When Turner exhibited this picture at the Royal Academy in 1840 he paired it with the following extract from his unfinished and unpublished poem "Fallacies of Hope" (1812):

    "Aloft all hands, strike the top-masts and belay;
    Yon angry setting sun and fierce-edged clouds
    Declare the Typhon's coming.
    Before it sweeps your decks, throw overboard
    The dead and dying - ne'er heed their chains
    Hope, Hope, fallacious Hope!
    Where is thy market now?"

    For the full text of Turner's verse see A. J. Finberg, The Life of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., 2nd ed., 1961, p. 474

    Details

    Dimensions

    90.8 x 122.6 cm (35 3/4 x 48 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    99.22

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Fishing Boat

    1871

    Jean-François Millet (French, 1814–1875 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    24.7 x 33 cm (9 3/4 x 13 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    17.1530

    Collections

    Europe

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  • The Fog Warning

    1885

    Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910 American)

    Description

    Winslow Homer made his reputation in the 1860s with images of the Union troops during the Civil War and of the returning veterans afterward. In the late 1860s and 1870s he turned to lighter subject matter and found an equally enthusiastic audience for his paintings of healthy, handsome children playing in the country or at the seashore, and of adults enjoying leisure-time pursuits. However, perhaps feeling the need for more important subjects in his art, Homer spent 1881–82 in Cullercoats, England. Both a fishing village and an artists’ colony, Cullercoats provided Homer with more profound themes: the arduous lives of fishermen and their families. Shortly after returning to the United States late in 1882, he settled in Prout’s Neck, Maine, similarly both a fishing community and a pleasant summer resort, where he painted the local population and their work. The Fog Warning is one of three paintings he produced at Prout’s Neck in 1885 describing the lives of the North Atlantic fishermen.
    Like many of Homer’s 1870s images featuring farm children, The Fog Warning is a painting with a narrative, though its tale is disturbing rather than charming. As indicated by the halibut in his dory, the fisherman in this picture has been successful. But the hardest task of the day, the return to the main ship, is still ahead of him. He turns to look at the horizon, measuring the distance to the mother ship, and to safety. The seas are choppy and the dory rocks high on the waves, making it clear that the journey home will require considerable physical effort. But more threatening is the approaching fog bank, whose streamers echo, even mock, the fisherman’s profile. Contemporary descriptions of the fishing industry in New England make clear that the protagonist’s plight—the danger of losing sight of his vessel—was an all-too-familiar event.

    The dramatic tension of The Fog Warning is all the greater because Homer does not specify the fisherman’s fate. However, Lost on the Grand Banks (1885, private collection), another painting in the Prout’s Neck series, shows that the fishermen’s peril was a deadly one. An account related in the 1876 history The Fisheries of Gloucester tells of the insidious horrors to which fishermen were prey and could well have served as a description of The Fog Warning: “His frail boat rides like a shell upon the surface of the sea . . . a moment of carelessness or inattention, or a slight miscalculation, may cost him his life. And a greater foe than carelessness lies in wait for its prey. The stealthy fog enwraps him in its folds, blinds his vision, cuts off all marks to guide his course, and leaves him afloat in a measureless void.”[1]

    Notes
    1. The Fisheries of Gloucester from the First Catch by the English in 1623, to the Centennial Year, 1876 (Gloucester, Mass.: Procter Brothers, 1876), 58.

    This text was adapted from Elliot Bostwick Davis et al., American Painting [http://www.mfashop.com/9020398034.html], MFA Highlights (Boston: MFA Publications, 2003).

    Details

    Dimensions

    76.83 x 123.19 cm (30 1/4 x 48 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    94.72

    Collections

    Americas

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  • The Lookout – "All's Well"

    1896

    Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    101.28 x 76.52 cm (39 7/8 x 30 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    99.23

    Collections

    Americas

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  • On the Open Sea-- The Transatlantic Steamship "Péreire"

    1877

    Henry Bacon (American, active about 1768 to after 1780)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    50.16 x 73.98 cm (19 3/4 x 29 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    13.1692

    Collections

    Americas

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  • South Sea Whale Fishing I

    1831

    Robert Salmon (English, 1775–1845 or after (active in the...

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    41.91 x 61.59 cm (16 1/2 x 24 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    27.356

    Collections

    Americas, Europe

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  • Starting Out After Rail

    1874

    Thomas Eakins (American, 1844–1916 American)

    Description

    Philadelphia painter Thomas Eakins had many and varied interests, and they all found their way into his pictures. He was an eager student of anatomy, attending lectures at local medical schools even while completing his artistic training at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Philadelphia’s doctors and professors of medicine figure prominently among the subjects of his portraits. He was fascinated by perspective, optics, and stop-motion photography, and used perspective studies and photography in planning his oils and watercolors. He enjoyed music and often painted rehearsals, home musicales, and professionals in concert. He was also an avid outdoorsman, and especially in the 1870s, when his career was just beginning, he painted a number of pictures of friends and family members hunting, rowing, racing sailboats or, as here, setting out in pursuit of rail, small game birds that were plentiful in the marshes along the Delaware River.
    The sailors in this picture were friends of Eakins’s, Sam Helhower and Harry Young; their names are inscribed on the watercolor version of this painting (1874, Wichita Art Museum, Kansas). Eakins was a highly disciplined artist and often made carefully crafted studies in one medium as preparation for a work in another. In the case of Starting Out After Rail, he made a perspective drawing and this oil in advance of the watercolor. The composition reflects his love of boats and his fascination with perspective: as Eakins himself said, “I know of no prettier problem in perspective than to draw a yacht sailing . . . tilted over sideways by the force of the wind.”[1] Here, the “yacht” is a Delaware ducker, a small skiff that came into widespread use in the 1870s. His perspective study enabled him to place the boat so that the viewer—presumably positioned on a wharf, for the men have just begun their expedition—can see into the boat and understand its simple construction. In his precisely realistic style, honed during years of study in France with Jean-Léon Gérôme [03.605], Eakins renders the expressions of the sailors and their telling poses—one intent on manning the rudder, the other leaning more casually against the side of the boat—as vividly as in a close-up photograph. The bright sky and shimmering, blue-brown water make the scene seem even more immediate.

    Eakins clearly thought highly of this image, for he sent the oil to Gérôme in Paris to gauge his progress. The watercolor was the first picture he submitted to the American Watercolor Society’s annual shows. Although praised for its originality, the watercolor did not sell; Eakins reportedly later traded it for a boat.

    Notes
    1. Thomas Eakins, typescript, p. 41, Philadelphia Museum of Art, quoted in Kathleen A. Foster, Thomas Eakins Rediscovered: Charles Bregler’s Thomas Eakins Collection at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997), 132.

    This text was adapted from Elliot Bostwick Davis et al., American Painting [http://www.mfashop.com/9020398034.html], MFA Highlights (Boston: MFA Publications, 2003).

    Details

    Dimensions

    61.59 x 50.48 cm (24 1/4 x 19 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas mounted on Masonite

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    35.1953

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    Americas

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  • Venice: Afternoon on the Grand Canal

    1911

    Edward Darley Boit (American, 1840–1915)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 38 x 48.2 cm (14 15/16 x 19 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.146

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    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Rio di San Barnaba, Venice

    1911

    Edward Darley Boit (American, 1840–1915)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 48.2 x 35.5 cm (19 x 14 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.147

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  • Venice: Under the Rialto Bridge

    1909

    John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 27.6 x 48.3 cm (10 7/8 x 19 in.)

    Medium

    Translucent watercolor, with touches of opaque watercolor, over graphite on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.203

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  • The Zattere, Venice: Evening

    Pierre Vignal (French, 1855–1925 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 38.8 x 29.5 cm (15 1/4 x 11 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    26.22

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    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Venice from Riva degli Schiavoni

    1826

    Richard Parkes Bonington (English, 1802–1828 English)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 18 x 17 cm (7 1/16 x 6 11/16 in. ) Mount: 27.8 x 25 cm (10 15/16 x 9 13/16 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    27.1331

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    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Nocturne in Blue and Silver: The Lagoon, Venice

    1879–80

    James Abbott McNeill Whistler (American (active in England),...

    Description

    Like Mary Cassatt [42.178], James Abbott McNeill Whistler lived an expatriate life abroad. One of the nineteenth century’s most influential painters, Whistler was also one of its most colorful personalities. He ignored his roots in Lowell, Massachusetts, preferring people to believe he had been born in Russia, where his father had been an engineer. He first earned acclaim in 1863 in Paris, where he had worked with some of the city’s most avant-garde painters, including the realist champion Gustave Courbet [18.620]. Whistler shocked the art establishment when his Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl (1862, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) was exhibited at the infamous Salon des Refusés in Paris, a display of paintings that had been rejected from the official state-sponsored Salon exhibition. Many found indecent and incomprehensible his forthright image of a woman with her hair down, standing on a fur rug with a bouquet discarded at her feet. Whistler relished the controversy and courted such opportunities throughout his career.
    The artist’s only trip to Venice came at the close of another such episode. One of Britain’s most influential critics, John Ruskin, had accused Whistler of defrauding the public by exhibiting an abstract image of fireworks at night. Whistler sued Ruskin for libel in 1878, and while he won his case, he was awarded only one farthing in damages. [1]Whistler was bankrupt, and in consequence he took a commission the following year from London’s Fine Art Society to produce a series of prints of Venice. He spent about fifteen months in the watery city, living in reduced circumstances and borrowing many of his supplies from the admiring community of young American painters he befriended there. While he made over fifty Venetian etchings [33.15] and ninety pastels, Whistler produced only three paintings in oil, including Nocturne in Blue and Silver: The Lagoon, Venice.

    Venice’s mysterious elegance was particularly suited to Whistler’s style. He rejected meticulous representation, preferring instead to paint mood and atmosphere and seeking to express beauty in the line, color, and arrangement of his compositions. Fascinated with the art of Japan, as were many of his contemporaries, Whistler explored flattened pictorial space and subtle arrangements of color and shape. He likened his paintings to music, often naming them after particular musical forms such as the nocturne, popularized by Frederic Chopin; symphony; harmony [60.1158]; and arrangement. In this composition, painted from the Piazzetta near the Royal Gardens, the sparkling colors of Venice are reduced to an ethereal blue and grayish silver that seem to mimic the city’s elusive structure. In the background, the silhouette of the church of San Giorgio Maggiore hovers without substance, while the distant lights of the strand at the Lido glimmer along the horizon. Whistler has captured Venice in the way the poet Lord Byron had described it—a “fairy city of the heart.”[2]

    Notes
    1. See Richard Dorment, “Whistler v. Ruskin,” in James McNeill Whistler, by Richard Dorment and Margaret F. MacDonald, exh. cat. (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1994), 136–38; Linda Merrill, A Pot of Paint: Aesthetics on Trial in Whistler v. Ruskin (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992).
    2. Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, canto 4, stanza 18.

    This text was adapted from Elliot Bostwick Davis et al., American Painting [http://www.mfashop.com/9020398034.html], MFA Highlights (Boston: MFA Publications, 2003).

    Details

    Dimensions

    50.16 x 65.4 cm (19 3/4 x 25 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    42.302

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    Americas

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  • Santa Maria Formosa, Venice

    1912

    Maurice Brazil Prendergast (American (born in Canada),...

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 55.9 x 38.7 cm (22 x 15 1/4 in.) Framed: 78.1 x 61.9 cm (30 3/4 x 24 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor and graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    59.58

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  • An Afterglow

    1883

    Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 38.0 x 54.7 cm (14 15/16 x 21 9/16 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    22.606

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  • Early American Privateer "Avon"

    about 1815

    Unidentified artist, American, 19th century

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    50.8 x 71.12 cm (20 x 28 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    32.193

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Sovereign of the Seas

    about 1635

    Attributed to Peter Pett (English, 1610–1672)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Framed: 58.4 x 178.1 x 5.1 cm (23 x 70 1/8 x 2 in.)

    Medium

    Pen and ink with tempera on vellum, mounted on board

    Classification

    Drawings

    Accession Number

    32.192

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  • Engagement Between the "United States" and the...

    1813

    Thomas Birch (American (born in England), 1779–1851)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    70.48 x 91.12 cm (27 3/4 x 35 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1978.180

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    Americas

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  • Boats at T Wharf

    about 1915

    Arthur Clifton Goodwin (American, 1864–1929)

    Description

    When Goodwin completed this canvas in about 1915, T wharf in Boston harbor was one of the largest fish piers in the world. T wharf, which acquired its name from its shape, was a frequent subject for the artist, who also painted views of Boston and New York in an impressionist style. Goodwin focused attention on the red fishing boat in the foreground and enlivened the scene by including working fishermen and a forest of masts.

    Details

    Dimensions

    40.96 x 51.12 cm (16 1/8 x 20 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1982.798

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  • "Suzanne et le Pacifique - Robe de bains de mer, en...

    July 1922

    Fernand Siméon (French, 1884–1928 French)

    Description

    Cette robe pour les bains de mer est faite dans le lainage de Rodier "chevrons laine."

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 25.4 x 19.1 cm (10 x 7 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Woodcut with hand-applied color (pochoir)

    Classification

    Books and manuscripts, Books

    Accession Number

    2004.51.2

    Collections

    Europe

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  • The British Fleet Forming a Line off Algiers

    1829

    Robert Salmon (English, 1775–1845 or after (active in the...

    Description

    English-born Robert Salmon arrived in Boston in August 1828. Soon thereafter, he began to work on a series of three large-scale paintings depicting events centered around the naval bombardment of Algiers in 1816. In addition to the MFA’s work, he executed a view of the city and a night battle scene (New Britain Museum of American Art, Connecticut, and location unknown, respectively). According to the numbered inventory of paintings the artist kept, The British Fleet Forming a Line off Algiers was 630, the first entry for 1829, and (in his spelling), “The second sean for sellf, begun the first Janewary, finished the 30. Vew of the British fleet forming the line in the vicinity of Algears.”[1]Salmon chose his subject with care, selecting a theme that likely had resonance for his American audience, since the United States had been involved in war against the North African Barbary States for their piracy and enslavement of Christians as early as 1801. A series of naval actions followed, but were interrupted by the War of 1812. Naval hero Stephen Decatur brought Tunis, Tripoli, and Algiers to treaty terms in 1815, establishing a temporary peace.New trouble broke out with the dey of Algiers in 1815, and the British (with the Dutch) intervened in 1816 after violent actions were committed against English citizens.
    On a canvas over eight feet tall and more than fifteen feet long, Salmon represented the British fleet moving into position on August 27, 1816. The hills of Algiers are visible in the background. With great detail, the artist depicted a dozen British men-of-war maneuvering into line, with small boats plying the waters between them. The Algerians fired the first shots, answered in full force by British cannons. After the bombardment, the Algerian fleet was destroyed, the European slaves were released, and there was another temporary peace.

    Salmon may have been inspired to create his own monumental scenes after having seen panoramas of Algiers in Glasgow and Liverpool in the 1820s. A popular nineteenth-century entertainment, panoramas consisted of large paintings of spectacular places or events that were unrolled past the viewer, accompanied by music and narration. There is no evidence to suggest that the Salmon canvases were used as actual panoramas, but they were displayed together in 1830 to acclaim. One writer noted that “the entire exhibition is elegant, brilliant and edifying,” but he did not describe anything to indicate that the paintings were used as a moving panorama. [2]The medium, however, casein on a fine canvas, was quickdrying and often used for theatrical set painting; from the speed with which the canvases were completed, it is likely that Salmon was anxious to capitalize on public interest.

    Mary Lee Ware inherited the painting from her father, Dr. Charles Eliot Ware, a leading physician in Boston; how he acquired it remains unknown. Mary and her mother Elizabeth also commissioned the Glass Flowers (the Ware Collection of Glass Models of Plants) now at Harvard University’s Museum of Natural History, donated in memory of Charles Eliot Ware.

    Notes
    1. Catalogue of Robert Salmon’s Pictures, 1828 to 1840, From his own Notes, Now in the Possession of Miss Darracott, 1881, manuscript, Boston Public Library.
    2. Unidentified author, Boston Daily Advertiser, June 25, 1830, quoted in John Wilmerding, Robert Salmon, Painter of Ship and Shore (Salem, Mass.: Peabody Museum of Salem in association with the Boston Public Library, 1971), 39.

    Karen E. Quinn

    Details

    Dimensions

    251.46 x 483.23 cm (99 x 190 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Distemper on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    37.500

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    Americas, Europe

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  • Procession of Gondolas in the Bacino di San Marco

    about 1780–93

    Francesco Guardi (Italian (Venetian), 1712–1793 Italian (Venetian))

    Description

    Like Canaletto, Guardi was a painter of vedute or views of his native Venice. He was particularly drawn to festive and ceremonial subjects, such as this procession of gondolas, which may be part of the entourage of the annual celebration of Venice's "Marriage to the Sea." In the background, warships hail the returning boats with cannon salutes. On the left is the church of San Giorgio Maggiore, which also appears in Canaletto's Bacino di San Marco, Venice. Compared to the precise handling of Canaletto's painting, Guardi's is freer and more atmospheric, with lively brushwork, less detail, and a greater contrast of light and shadow.

    Details

    Dimensions

    98.1 x 138.1 cm (38 5/8 x 54 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    11.1451

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    Europe

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  • Rising of a Thunderstorm at Sea

    1804

    Washington Allston (American, 1779–1843)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    97.15 x 129.54 cm (38 1/4 x 51 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    78.46

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    Americas

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  • New York Harbor

    about 1827–35

    Thomas Birch (American (born in England), 1779–1851)

    Description

    Birch immigrated to Philadelphia at the age of fifteen. He became known for marine and battle paintings and created views of many harbors along the eastern seaboard. Here, several New York landmarks are visible in the background, including Castle Williams, a circular fort on Governor's Island, and the distant steeple of Trinity Church. A light-filled depiction of a peaceful harbor, this painting demonstrates the artist's skill at capturing the movement of the water and the filling of the sails with wind.

    Details

    Dimensions

    51.43 x 77.2 cm (20 1/4 x 30 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1181

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    Americas

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