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Henry Bacon
American (1839-1912)

Dreaming Anew
Departing New York Harbor

Pensive in thought sitting at a wood-slat stern bench of a departing vessel in New York Harbor, the prominent grandeur of the Statue of Liberty recently passed, a woman and her loyal dog set out on their ocean adventure. Nestled in among bouquets of flowers, she sits, one glove off contemplating the coming voyage. London? Paris? New Orleans? The destination is decided in her mind and imagination, but we know it not. Such romantic ship-board human subjects are the best works by Henry Bacon, and command his highest values.

It is interesting to look upon the care Bacon placed with the technical representation of the ship’s hardware. Parallel rail lines run against the strong vertical lifeboat davit, the weave of the rope securing the life-ring preserver to the outside face. Sensibly yet classically dressed in darker tones, her apparel echoes the last decades of the 19th Century, and the flower bloom in her blouse speaks to a sentimental attachment from someone wishing her well on her voyage.

The bright, colorful flowers add to the joy of the scene, with the haze of the harbor atmosphere and the subdued sense of the trip just getting underway. Another Steam/Sail passenger ship trails in this vessel’s wake, slicing the expanse of New York’s Inner Harbor on the way to the open Atlantic. The composition creates a longing to know the rest of her story.

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Eugene Boudin
French (1824-1898)

Jetées à Trouville

The first and premier French beach resort south of the Seine River, Trouville began as a world renown fishing village on the western coast. Resorts, mansions and a wooden boardwalk soon dominated the shoreline then and today, while our artist, Eugene Boudin, echoes the natural beauty of the region and the rugged nature of the city’s birth in this coastal scene.

A soothing work with a wide variety of color and a sunlit vast sky, the ebb and flow of the tide conveys a sense of timelessness. A slew of fishing vessels await the rising tide alongside the pier, while across two men work on a boat below the seawall as people in elegant dress with parasols stroll the seawall towards the Trouville Lighthouse on the point. Two small boats are in the channel, one showing a splash of red hull, while sailing vessels are in view on the open Atlantic Ocean.

This work from near the end of Boudin’s prolific career is special in its reflective glassy water and accents of sunlight throughout the sky, showing partially why Boudin was bestowed the title “The King of Skies” by Claude Monett. A quite pleasing coastal vignette.

Provenance: Art Emporium Gallery, Vancouver; Gordon & Jean Southam, Vancouver Newspaper Publishers and Forestry Empire, 1960s.
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Charles Camoin
French (1879-1965)


Above the edge of the city of Ramatuelle on the Saint Tropez Peninsula, a herdsman takes in the view of the Mediterranean glory beyond the city. The medieval town his today home to the luxurious beach of Pampelonne, playground of the world’s wealthiest. In Camoin’s time, it is still primarily a small town, situated near Gassin and immortal San Tropez. The homogenous architectural style of Spanish clay and red-tile roofs is in common use, in contrast to today’s elegant hotels and resorts.

Touches of earthy brown build the foreground hillside and feed the growth of the largest green tree that brackets the reaches of the painting. Interesting to note that the artist used a suggestive, skipping stroke here and for the rooftops he was more concerned with the geometric parallel lines and deep tones depressions between the tiles.

Deep lush foliage cuts the coastal hills and canyons in this view, and the idle sense is that the day is more relaxed and less frenzied than today’s pace. The ocean is a deep blue, the sky is lightened with clouds beyond the trees, and no one cares if the man is at leisure while the two blackish goats hit the canvas as shadowy spectres, oblivious to our watching presence. The artist strode this canyon, and found a pleasant escape for us all..

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Montague Dawson
British (1895-1973)

Heave Away, Racing Cutters

A trio of English racing cutters compete over an ocean course in this lively mixed-media watercolor and gouache work by maritime art master Montague Dawson. The challenge of yachting skill is quantified by speed, and the crew of each yacht knows it must act as a harmonious unit to get the most out of their cutters. With the helmsman hard on the tiller to brace the rudder, the two sailors are heaving the main sail to turn the cutter yacht back into the wind. Once the trailing yachts make their turn, the three vessels will all have the task of tacking into the breeze to make the finish line.

Dawson excelled at realistic portrayals while keeping his art fluid and loose. Unmatched in his portrayal of the chaotic power of the ocean, here he has caught a moment with the lead cutter dipping the starboard rail deep, leveraging every tool available to make the brisk turn and keep the lead. The full sails of the chasing yachts shows the prevailing wind’s headlong direction. The mix of media allows Dawson a freer, flowing style. He excelled in yacht subjects of this media in the 1930s.

As an artist, Dawson strove for realism while mastering the artistic aesthetics. The individual character of the three yachtsmen in the cutter’s deep cockpit is remarkable, and one may actually feel their rising spirits as they lead the match. Their competition is still in sight, and they know that victory is round this mark and to be found across the finish line.

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Richard Hayley Lever
American (1876-1958)

The Old Lighthouse and Fleets of St. Ives, Cornwall

An impressive large view of the Cornwall seaside port of St. Ives, this is a top-level painting by the artist Richard Hayley Lever. The diversity of activity on Smeaton’s Pier with spectators, shoppers, and a horse-drawn fish cart is complemented with the two fleets of sailing ships: The colorful fishing boats finishing their day’s work at anchor, and the multitude of pleasure-seeking sailing boats. Dominating the center is the Old Lighthouse, built in 1830 at what was once the pier’s end. The north-shore pier was built out in 1890 and another lighthouse was built at the new terminus.

One of the primary English coastal fishing villages, it evolved over the years in part due to its relative mild winters and cooler summers, so today it is regarded a premier English coastal vacation resort. Such diverse beauty made it a popular artists’ community as well, and Lever found this and became a resident artist for more than 10 years. This view is from his second-story art studio looking toward St. Ives Bay.

Hayley Lever made a sensational impact in America with his interpretive Post-Impressionism with aggressive impasto application, brushwork and daring coloration, in part directly inspired by Vincent Van Gogh. This particular epic work would have been in demand after his first American exhibition at the Carnigie International in Pittsburgh. American buyers clamored for his scenes after he exhibited “Port of St. Ives, Cornwall” in 1910.

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Arthur David McCormick
Irish (1860-1943)

A Pirate's Discussion

Even rogues must follow directions and their own code to achieve success. Pirates such as these salty men would have measured such by the contents of their purse, stashed wealth and of course, the quality and size of their ships. No fewer than 16 pirates are depicted, most listening with attention to the tale being spun by one of their members mid-deck. With his audience arrayed opposite him, it has the feeling of a tale recanted of a epic battle moment and a miraculous escape or fate for one of their own. One mate listens close-by while working the rig, while others are seated beyond within, a tri-corner hat-wearing pirate in a long coat stands at a quarter-deck railgun, directing a sailor manning the wheel. Two others are up the next deck, scouting with a telescope.

Strong colors with interesting specific details reside throughout McCorkmick’s painting. A sky-blue slice of brilliance holds the upper corner with clouds bracketing, and shadows play over the men and their ship. The geometric harmony of the parallel deck planks makes a nice uniform contrast to the somewhat loose and chaotic outfits of the pirates, each with his chosen unique head-covering. Makes a viewer wish paintings could talk, to be brought into the action and story. McCormick blends the romantic nature with realistic touches to make his paintings highly and widely collected.

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