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Eugene Boudin
French (1824-1898)

Le Pont Sur la Touques a Deauville
Bridge over the River Touques, Deauville, France

The Touques River winds through the coastal region of Normandy’s department Calvados before emptying into the English Channel between the seaside resort towns of Deauville and Trouville sur Mer. This meeting of river and sea endlessly inspired Eugene Boudin to create scenes of life along the river such as this charming view.

Painting on site, en plein air, Boudin’s lively brushwork has captured a typical day’s activity along the river. It is nearing midday and patches of blue peek through the morning’s clouds. Two horse drawn carriages cross the bridge, surely ferrying fine ladies and gentlemen under their covers. A fisherman walks along the right bank, pole at his shoulder. Next to him, a workman stands on his tilted cart, surveying its contents perhaps to carry down to a boat on the banks below.

This painting has all the hallmarks one expects to see in the finer examples by this master of impressionism. Boudin’s signature red color sits among a multitude of bright colors highlighting the boats and houses along the river. The scene is both tranquil and active, balancing areas of natural serenity with areas of swift movement. Above all, the clouds are rendered with supreme mastery; the interplay of brush strokes and subtle tonality creating tremendous depth. This is a work worthy of Boudin’s title “The King of Skies” given him by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot.

Boudin’s views of this area are desirable and several of his paintings of the River Touques are in the permanent collections of museums in France, Spain, England and the United States including works in the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fine Art Institute of Chicago.

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Jean Pierre Cassigneul
French (1935-)

Les Tents Bleu


An absolutely superior work by artist Jean Pierre Cassigneul, on a glance this painting of a woman walking her little dog on a beach boardwalk is instantly appealing. Subsequent views make this charming narrative portrait even more so. The vibrancy of the use of primary colors invokes a clean, bright simplicity to their world, and the slightly exaggerated, lithe stature of the central woman and a yellow-dressed companion sliding off stage right make a viewer wish to visit more of their stories.

The linear flow of the painting translates the ocean’s distance and dark-blue horizon’s depth, and delineates the boardwalk’s wood planks to the stretch of white-sand beach. The French-style blue beach tents capture the work’s title, while the partial flag overhead and a colorful patterned scarf compete for the attention of the breeze. The small brown dog is having none of it, ready for the leash-holder to began again after her introspective pause.

One would be remiss not to notice the fashion present: beret and floral pin accent the first woman’s outfit in contrast to the fore-mentioned scarf, and the modest yet feminine 1920s cut of the dresses complete with coordinated heels, and the “graffito” belt, created in the thick oil by the artist’s linear cross-hatched scratches . A overall very desirable work by Cassigneul, an artist we feel is increasing in esteem and demand.

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Chinese School
Chinese (1775-1900)


The oldest European buildings in China are along the once curved crescent shore of the Praya Grande, where the Portuguese explorers established and fortified their trading foothold with an entire continent. When they arrived in 1553, the small fishing village overlooked by a temple of an ocean goddess immediately became an important cultural center of the world, with the initial interactions between the East and West. Ever since, this port loaded with temples and churches has played a role in the cosmopolitan course of world trade. (The harbor is extensively filled in and built upon today.)

In this view, more than 300 years after the Dutch established contact in the early 17th Century and western ships first sailed in the harbor, a British Sidewheel Steamer is in the port of Macao, surrounded by more than 20 Chinese vessels. The artist’s perspective, looking northwest towards the Praya Grande’s center, brings Praha Hill and its stone stairway in view, with the church on top. The inlaid stone walkway of the port city is full of human figures, one wearing a special red jacket while the rest wear blue or white. One westerner in a top hat at the stern post of the closest Chinese ship directs its crew outward bound. As a natural harbor and a point of first contact, many sailors were required to remain at Macao, while some ships would anchor and others would push on to Whampoa. Only the merchants and captains directly involved in the negotiations of buying and selling were allowed access up the river beyond Whampoa to Canton. Travel would be via local craft only. From the Chinese artists who produced port and ship paintings directly for their nautical visitors, paintings of Macao are substantially rarer than other views.

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Chinese School
Chinese (1775-1900)

View of the Hongs, Canton

Sought by collectors worldwide, art and artifacts showing an early western presence in the Orient boomed with the opening of the China Trade by way of the sailing ship. The surviving paintings which capture the important Chinese harbors of the 18th and 19th Centuries with western merchants are at the top of such a list of desirable items.

Showing the American, British and Danish flags over their respective factory houses, the Pearl River traffic bustles beneath the shore of Canton city’s edge. Foreign merchants and captains had to anchor off Whampoa, down the river, and travel by junk, sampan or other transport operated by the local mariners, using a wide variety of propulsion, as shown. No firearms, women and very few average crewmen were allowed to travel upriver to Canton. Though all seemed to make their way upriver anyway, if in secret.

This example, showing great coloration and detail, represents the height of the international tea trade and the period of record sailings by the clipper ships. No less than forty people occupy the many vessels on the river, all playing a part in the vast trade.

A large decorated cruising barge floats in the background as musicians play traditional Chinese instruments accompanied by a singer, likely serenading guests with popular selections from Peking-style operas. An important looking official stands on the high rear deck of his ship as many oars propel him forward. A fisherman’s single oar craft overloaded with fish, navigates through the larger ships, making his way to sell the catch.

Note the shoreline’s wealth of trees and foliage between the hongs and river, mostly planted in the 1840s by an American indemnity fund company. At this point, there is even a Western church before the British factory, at the end of Hog’s Road, which was built in 1847. A second great Canton fire in 1856 destroyed most of this area, and it was never fully rebuilt. Paintings like this form an important and historic record of a time and way of life now lost to history.

Set in its original gilt Chinese Chippendale frame.

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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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Ramon Dilley

La Swann, l'ete, du Cote des Cures Marines
Deauville, France

This delightful composition lays out a picturesque scene of the French seaside resort of Deauville including beautiful ladies attired in the fashion of the day, a serene locale and sporting pastimes including sailing and horseback riding along the sand.

A fashionable woman in dove grey sits below a striped umbrella, staring intently into the unseen interior of the tent. Another in period bathing costume stretches in a lithe pose, perhaps preparing for a swim. A third woman just out of view stands on a small boardwalk into the sand. But the main focus is La Swann, the tall figure at the center of the painting in a form fitting gown of pale pink with matching parasol, offset with deep blue gloves. She is elegant, standing off the sand next to bright blossoms along a fence, gazing quietly out at the sea. In the distance, we see the spa with French flag which gives us the “cure marines” of the title. It is thought that the medicinal use of sea water, products of the sea and the coastal climate, also known as Thalassotherapy, originated in the seaside towns of France in the 19th century.

Detailed, active and with fine fauvist detail, the composition and technique recalls works by famed artists Kees van Dongan and Jean Pierre Cassigneul. This work has all the hallmarks of the best of Dilley’s style. Given Dilley’s talent, his choice of subject matter and the desire for this style of post-impressionism, Dilley will be an artist to watch for and collect in the years to come.

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