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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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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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Duncan Gleason
American (1881-1959)

The Yacht Kitskad Off Catalina Island


Duncan Gleason lived in New York and other places for work or studies but it was really Southern California where he felt most at home, and looking at his body of work, that love of the state is all there in his paintings of our landscapes.

Here Gleason shows us a perfect Southern California afternoon on the fine motor yacht Kitskad with all aboard enjoying a view of Santa Catalina Island off the California coast. Gleason and his family were frequent visitors to the island and he is known to have painted many views of its land and shores. Chewing gum magnate, and key figure in Catalina’s history, William Wrigley Jr. was a friend and collector of Gleason’s work.

Anyone familiar with Catalina’s landscape will recognize its peaks behind the yacht. With the isthmus off to the right, the boat is cruising in the calm water on the leeward side of the island. Gleason used a unique color palette which makes his work instantly recognizable- particularly in the range of aqua tones and complimentary oranges, depicted in brilliant sunlight, as we see here. Those sundrenched colors were also synonymous with California in the early 20th Century.

The craft seen here is no ordinary pleasure boat, this was a state of the art cruising yacht, a 48 foot 1950 Chris Craft DCFB (Dual Cabin Fly Bridge) Cruiser. This yacht graced the cover of Chris Craft’s brochure that year, and would have cost over $300,000 in today’s dollars. Gleason’s group of friends included some of Hollywood’s elite and area industrialists, and he often painted their yachts and sailing adventures as well as his own.

Original artist label is attached verso with the title and bearing the address of his 2411 Edgemont home in the Los Feliz area of the Hollywood Hills.

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Childe Hassam
American (1859-1935)

Church Point, Portsmouth
Original Illustration Art

A charming watercolor created as the key illustration for the essay, “Pedaling on the Piscataqua” in the 1883 issue of the cycling enthusiast magazine, The Wheelman. This was the first and best of eight works that renowned artist Childe Hassam created for the article, spread into two parts over the April and July issues of the magazine.

The article details a three day journey made by “marine bicycle” along the Piscataqua River on the border of New Hampshire and Maine and out to the Isle of Shoals in the autumn of 1882. These hydrocycles, or “aquatic velocipedes”, were a recent innovation and impressive watercraft even for their day. Able to move forward by sail or the use of pedal-powered propellers, and capable of navigating the open ocean as well as the tricky waters of the Piscataqua around Portsmouth Harbor, rated as having one of the fastest tidal currents in North America.

Here Hassam illustrates them with the sail set as a sunshade as the cyclists pass Church Point, so named for the North Church of Portsmouth, New Hampshire whose spire is clearly visible in the background. A historic and important landmark even in Hassam’s day, the church dates to the 17th century and was spiritual home to several important Americans such as Daniel Webster and John Langdon as well as welcoming then President George Washington to services.

Rendered on toned paper with white bodycolor used to highlight the piece and give wonderful texture to the sky, Hassam created a refined design and striking composition. A series of small lateen rigged sailboats sit tied to the dock near a sailor, a fisherman and a small boy all of whom stare in wonder at the usual watercraft coming into view.

Unable to cycle on land due to poor road conditions, the author and his group married their first love of boating on the river with their new passion of cycling. Able to face forward while paddling was a great advantage over the rowboat and the upright seats lifted their riders high and dry on twin pontoons.

Masterfully rendered and styled by one of the most celebrated American artists of the period, this work embodies all the wonder and optimism of the late 19th century. Sophisticated and, for the time, modern graphic design elements are married to a fine landscape with American historic landmarks, the best of old and new. This excellent illustration brings to life both a specific journey and the zeal of 19th century adventurers for the sea and the latest innovations of the machine age.

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