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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

SOLD

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)

Ramatuelle

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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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)

Macao

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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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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