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Elisha Taylor Baker
American (1827-1890)

Ferry Arriving, Castle Clinton in New York Harbor

This fine and luminous pair of paintings by E.T. Baker shows two views of New York Harbor and one of the ferry services between Williamsburg in Brooklyn and Manhattan near Castle Clinton in Battery Park.

Ferry services between Brooklyn and Manhattan were recorded as early as 1638 when summoning a ferry meant blowing a horn tied to a bankside tree and payment was required in wampum, a key currency in Dutch New Amsterdam. But it wasn’t until the early 19th century when the invention of the steamboat combined with the tide of immigration and dwindling living space in Manhattan inspired many property owners along the banks of the East and Hudson Rivers to repurpose their land for ferry ports between Manhattan and the outer boroughs and New Jersey. The first commercially successful steamboat was a ferry between New York and Albany, and the great success of the New York ferries would spur later innovations like double ended vessels to speed loading and unloading.

By the time E.T. Baker came to paint these views New York’s ferry services had exploded. Railroads brought passengers to the terminals from cities and suburbs even further out. Over a thousand ferry trips a day were available just across the East River, with 33 million passengers crossing by 1860. By 1870, that number swelled to 50 million.

This painting, “Ferry Arriving…” features Castle Clinton in the near view to the right, with our arriving ferry off in the distance surrounded by sailboats. A schooner and sloop are tied to the pier nearby with a masted ship in the distance. In the foreground, nets are laid out across the painting, perhaps farming oysters.

Both this painting and its companion piece are awash in light, featuring a magical evening sky with tones of orange and yellow. Baker was at the top of his output when he painted this duo, clearly fascinated by the play of sunlight upon this famous waterway. The light and reflection in these paintings are best when viewed in person.

Sold as a pair with Baker's "Ferry Departing"

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Elisha Taylor Baker
American (1827-1890)

Ferry Departing Castle Clinton, New York Harbor

This fine and luminous pair of paintings by E.T. Baker shows two views of New York Harbor and one of the ferry services between Williamsburg in Brooklyn and Manhattan near Castle Clinton in Battery Park.

Ferry services between Brooklyn and Manhattan were recorded as early as 1638 when summoning a ferry meant blowing a horn tied to a bankside tree and payment was required in wampum, a key currency in Dutch New Amsterdam. But it wasn’t until the early 19th century when the invention of the steamboat combined with the tide of immigration and dwindling living space in Manhattan inspired many property owners along the banks of the East and Hudson Rivers to repurpose their land for ferry ports between Manhattan and the outer boroughs and New Jersey. The first commercially successful steamboat was a ferry between New York and Albany, and the great success of the New York ferries would spur later innovations like double ended vessels to speed loading and unloading.

By the time E.T. Baker came to paint these views New York’s ferry services had exploded. Railroads brought passengers to the terminals from cities and suburbs even further out. Over a thousand ferry trips a day were available just across the East River, with 33 million passengers crossing by 1860. By 1870, that number swelled to 50 million.

Here Castle Clinton is also on the right as in “Ferry Arriving…”, but we’re in a different location having swung around to the other side of Manhattan, heading toward the Hudson River. Castle Garden and Manhattan’s skyline fans out ahead and left. Bathed in warm light, ferry passengers relax along the deck while in the foreground two fishermen work nets from a small rowboat.

Both this painting and its companion piece are awash in light, featuring a magical evening sky with tones of orange and yellow. Baker was at the top of his output when he painted this duo, clearly fascinated by the play of sunlight upon this famous waterway. The light and reflection in these paintings are best when viewed in person.

Sold as a pair with Baker's "Ferry Arriving"

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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

SOLD

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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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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