20 Classic Works of Marine Paintings - With Footnotes, #17

Montague Dawson, R.S.M.A., F.R.S.A., 1895 - 1973, A NIGHT AT SEA
Oil on canvas
28 by 42 in., 71 by 106.9 cm
Private collection

Compositions featuring a shipboard perspective are rare within Montague Dawson's prolific body of work, and A Night at Sea offers dynamic insight into this distinctive yet fascinating genre of his career. In the present work, an iridescent night sky illuminates the deck of a ship as it navigates through swelling and crashing waves.  A single golden light swaying with the wavering vessel faintly highlights two men who emerge from the doorway to tend to their decks, now covered with water.  Through this captivating choice of perspective, Dawson draws attention not only to the harsh realities of life on the water, but also to the power and often dangerous beauty of the wide-open ocean. More

Montague Dawson RMSA, FRSA (1890–1973) was a British painter who was renowned as a maritime artist. His most famous paintings depict sailing ships, usually clippers or warships of the 18th and 19th centuries. Montague was the son of a keen yachtsman and the grandson of the marine painter Henry Dawson (1811–1878), born in Chiswick, London. Much of his childhood was spent on Southampton Water where he was able to indulge his interest in the study of ships. For a brief period around 1910 Dawson worked for a commercial art studio in Bedford Row, London, but with the outbreak of the First World War he joined the Royal Navy. Whilst serving with the Navy in Falmouth he met Charles Napier Hemy (1841–1917), who considerably influenced his work. In 1924 Dawson was the official artist for an Expedition to the South Seas by the steam yacht St.George. During the expedition he provided illustrated reports to the Graphic magazine.

After the War, Dawson established himself as a professional marine artist, concentrating on historical subjects and portraits of deep-water sailing ships. During the Second World War, he was employed as a war artist. Dawson exhibited regularly at the Royal Society of Marine Artists, of which he became a member, from 1946 to 1964, and occasionally at the Royal Academy between 1917 and 1936. By the 1930s he was considered one of the greatest living marine artists, whose patrons included two American Presidents, Dwight D Eisenhower and Lyndon B Johnson, as well as the British Royal Family. Also in the 1930s, he moved to Milford-Upon-Sea in Hampshire, living there for many years. Dawson is noted for the strict accuracy in the nautical detail of his paintings which often sell for six figures.

The work of Montague Dawson is represented in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich and the Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth. More

Winslow Homer (1836–1910)
Summer Cloud, c. 1881
Watercolor on paper
Private collection

Winslow Homer (February 24, 1836 – September 29, 1910) was an American landscape painter and printmaker, best known for his marine subjects. He is considered one of the foremost painters in 19th-century America and a preeminent figure in American art.

Largely self-taught, Homer began his career working as a commercial illustrator. He subsequently took up oil painting and produced major studio works characterized by the weight and density he exploited from the medium. He also worked extensively in watercolor, creating a fluid and prolific oeuvre, primarily chronicling his working vacations. More

In 1881, Homer travelled to England, where he spent two years on the coast painting watercolours, including Summer Cloud. He sent them to his New York dealer, who exhibited them to critical praise: “The feeling of a windy day is admirably described,” said one reviewer, while another declared: “We do not believe he has ever shown us any works so spontaneous in appearance and delightful in effect as these.” More

Winslow Homer (1836–1910)
Inside the Bar, 1883
Watercolor on paper
Private collection

Inside the Bar reprises the theme of women posed against the stormy ocean with vessels in the distance. It is large and thoroughly worked like all of Homer's most ambitious studio watercolors of the same period. Inside the Bar was the most extravagantly praised of all of the watercolors Homer showed in 1883 and, indeed, became something of a benchmark in his art. More

Winslow Homer (1836–1910), see above

Montague Dawson, R.S.M.A., F.R.S.A., 1895 - 1973
Oil on canvas
40 1/4 by 50 in., 102.5 by 127 cm
Private collection

In the mid-nineteenth century, clippers were the fastest ships at sea, traversing the trade routes between England and the Far East as well as between New York and San Francisco around Cape Horn, aptly earning the title of Cape Horner. Cutty Sark was one of the last tea clippers ever built, ordered by Captain John Willis and constructed by Scott & Linton in 1869.  While a French frigate inspired her design, a Scottish poem inspired her name and figurehead.  At the prow of the ship was a carved likeness of Nannie Dee, a witch from Robert Burns’ poem Tam O’Shanter (1791) who wears a short white chemise known as a cutty sark, and whose outstretched hand holds a horse’s tail. More

Montague Dawson, R.S.M.A., F.R.S.A., 1895 - 1973, see above

William Joy
Shipwreck on the rocks
16 x 23 in

George William Joy (July 7, 1844 in Dublin, Ireland – October 28, 1925 in Purbrook, Hampshire) was an Irish painter in London.  He was initially destined for the military and was also an accomplished violin player. After a foot injury at a young age, his father declared him unfit for military service. Joy was then educated at Harrow School and eventually pursued a career as an artist. He studied in London's South Kensington School of Art and later at the Royal Academy.

In 1868 Joy went to Paris where for two years he was a student of Charles-François Jalabert and Léon Bonnat. There he met masters like Gérôme, Cabanel, Jules Breton, Jules Lefebvre und Philippe Rousseau.

Going back to London, Joy established himself as a history and genre painter, and became a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy, the Salon des artistes français and the Royal Hibernian Academy. He became a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 1895.

To satisfy his early military ambitions, Joy entered the Artists Rifles where he was known as a good shot, representing Ireland several times. He spent many winters in Swanage from 1896 and eventually retired to Purbrook. Both of his sons were killed in 1915 during World War I. More

Winslow Homer (1836–1910)
Breezing Up
Watercolor on paper
Private collection

Breezing Up was the capstone of Homer's Gloucester paintings, his most popular painting since Prisoners from the Front, and so compellingly attractive that his critics, as they were seldom at this time willing to do, forgave the coarseness and abbreviation of style that, even here, they could not entirely pass by without comment. More

Winslow Homer (February 24, 1836 – September 29, 1910) see above

William Edward Webb (British, 1862-1903)
Castletown, Isle of Man
Oil on canvas 
30.5 x 61cm (12 x 24in)
Private collection

Castletown is a town geographically within the Malew parish of the Isle of Man but administered separately. Lying at the south of the island, it was the Manx capital until 1869 (They are primarily a Celtic people, though with significant Norse and English influences). The centre of town is dominated by Castle Rushen, a well-preserved medieval castle, shown at the right, originally built for a Viking king. More

William Edward Webb (British, 1862-1903) lived in Manchester. He exhibited more than 60 paintings from 1890 to 1904, mostly in his hometown. He also with the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and three times with the Royal Academy in London. Frequently painted marine scenes in and around the Isle of Man, as well as North East of England.

Ernest Walbourn (British, 1872-1927)
A Devonshire fisherman's daughter 
Oil on canvas
51 x 76.5cm (20 1/16 x 30 1/8in)

Ernest Charles Walbourn (16 February 1872 Dalston, Middlesex - 1927) was a British landscape painter of rural and farming scenes. He was the second of five children and was educated locally. His father  initially disapproved of his artistic ambitions, but later helped with the setting up of a studio at the family home and the funding of his art training.

In 1895 he settled in Chingford, Essex and began exhibiting at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. From 1897 his paintings were exhibited at the Royal Academy and at the Royal Society of British Artists. His works were well received . In 1906, he married Eva Gardner/Knight who assisted by painting the backgrounds of some of his larger works, later achieving recognition in her own right. More

William Lee Hankey RWS, RI, ROI, RE (British, 1869-1952)
Tunny Boats, Concarneau 
Oil on canvas
63.5 x 76.2cm (25 x 30in).
Private Collection

In the early 1930's someone discovered that huge Tunny fish (another name for the Atlantic bluefin tuna) lived in the North Sea. They were not easy to capture and so big game anglers turned this into a sport. Tunny fishing became a sport practised by wealthy aristocrats and military officers mostly in the 1930s; while Concarneau is a commune in the Finistère department of Brittany in north-western France. Concarneau is bordered to the west by the Baie de La Forêt. It is devoted to tourism with many restaurants and shops aimed at tourists. More

William Lee Hankey (1869–1952) RWS,RI,ROI,RE,NS was a British painter and book illustrator. He specialised in landscapes, character studies and portraits of pastoral life, particularly in studies of mothers with young children.

He was born in Chester and worked as a designer after leaving school. He studied art in the evenings at the Chester School of Art, then at the Royal College of Art. Later in Paris he became influenced by the work of Jules Bastien-Lepage, who also favoured rustic scenes depicted in a realistic but sentimental style. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1896 and was President of the London Sketch Club from 1902 to 1904. He stayed in France in the early 1900s, painting many of his works in Brittany and Normandy. From 1904 until well after World War I he maintained a studio at the Etaples art colony.

It was Hankey's black and white and coloured etchings of the people of Étaples, which gained him a reputation as 'one of the most gifted of the figurative printmakers working in original drypoint during the first thirty years of the 20th century'. One that is particularly striking for its stylistic presentation was "The Refugees", his contribution to raising awareness of the consequences for ordinary people of the German invasion of France and Belgium in 1914. He went on to serve with the Artists' Rifles from 1915 to 1918.

In Britain he had been associated with the Newlyn School, a group of English artists based in the titular village in Cornwall who were themselves influenced by the romantic poets such as Wordsworth and Keats. More

Eduardo Dalbono (Italian, 1841-1915)
Pescatori e barche, Fishermen and boats
Oil on panel
24.2 x 34.5cm (9 1/2 x 13 9/16in)
Private Collection

Eduardo Dalbono (10 December 1841 – 23 August 1915) was an Italian painter born in Naples. The son of a writer and art critic father and poet mother, Edoardo Dalbono attended the Royal Institute of Fine Arts in Naples in 1853, but left it shortly afterwards to join Nicola Palizzi’s studio. In 1859 he participated in Mostra di Belle Arti at the Real Museo Borbonico winning the silver medal; he then became interested in the Scuola di Resina, and his artistic research centred on life studies of nature. In 1867 he began showing his works regularly at the Società Promotrice di Belle Arti in Naples and other exhibitions; he won the silver medal at the National Exposition at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Parma in 1870 with a history painting and the bronze medal at the international exhibition in Vienna in 1873. From 1878 to 1888 he lived in Paris and, with the help of his friend Giuseppe De Nittis, entered into a contract with the art dealer Goupil. During this decade he returned to Italy several times, staying in Milan and Verona, and also continued the activity he had begun years earlier as an illustrator. He was one of the founders of the Società Napoletana degli Artisti, and later of the Circolo Artistico, and in 1897 was appointed professor of painting at the Naples Academy. He went on to show his works in the international exhibitions in Venice in 1895, St Louis in 1904 and Rome in 1911. He died in Naples in 1915. More

Christopher Blossom, United States (b. 1956)
Private Collection

Christopher Blossom follows a line of highly accomplished artists. Both his grandfather, and his father, were celebrated commercial artists. Their influence, in combination with Blossom’s own unique approach to easel painting, has led him to become regarded as one of the undisputed leaders of today’s generation of marine painters.

After informal studies with his father, Blossom attended the Parsons School of Design in New York City. At the same time, he worked in the Industrial Design Studio of Robert Bourke, where he learned to accurately interpret blueprints of all kinds. By the time he finished, he was able to visualize an entire boat by using its plans alone as reference, and he could draw a craft from any angle.

At the age of 20, he was awarded a Scholarship Gold Medal by the Society of Illustrators, then became a charter member and later, president of the American Society of Marine Arts. Soon, he was accepted into the exclusive Society of Historical Artists.

His passion for history and his unique ability to visualize in three dimensions has allowed him to recreate scenes from maritime history with a sincerity and feeling that is unequaled among his contemporaries. More

Attributed to Francesco Fontebasso (1709-1769) 
Rescue at sea,
Oil on canvas 
42.5 x 64,5cm - 16 ¾ x 25 3/8 IN. 
Private Collection

Francesco Fontebasso (4 October 1707 – 31 May 1769) was an Italian painter of the late-Baroque or Rococo period of Venice. He first apprenticed with Sebastiano Ricci, but was strongly influenced by his contemporary, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. In 1761, Fontebasso visited Saint Petersburg and produced ceiling paintings and decorations for the Winter Palace. Fontebasso returned to Venice in 1768. He helped decorate a chapel in San Francesco della Vigna. More

A 17th century Namban two-panel folding screen
 Depicting the arrival of business ship (Nau do trato) to Japan 
Tempera and gold leaf on mulberry paper, wood structure 
Lacquered wood frame with gilt copper mounts 
Japan, Edo Period, second half of the 17th century
171x185 cm
Private Collection

Namban screens, made in Japan between the late 16th and the 17th century are historic evidence of the first business interactions between Japan and the West.

A 17th century Namban two-panel folding screen
 Depicting the arrival of business ship (Nau do trato) to Japan 

The story here depicted is one of the most recurring themes - the arrival of 
the “Nau do Trato”, also known as “Nau Negra” (Black Ship) to Nagasaki harbour. The ship, which came from China or India, carried silks, highly regarded by the Japanese. More

A 17th century Namban two-panel folding screen
 Depicting the arrival of business ship (Nau do trato) to Japan 

Wagner, Karl Theodor, 1856 Wien - 1921 Prechtoldsdorf
 oil, canvas
69 x 55cm
Private Collection

Roman Bratkowski (1869 Lviv - 1954 Wieliczka) 
SEA, c. 1905
 oil, canvas
42.7 x 64cm
Private Collection

Roman Bratkowski (1869 Lviv - 1954 Wieliczka) graduated from the Cracow School of Fine Arts. His artistic studies continued in Vienna and Munich, where he was associated with the studio Ažbe`go. He started exhibiting in 1891; He presented his works at the Warsaw Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts in Krakow and Lviv, and the Society of Friends of Fine Arts. He painted atmospheric landscapes and paintings of marine subjects, a frequent theme of his work were the views from the south of Italy (including Capri). More

EDUARD AUGUST HILDEBRANDT (1817 Gdańsk - October 25, 1869 Berlin),
SHIP IN DANGER,  c. 1839
Oil, canvas
 42 x 62cm
Private Collection

EDUARD AUGUST HILDEBRANDT (1817 Gdańsk - October 25, 1869 Berlin), was a German artist. He first studied painting techniques under his father; then in  1837 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin, under the direction of well-known German marine painter Wilhelm Krause. After graduation he lived and worked in Berlin, where he went on artistic tours to Scandinavia, the UK, North America and Brazil. Painter of landscapes. He was friends with Alexander von Humboldt. More

Lev Feliksovich Lagorio (1827-1905)
Coastal Scene, 1925
oil on board
6 x 3 7/8 in (15.2 x 9.8 cm)
Private Collection

This painting by the Russian landscape artist, Lev Lagorio, belong to his classic period. On returning from an academic tour of Italy and receiving the title of Professor of Landscape Painting in 1860, the artist settled in St. Petersburg. He continued to make several trips to the Caucasus during this time and created a number of landscapes. Views of Elbrus and the Daryalsky Valley which featured in the 1862 exhibition made a great impression on Alexander II, and from then on the 'Caucasian' theme became a constant in the artist's works.

Lev Feliksovich Lagorio (1828–1905) see below

Lev Feliksovich Lagorio (1827-1905)
Port Scene
Oil on canvas,
40 x 35 cm (15 1/2 x 13 1/2 in.)
Private Collection

Imperial admiration prompted numerous commissions from private individuals, and Lagorio's contemporaries were moved to note that most of his paintings 'came straight from the artist's studio to the buyers, never appearing at exhibitions. According to the exhibition catalogue, both solo exhibitions (St. Petersburg, 1893 and Odessa,1894 ) consisted explicitly of paintings from the artist's own collection. More

Feliksovich Lagorio (9 December 1826, Feodosia - 17 November 1905, Saint Petersburg) was a Russian painter and watercolorist, known primarily for his seascapes and maritime scenes. He was associated with the "Cimmerian" school of painting, composed of artists who worked in Southern Crimea.

His father, Felice Lagorio (1781-1857) was a Genoese merchant serving as Vice-Consul for the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. From 1839 to 1840, he received his first artistic training in the studios of Ivan Aivazovsky. In 1842, with the support of Alexander Kaznacheyev, the Governor of Taurida, he was able to enroll at the Imperial Academy of Arts. Later, he was able to obtain financial assistance from the Duke of Leuchtenberg, the Academy's new President. Among his teachers there were Alexander Sauerweid, Maxim Vorobiev and Bogdan Willewalde.

Lev Feliksovich Lagorio (1827–1905)
Batumi, c. 1881
Oil on canvas
135 × 207 cm (53.1 × 81.5 in)
Orenburg Regional Museum of Fine Arts

In 1850, he received the title of "Artist" for his painting "View of Lahti" and, two years later, became a Russian citizen. He was also awarded a pension to study abroad, visiting Paris first (1853), then Rome, where he stayed until 1859, the last two years at his own expense.

After his return, in 1860, he was named a Professor and exhibited the works he had created in Italy. He travelled to the Caucasus in 1861 and presented a series of landscapes from there to Tsar Alexander II, who presented him with the Order of Saint Anna. He returned to the Caucasus in 1863 and 1864, with the entourage of Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolayevich, where he participated in the Caucasian War. Afterward he settled in Saint Petersburg, spent the summers in Sudak and often travelled abroad..

Lev Lagorio Felixowitsch (1827-1905)
Seascape, c. 1897
Oil on canvas
Museum of Fine Arts Yekaterinburg

In 1885, he was commissioned to paint a series of works on the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 and visited battlefields throughout the European and Asian theaters. In 1900, he was named an honorary member of the Academy. He is buried at Novodevichy Cemetery. More

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