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Spyglass Winter 2016

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Cat Boats with Committee Boat  circa 1860
James E. Buttersworth  (1817 - 1894)
Oil on  Board

Born in England, James E. Buttersworth emigrated to the United States in 1845 and quickly established himself as one of the leading painters of ships and yachts.

Much of Buttersworth's early history is obscure.  While there exists documentation that he was the son of James C. Buttersworth, a draftsman on the staff of Lord Nelson, it has also been theorized that he may have been related to Thomas Buttersworth, an early 19th century maritime painter of note.

In the early 1850's Buttersworth moved to a New Jersey studio where he specialized in works of art depicting the abundance of sail that decorated the mid-Atlantic and New England coastline.

In Cat Boats with Committee Boat, Buttersworth displays his extensive knowledge of boats, rigging, and sailing.  This highly realistic composition also demonstrates the artist's sensitivity to the colors and movement of the Atlantic Ocean.   

Cunard Steamer Parthia Leaving Boston Harbor  1871
Xanthus Smith  (1839 - 1929)
Oil on Canvas

Son of the Hudson River landscapist, Russell Smith, Xanthus was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1839.  As a young boy, he often accompanied his father to Europe on sketching trips.  Later, Xanthus received a formal education at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and at the Royal Academy, London.

During the Civil War, Xanthus Smith served in the Navy and became familiar with seafaring vessels.  Several battle paintings document this period of his life such as Battle of Gettysburg and The Battle of the Monitor and the Merrimack.

In Cunard Steamer Parthia, please note the cloud of smoke coming from the vessel's stern.  This may be caused by a Donkey Engine, a small auxiliary engine sometimes used early in the Age of Steam to transform sailboats to steamboats.

A Dreary Day at Boon Island, Maine   1878
William Frederick deHaas  (1830 - 1880)
Oil on Canvas

deHaas was born in Rotterdam and studied at the Academy in his native city as well as at the Hague Academy.  In 1854 he emigrated to the United States and settled in New York City.  Best remembered for his seascapes, deHaas wandered the New England coastline for subject matter.

Boon Island, although in Maine waters, is off the coast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  The lighthouse still remains today though the outbuildings are gone.

Fishing Off the Coast 1880
Charles H. Gifford  (1839 - 1904)
Oil on Canvas

Growing up in mid-19th century Fairhaven aided the artistic growth of Charles H. Gifford.  In the neighboring town of New Bedford, artists such as Alfred Bierstadt, William Bradford and Robert Swain Gifford had studios and exhibited their work. 

Essentially self-taught, Gifford is considered today to be among America's finest Luminists.  The artists of the Luminist movement found in American light a special quality which they painted with subtlety and extreme realism.  In the Luminists' highly polished pictures, they captured every nuance of light, from dawn to dusk, as well as every aspect of the changing seasons and weather.

Gifford enjoyed an esteemed reputation during his life but after his death, his life and works fell into obscurity.  This may be due in part to the diminutive size of the majority of his paintings - most no larger than 9 x 14 inches. 
In Fishing Off the Coast, Gifford deftly handles the turbulence of the sea and the ominous sky.

Grand Manan, Northern Head  circa 1880
F. W. Stan(s)field   (dates not known)
Oil on  Board

Research on this painting is ongoing.  Recent inquires indicate that the artist may have been a Canadian painter.


Harbor Scene
John J. Enneking  (1841 - 1916)
Oil on Canvas

Born in Ohio, this artist's work is considered to be one of the first bridges between American and European Impressionism.  Enneking's early works were realistic in nature but after his first European trip in 1870, his work displays a new-found interest in the way light alters both color and form.

As a child Enneking was said to have a natural gift for drawing.  His sketches covered doors and walls of the family farm.  Enneking studied at St. Mary's College but his artistic training was interrupted by the Civil War.  After the War, Enneking moved to Boston and quickly gained praise for his detailed landscapes.  He studied with Leon Bonnât in Paris for three years and later with Charles Daubigney.

Newport Harbor Scene
Mabel Woodward  (1877 - 1945)
Oil on Canvas

Mabel Woodward was, always, a dedicated student of art.  She began her studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where she later became an instructor.  While at RISD, she won every major award the school offered and was the recipient of its first scholarship.

After graduation in 1897, Woodward was commissioned by the Library of Congress to illustrate the cover of their first publication.  Moving to New York, she resumed her studies at the Art Student's League under the guidance of Kenyon Cox and Joseph DeCamp.  In addition to studying under such outstanding artists and educators, she enjoyed contact with talented contemporaries.  Woodward thrived and matured in this environment and was chosen to represent the Art Student's League at the Paris Exposition in 1900.

Summers were spent observing the techniques of William Merritt Chase and later with Chase's protégé, Charles Hawthorne at the Cape Cod School of Art in Provincetown.  Following the lead of Chase and his commitment to outdoor painting, her paintings are infused with fresh color and natural light yielding compositions that exude joy and spontaneity.

Sunset in the Arctic
William Bradford  (1832 - 1892)
Oil on Canvas

Pursuit of the exotic is what fueled the artistic sensibility of William Bradford.  Early in his career, Bradford traveled the West Coast painting the virgin beauty of such natural wonders as Yosemite Valley and Mount Shasta.  It was, however, the crystalline vistas of the polar regions that captured his imagination.  Bradford's arctic paintings are the essence of romantic adventure and typify the 19th century penchant for exploring the outer limits of civilization.

Bradford was born in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, a neighboring town to New Bedford.  During the early 19th century, these two towns were bustling centers for the whaling industry and drew many fine marine painters to their harbors.  As a young boy, Bradford studied with the Dutch artist, Alfred Van Beest.  It was from Van Beest that he acquired his skill in imparting understated luminosity as well as for an atmospheric mood.

In 1861, Bradford first journeyed to the Arctic.  He kept a detailed diary of his observations.  These often-referred-to notes were later used in his studio to return certain images to mind.  By the late 1860's, he was augmenting his notes with photography in order to better record the precise details of the arctic landscape.

William Bradford enjoyed immense popularity.  His travel journals were published in England, he became a sought-after lecturer and in 1875, Queen Victoria purchased a painting.

His reputation, as a photographer and as a painter, has endured as a distinctive one in 19th century marine painting.

Yacht America in New York Harbor  circa 1852
James E. Buttersworth  (1817 - 1894)
Oil on  Board

James E. Buttersworth is remembered as one of the most prominent marine painters of mid-19th century America.

During his early career, Buttersworth was best known for his paintings of clipper ships reproduced by Currier and Ives as lithographs.  The Age of Steam ended the supremacy of the clipper ship and Buttersworth turned his attention to yacht racing.


Selected Examples of works by Ralph Cahoon :: Selected Examples of Works by Martha Cahoon
American School Paintings :: Maritime Paintings :: American Impressionism :: 19th Century :: 20th Century
21st Century Cape Cod Artists