Exhibition | The Coast and the Sea

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on March 16, 2014

Press release (4 October 2013) from D. Giles:

Linda S. Ferber, The Coast and the Sea: Marine and Maritime Art in America (London: D. Giles Limited, 2013), 104 pages, ISBN 978-1907804311, $30 / £20.

The Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach, Florida, 25 January — 9 March 2014
The Baker Museum of Art, Naples, Florida, 19 April — 6 July 2014
Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine, January — May 2015
The Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury, Connecticut, 6 June — 13 September 2015
The New York State Museum, Albany, New York, 24 October 2015 — 22 February 2016


A Southeast Prospect of the City of New York, ca. 1756–61. Oil on canvas. 38 x 72 1/2 in. (96.5 x 184.2 cm). Collection of the New-York Historical Society.

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The Coast and the Sea: Marine and Maritime Art in America will be published by D Giles Limited, in association with the New-York Historical Society, in December 2013. It is an appealing and colourful volume which presents over 50 of the best marine paintings and artifacts from the New-York Historical Society’s impressive maritime art collection.

Coast-and-Sea-jkt-02-13w-front2The works range in date from 1750 to 1940, and are by eminent marine artists like Thomas Birch, John Frederick Kensett, and Charlton T. Chapman. Highlights include large format canvasses of famous sea battles, ships at work, portraits of heroic sea captains, dashing naval officers like James Gordon Bennett Jr. and pioneering merchants, such as the aptly named Preserved Fish of New York, prominent in shipping in the early 19th century. There are also maritime themed objects such as an engraved whale’s tooth from the late 19th century, and a silver presentation urn commemorating acts of bravery from the War of 1812. An essay by curator Linda S. Ferber places the works within their wider historical and cultural narrative.

The works are then arranged thematically rather than by artist or period; there is for example a chapter on the Anglo-Dutch tradition in American marine art: the War of 1812 with its great sea battles and heroes and romantic and idealized visions of the sea. A section on the merchant marine and maritime trade features paintings of major trading posts in and around the Pearl River Delta, including Hong Kong; some of these paintings were by a group of Chinese artists working in the European style specifically for the export market. There are views of the Hudson River and the great Port of New York, as well as Gilded Age nostalgia for the great age of sail, with its clipper ships and majestic wind-jammers.

Linda S. Ferber is Senior Art Historian, the New-York Historical Society.

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Note (added 1 August 2014) — The original version of this posting included only the first two exhibition venues.

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