Marine Artists in America

European marine artists who came to America helped establish this genre in prosperous port cities such as New York, Salem, and Boston. Among these were Michele Felice Cornè of France, and Englishman Thomas Birch.

The first known American-born ship portraitistShip portrait

Marine painting featuring an accurate depiction of a vessel, usually commissioned by the owner or captain.
is George Ropes, a pupil of Cornè. Ropes was the son of a Salem shipmaster, and was deaf and mute. He died young, leaving only a few paintings, but demonstrated remarkable talent.

Robert Salmon influenced Fitz Henry (Hugh) Lane (1804-1865), a famous lithographerLithograph

An image produced by printing from a plane surface, such as stone or metal plate, on which the image to be printed is ink-receptive and the blank area is ink-repellant.
and marine artist from Gloucester, Massachusetts. See some of Lane's works at the Cape Ann Historical Museum website. The influence of Lane's training as a lithographer is seen in his crisply outlined ships. Lane is known for the light in his paintings and is often included in the school of painting called LuminismLuminism

A style of realistic landscape and seascape painting developed in the United States in the mid-nineteenth century and concerned with the study and depiction of effects of light and atmosphere.
. He in turn influenced other marine painters.


Sloop Yacht 'Defender' Packet 'James Foster, Jr.'

Danish-American artist Antonio Jacobsen (1850-1921) lived and worked in New York (pictures above). He started out as a decorator of iron safes for the Marvin Safe Company in New York.

Barkentine 'Mannie Swan'

He then went on to produce close to 8,000 marine paintings. This painting of the yachtYacht

A vessel used exclusively for pleasure boating.
Defender is dated 1897. In 1895 the Defender successfully defended the America's Cup with an all-Maine crew from Deer Isle.

The Mannie Swan (left) was the last vessel built by Isaac Coombs of Camden. Captain Higgins, with his wife Belle Wooster Higgins, sailed this vessel until she was sold in 1920. They kept a menagerie of exotic animals on board as pets. Jacobsen painted this picture in 1893.