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A portion of the print of the Ericsson, rendered with various Photoshop filters.

Maritime and Marine Art

November 2015

The November 2015 display was inspired by the exhibit The Coast and the Sea: Marine and Maritime Art in America, which opened in the New York State Museum on October 24, 2015.

Marine art "portrays or draws its main inspiration from the sea." Maritime art typically depicts ships at sea, but the term also covers any scenes that include some element of human seafaring activity; marine art, on the other hand, is the more general term and could include pure seascapes with no human element. (Source: Wikipedia)

Right display case

The Museum exhibit features over 50 paintings, as well as some maritime artifacts, from the New-York Historical Society. Ranging in date from 1750 to 1904, many of the paintings depict New York State scenes such as the Port of New York and the Hudson River.

The Library's exhibit explored some of the same themes, including this selection of books that feature images of New York harbor from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The older images all include Castle Garden in the background, while a more recent painting features the Statue of Liberty.


Center display case

Many of the books on display featured the artists whose work is found in The Coast and the Sea exhibit, such as these two books on the on James Bard's steamship paintings. Some other artists included in the Library exhibit were John Frederick Kensett, Thomas Birch, and Howard Pyle.


Left display case

The examples in this case all showed sailing ships - probably the most popular subject of maritime paintings. A diagram from one of the books indentified different types of ships, based on the number of masts they have and the type of sails they sport.


Images Displayed

  • Caloric Ship Ericsson Passing the Battery, N.Y.
  • Breaking up the Ice at New York: A View from the East River (1862)
    [copy of a print from MSC collections]
  • Southwest View of Sackett's Harbor, N.Y. (1815)
    [copy of print from MSC collections]
  • Drawing of White Whale on the Hudson River [copy] by Len Tantillo, along with an image of the page from the 17th century document, the de Hooges Memorandum Book, describing the event that inspired it.

Books Displayed

  • The adventure of sail, 1520-1914 (1970). Macintyre, Donald G. F. W.
  • America and the sea: treasures from the collections of Mystic Seaport  (2005). Finamore, Daniel.
  • American marine painting (1987). Wilmerding, John.
  • American maritime paintings of John Stobart (1991). Stobart, John.
  • The Bard brothers: painting America under steam and sail. (1997). Peluso, Anthony J.
  • Down to the sea with Jack Woodson: the artistry of a distinguished American illustrator (1987). Woodson, Jack.
  • The great age of sail: maritime art and photography (1986). Kemp, Peter.
  • Great Lakes marine painting of the nineteenth century: an inaugural exhibition commemorating the addition of the Walker Gallery to the Hackley Art Gallery: the Muskegon Museum of Art, June 1 through August 31, 1983 (1983). Sweeney, J. Gray.
  • Howard Pyle--writer, illustrator, founder of the Brandywine school (1975). Pitz, Henry Clarence.
  • Imagine New Amsterdam: how the Dutch have influenced Manhattan's settlement patterns and development (2009). Haff, Courtney Alfred.
  • J. & J. Bard, picture painters (1977). Peluso, Anthony J.
  • John Frederick Kensett, an American Master. Driscoll, John Paul.
  • Julian O. Davidson, 1853-1894: American marine artist: exhibition, September 14-November 16, 1986, The Historical Society of Rockland County. Beman, Lynn S.
  • Maritime America: from America's great nautical collections (1988). Neill, Peter.
  • Paintings of the clipper era. Recent paintings by John Stobart. First New York
    Exhibition. November 8 through 30, 1967
    . Stobart, John.
  • Seascape and the American imagination 1st ed. (1975). Stein, Roger B.
  • Thirteen chapters of American history represented by the Edward Moran series of thirteen historical marine paintings (1905). Sutro, Theodore.
  • Thomas Chambers: American marine and landscape painter, 1808-1869 (2008). Foster, Kathleen A.

Exhibit curated by Pat Jordan, Diane Madrigal and Joelle Adler

Last Updated: November 2, 2021