Oil on board painting depicting schooner yachts racing around the Sandy Hook Lightship in a brisk breeze, signed lower left JE Buttersworth, circa 1875. The back of the board has the original paper trade label which states"Prepared Mill - Board, Winsor & Newton...London". This label appears on many Buttersworth paintings on board. This is a fine example of a James E. Buttersworth yachting scene and includes many of the elements that define the artist’s work. Near the center of the picture is a black hull topsail schooner yacht sailing at an angle. The vessel has a golden eagle figurehead at her bow and like the other three yachts in the race she is not flying her topsails indicating that it is pretty windy. The sky has a wonderful luminescent quality and has a subtle change or gradation of color. There are wispy clouds across the sky with colorful highlights that are being illuminated from the light of setting sun. The sea is rolling and the top of the waves have white highlights giving the effect of windswept water. Another common Buttersworth element is the reflections of the boats' hulls and sails in the water. These reflections are most noticeable with the central yacht, the yacht to the left and the Sandy Hook lightship which shows the red hull reflecting the red color into the water. The Sandy Hook Lightship is flying an American flag off her stern and all of the yachts are flying their owners colorful private signal flags from the peak of their rear masts. The painting demonstrates how JE Buttersworth created a strong sense of atmosphere and action in his paintings. (PA-1005)
Condition: The painting is in excellent condition with only a small amount of in-paint around the edges resulting from typical frame abrasion. The painting was recently cleaned by Yost Restoration. A wrtten condtion report from Yost Restoration is available indicating that the picture is in excellent condition.
Provenance: The painting retains the trade label from Kennedy Galleries of New York. The gallery was founded in 1874 and the name was changed in 1952 to Kennedy Galleries which was active in selling American art and the works of JE Buttersworth until 2005.
Reference: "Flying to Colors: The Unseen Treasures of Nineteenth-Century American Marine Art by Janice Hyland and Alan Granby, Published by Mytic Seaport Museum 2009 page 205. The painting titled "Yacht America off Castle William" is also on board and has the same dimensions. Comparing the painting above and the one in the book one notices that the sky with sunset on the left and colorful wispy clouds accros the sky demonstates a very similar treatment by Buttersworth as well as the colors and reflections in the water. Both paintings were probably painted with in a similar time period.
Dimensions of Painting: Height 10; Width 14 inches.
Dimensions of Frame: Height - 16 1/4, Width 20 1/4, Inches, Debth 2 1/4, Inches