DescriptionFROM THE FLANNER & BUCHANAN CORPORATE COLLECTION
ELBRIDGE WESLEY WEBBER (American, 1839-1914)
Sailing at Night, circa 1900
Oil on canvas
20 x 30 inches (50.8 x 76.2 cm)
Signed lower left: Wesley Webber
Landscape and marine artist ELBRIDGE Wesley Webber specialized in scenes of ships sailing at moonlit, frequently on Long Island Sound. Born in Gardiner, Maine, Webber was largely self-taught. He lived in Boston from 1870 to 1890 and in New York City from 1892. He is considered one of the finer landscape artists who painted from life in the Conway region of New Hampshire and along the New England coast.
Webber served in the Civil War (Company B of the Sixteenth Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment) and was present at General Lee's surrender at Appomattox. His original sketches made at the surrender, along with his finished illustrations of the Civil War were exhibited at the Boston Art Club and brought Webber considerable fame, recognition, and fortune. Many of his Civil War scenes were published as wood engravings in Harper's Weekly and as a lithograph published by J.H. Bufford of Boston. He was discharged from Civil War service in Augusta, Maine, June 15, 1865 and he opened a studio in Gardiner, where he became a carriage painter. Thereafter, Webber earned a fine reputation as a marine and landscape painter, but at the end of his life (ca. 1900-1914) he became an alcoholic and his style weakened along with his reputation.
Webber shared a Boston studio in Pemberton Square and then shared a Boston studio with marine painter William P. Stubbs (1876-) and kept other studios in New York City until his death. Every summer he went to Conway, New Hampshire to paint the hillside, where painters John J. Enneking [whose work is included in the present auction], Frank Shapleigh and others joined him to paint. He also painted in Manchester-by-the-Sea, in Nova Scotia and in Canada. Two of his most famous paintings are "Kennebec River", "Maine Boat Shop and Unidentified Vessels Ice-bound at Gloucester" (both at the Peabody Museum, Salem, MA). He is also represented in the permanent collections of the Boston Athenaeum; New York Public Library; the Brooklyn Museum; and the Portland Museum of Art (Maine), among others.
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