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    Description

    The Hon. Paul H. Buchanan, Jr. Collection

    JAMES EDWARD BUTTERSWORTH (American, 1817-1894)

    Yachting in Boston Harbor
    Oil on artist's board
    7-7/8 x 12 inches (20.0 x 30.5 cm)
    Signed lower right: J E Buttersworth
    Inscribed in graphite verso: Yachting in Boston Harbor

    PROVENANCE:
    Collection of Barry Rader;
    Acquired from the former by Hirschl and Adler Galleries, New York, 1982;
    Purchased from Hirschl and Adler Galleries, New York, December 7, 1985 (label verso).

    EXHIBITED:
    "Collectors' Gallery XVIII," McNay Art Institute, San Antonio, Texas, November 4 - December 24, 1984 (label verso).

    In this beautifully-preserved work, James Buttersworth's ability to capture the grace of billowing sails in a steady wind can be fully appreciated. Visible in the distance across Boston Harbor, the artist has included one of his favorite shorescapes crowned by the State House Dome on Beacon Hill. Rather than framing the view of Boston symmetrically with by the yachts he has shown under full sail, Buttersworth partially occludes it with the most prominent vessel. This compositional choice heightens the sense of the boat's velocity on the water, and also creates the subtle impression of having been a scene the artist personally observed rather than one imagined in the studio.

    From the 1870s on, James Buttersworth turned his artistic attention away from historical sailing ships and focused on yachts. He found eager patrons among the entrepreneurs and sportsmen who built and raced them (R. B. Grassby, Ship, Sea & Sky: The Marine Art of James Edward Buttersworth, New York, 1994, p. 19). Paradoxically, the interest in recreational sailing boomed as American shipping declined and steam edged out sail just after the Civil War.

    This work can possibly be identified as cat. no. 657 among the "paintings with incomplete information" listed in Rudolph E. Schaefer's catalogue raisonné, J. E. Buttersworth, 19th-Century Marine Painter, Mystic, Connecticut,1975, p. 269 (A Yacht Race, 8 x 12, oil on millboard, signed).



    Condition Report*: The paint surface is well preserved, as is the fine detail of the rigging and the meticulously described ripples in the water.  Under UV examination there is no evidence of restoration or damage. 
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2009
    10th-11th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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