Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    Xanthus Smith (American, 1839-1929)

    Sinking of the Alabama
    Circa 1865-1870
    Oil on canvas
    Signed on reverse Xanthus Smith, Sinking of the Alabama


    One of Xanthus Smith's most famous subjects was the sinking of the Confederate raider CSS Alabama by the Union ship USS Kearsarge on June 19, 1864 off the coast of Cherbourg, France. This dynamic and panoramic painting depicts the Alabama, at the right of the canvas as she is taking on water, with the Kearsarge on the left making sure she is done for, eventually standing by to take on survivors. Although Smith served in the Union Navy during the Civil War, he relied on first-hand published accounts in completing this picture including those of Confederate Captain Raphael Semmes and the captain of the Union vessel, John Winslow.

    This monumental encounter is captured by Xanthus Smith in minute detail. His use of the small canvas in successfully achieving a lifelike image of the ships, the sea and the ferocious battle made him famous in his own time, much sought after for his Civil War naval scenes.

    The CSS Alabama had been marauding Northern shipping for two years when it made its way to the relative safety of European waters for much-needed repairs. Always on the hunt for the rebel raider, the USS Kearsarge learned of the Alabama being docked at Cherbourg and gave chase, setting up at the port to await Alabama's exit. On June 19, 1864, escorted by a neutral French ironclad Couronne, the Alabama entered international waters where it engaged the Kearsarge. Although the Alabama's shells found their mark on several occasions, the superior gunnery of the Kearsarge and the deterioration of the Alabama's weaponry turned the tide of battle in favor of the Union ship, a point of battle depicted here by Smith.


    ERRATUM
    The following provenance information was not included in the printed catalogue. Heritage regrets any confusion this may have caused.

    Provenance:
    From a private collection other than the Crow Art Partnership


    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2007
    13th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 830

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    This item cannot be shipped using standard methods. Please contact us for more information. Sales Tax information

    Important information concerning Sales Tax and Resale Certificates. Learn More

    Terms and Conditions  |  Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments |  Glossary of Terms

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2019 November 22 Ethnographic Art American Indian, Pre-Columbian and Tribal Art Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    I was very pleased with the results and with the professionalism of Alissa and Heritage Auctions! I will definitely auction with them again.
    Phyllis R.,
    Laramie, WY
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2014 November 21 Tiffany, Lalique & Art Glass Signature Auction
    2014 November 21 Tiffany, Lalique & Art Glass Signature Auction
    REALIZED $1,441,296
    2014 November 17 American Art Signature Auction
    2014 November 17 American Art Signature Auction
    REALIZED $6,712,638
    2014 November 14 American Indian Art , Pre-Columbian, & Tribal Art Signature Auction
    2014 Nov 14 American Indian Art, Pre-Columbian & Tribal Art Auction
    REALIZED $441,524
    2014 November 8 Modern & Contemporary Art Signature Auction
    2014 November 8 Modern & Contemporary Art Signature Auction
    REALIZED $5,683,719
    2014 November 6 Silver & Vertu Signature Auction
    2014 November 6 Silver & Vertu Signature Auction
    REALIZED $439,980
    2014 October 18 The Belo Collection of Texas Art Signature Auction
    2014 October 18 The Belo Collection of Texas Art Signature Auction
    REALIZED $624,835
    2014 October 16 Photographs Signature Auction
    2014 October 16 Photographs Signature Auction
    REALIZED $824,108
    2014 September 28 Nature & Science Signature Auction
    2014 September 28 Nature & Science Signature Auction
    REALIZED $1,089,341
    2014 Sept 13-14 Gentleman Collector Signature Estate Auction
    2014 Sept 13-14 Gentleman Collector Signature Estate Auction
    REALIZED $1,725,292
    2019 April 23 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 April 23 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $2,477,033