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    Description

    Xanthus Smith (American, 1839-1929)

    United States Steamer Kearsage Leaving Boston Harbor
    1869
    Oil on canvas
    Signed bottom right Xanthus Smith, 1869
    7-3/4 x 11-3/4 inches (19.7 x 29.8 cm)


    Xanthus Smith served in the Union Navy during the Civil War as a ship's clerk, a perfect vantage point for seeing warships and action up close. He made sketches of what he saw, later transferring the images onto canvas in small scale in order to capture the intimate details of the majestic ships that, like him, became so famous.

    The USS Kearsarge was one of the most famous gunboats in the Union Navy. Its destruction of the Confederate ship CSS Alabama in the English Channel made it a legend. Technically a Mohican-class 'sloop-of-war', the 1550-ton steamship was commissioned at the Portsmouth Naval Yard in response to the outbreak of the Civil War. It searched for Confederate ships throughout the coast of Europe where the raiders were sinking Union ships at a prolific rate, especially the steamer CSS Alabama. On June 14, 1864 the Kearsarge found the Alabama at the French port of Cherbourg and sank her five days later in one of the most famous naval battles of the Civil War.

    Xanthus Smith depicts the Kearsarge's glorious return to sea out of Boston Harbor after the ship had returned to the United States for repairs the next year. The white sails are full; the naval ensign flying proudly as she gallantly sails out to sea to chase Confederate shipping until the close of the Civil War. The ship served gallantly around the world until it sunk after striking a reef off Nicaragua in 1894. Smith went on to be regarded as the premier naval artist of the Civil War. Known for his portraiture art as well, he is most revered for works such as this, ones that memorialize the proud ships that served both North and South.

    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: 693

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