Lot 17James Edward Buttersworth
Yacht Racing Off Sandy Hook, circa 1877
Signed J. E. Buttersworth (lr)
Oil on canvas
20 1/8 x 36 inches
Quester Gallery, Stonington, CT
Yacht Racing Off Sandy Hook captures the drama of the June 14, 1877 annual regatta of the New York Yacht Club off Sandy Hook, New Jersey. Here, competing yachts unfurl their sails in a stiff breeze. At right center, identified by its blue and white private signal is the Active, the distinctive yacht of Frank W. J. Hurst, treasurer of the New York Yacht Club. The ship has already rounded the lightship permanently stationed at Sandy Hook (identifiable by a round lighting apparatus erected on a mast, one of two on each such vessel) just visible behind another craft in fast pursuit. Depicting the sole victory of the Active, this dramatic and splendid scene was likely commissioned by its skipper, a common practice among well-heeled sailors. To the extreme right in the distance are puffers, or spectator boats, on which fellow members could take passage to watch the dramatic race.
The sky is masterfully rendered in hues of plum, gray and blue, a splendid background for wind-filled sails. The dramatic regatta was notable for a black squall that quickly arose toward the end of the race. Vividly described in contemporary accounts, it nearly sank two larger yachts, the Wanderer and the Rambler.
C The Nelson Doubleday, Jr. Collection
Sold for $348,500
Unlined. Possible 1 inch tear or thinned canvas in sky at upper right with light inpaint and corresponding 1 1/2 x 1 inch patch on the reverse. A few scattered touches of inpaint in the sky at the upper right, approximately 1/4 x 1/4 inches. Very light strokes of inpaint near the upper left corner. Overall good condition.
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