Born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1850 to a family of violin makers, Jacobsen emigrated to the United States in 1871. By 1880, he was living in West Hoboken, New Jersey, on the palisades above the "City of Ships". It was here that he established himself as a successful ship's portraitist.
Jacobsen is recognized as the American artist who most successfully recorded the important transitional era of sailing vessels as they evolved from sail to steam. This in large part was due to the timely placement of his studio at the mouth of the New York Harbor.
Paintings by Antonio Jacobsen display a meticulous and traditional nature underlined by strict attention to detail. Absolute accuracy in rigging, wind direction and specific vessel details contribute to Jacobsen's paintings' reputation as the best of their genre. Any marine collection of note features the work of this pivotal artist.
Works by Antonio Jacobsen are in the Permanent Collections of:
Peabody Museum of Salem, Massachusetts
Mariner's Museum, Newport News, Virginia
Maine Maritime Museum, Bath, Maine
Among Other Important Public and Private Collections
This portrait shows the 324’4” steam-sail cargo and passenger liner in her commercial glory with passengers on deck, en route to Venezuela, as indicated by the national flag on the fore mast. Built by William Cramp & Sons, the ship’s primary owner was the Dallett family of Philadelphia, explaining the red “d” house flag and company nickname. John Dallett struck a deal with Venezuelan merchant John Boulton, and founded the company in 1820. Their partnership expanded to government contracts and lasted 119 years, the longest running merchant shipping line in American maritime history. She would fill primarily with coffee for the return voyage to New York.
The artist has portrayed Venezuela raked with speed through the deep troughs of the central Atlantic Ocean, with her flags prominent, sails full and just a suggested puff of coal-burned steam. The horizon line holds to the tall swells, and the pilot jack on the bow indicates that Jacobsen has her close to arriving at the Port of Maracaibo in the Gulf of Venezuela.
Provenance: Mariner’s Museum, Newport News, Virginia
Signed with Jacobsen’s 705 Palisade Av., West Hoboken, New Jersey Address.
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