Considered one of the finest watercolors painted by the renown marine artist, the sidewheel steamship KAATERSKILL is presented in this painting by James Bard. A stark white beauty, the headland elevation of green hills sets the painting off, with cloud wisps overhead. The elaborate paddlebox is painstakingly detailed, and every ship detail shown is complementary.
Built in Athens, New York by Van Loon & Magee for the New York, Catskill & Athens Steamboat Company in 1882, she flies her house flag, several national ensigns, streaming American pennants, and her name flag and pennant. the large United States ensign behind her name banner. She held 125 staterooms and 150 cabin berths, for luxurious comfort transporting vacationers to the Catskill resorts. Four other lines would own her before she was used and intentionally burnt while filming a motion picture in 1914.
This work is excellent. No less an authority than the author of the definitive book on James Bard, Anthony Peluso, writes "he reached the highest level of his craft in SARATOGA and KAATERSKILL." By this period Bard had moved almost exclusively to the more demanding gouache media, and had evolved the human presence out of his paintings, so there would be less distraction to the beauty of the steam ships. He painted at least three other watercolors of this ship in addition to this portrait; they reside in the collections of the Mariners' Museum in Newport News, Virginia, the Huntington Library Collection in San Marino, California, and the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont.
Provenance: Private New York Collection.
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