A striking portrait of a very large American sidewheel paddle steamer on her maiden voyage from New York to Mobile, Alabama, and on from there to Havana, Cuba. The BLACK WARRIOR began the voyage in her home port of New York City. Bard has undoubtedly painted her in concert with either her listed builder, William Collyer of New York, whose name is included by the artist on the canvas, or the owners, Livingston, Crocheron & Co. Launched in 1852, the line soon moved its southern base to New Orleans, establishing a foothold in a region soon in direct competition with the Vanderbilt and Morgan families.
Her deep luster coloration is expertly portrayed by Bard. He has used draftsmanship in composing the full outline of the steam/sail transition vessel, and then worked in painstaking detail to apply every touch of oil, down to the pointillist-style of the water’s wake against the hull and the top of the ocean swells. The brooding sky colors compliment the impressive heavy sense of the 1556-ton steam/sail paddlewheeler, with the flags brightly displayed before the clouded sky. Several gentlemen sailors are visible on deck, attending to the coast-wise Atlantic journey. With the placement of the American Government’s streaming pennant at the main mast top, undoubtedly this included mail to the South, and possibly return news of the recent Gold Boom in California. She would stay on this route until a snow squall off Rockaway, Long Island put her aground on Feb. 20, 1859.
Full Artist Inscription LL: Steam Ship Black Warrior Built By WM Collyer N.Y. 1852
Signed LR: Picture Drawn & Painted By James Bard, 688 Washington St. N.Y.
Provenance: Collection of Elwin M. Eldredge; Mariners Museum of Newport News, Virginia
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