A large West Coast merchant barkentine, KOHALA sailed into the 20TH Century from the Bendixsen Shipbuilding Company of Fairhaven, California under the management of Hind, Rolph & Co. of San Francisco. Patterson caught up with the four-master 26 years after she launched in 1901 and painted a beautiful narrative portrait of her sailing off the California Coast. She had just sold to Robert D. Blackman of Hermosa Beach, and would spend her remaining days fishing the waters near her home port, San Diego, Santa Monica and the Hawaiian Islands until she mistakenly sunk by American bombers on Christmas Day, 1941 off Redondo Beach!
This painting is perfect in compositional scale, with the barkentine riding high and a crew members aloft setting the fore mast sails. Higher still, the American Flag tops her merchant code identity after she has left port. First primarily in the West Coast lumber trade, she quickly established herself on a cargo route to Hawaii from San Francisco, and is named after the North Shore and volcano of the Big Island itself.
Patterson depicts a bright day for sailing, and the subtle outline of the California headland with his usual flashes of small yet extreme coloration in his blue Pacific water. Distance softens the heights, and the open sky has wisps of a new future for the sailing vessel and her new owner, commemorated on its original presentation plaque directly from the artist.
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