In her original grey livery, the newly launched Schooner AMERICA has joined in race with the sloop MARIA off the famous Battery Headland of New York. MARIA, a sloop owned by John C. Stevens, has left her New York Yacht Club anchorage to defend her title of the moment as the fastest yacht in America. In the sheltered harbor course, she did so, but the trial of AMERICA showed the brilliance of George Steers’ design, and William H. Brown, her builder, sold AMERICA to the famous syndicate led by George E. Schuyler and Stevens.
The painting is a masterwork by Couch, with superb, light, shadow and drama. The depiction of the sea is a superior presentation. With inspection, the layers of exacting work are revealed, but blend to a naturally beautiful composition. Couch exhibits a technical detail that is top quality and his artistic vision makes this painting a historic record of inspiration for all aspects of the yacht building.
AMERICA of course goes on to make history in her transatlantic crossing and race with the British Royal Yacht Squadron on August 31, 1851. In her May 14, 15 & 16 competitions with MARIA, AMERICA still had some quirks to work out as is common with new boats of all type. MARIA, modeled on North River sloops, was Commodore J.C. Stevens flagship for the N.Y.Y.C. from 1846 to 1854, and then was flagship under his brother, Edwin A. Stevens, from 1859 to 1865. Both proven winners and presented expertly here..
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