A proud yacht owner's active narrative portrait of his new racing vessel, this oil painting was composed by A. Cary Smith for his friend, Commodore William A.W. Stewart of the Seawanhaka Yacht Club of New York. Stewart, a true Corinthian yachtsman and insurance lawyer of New York City, had just acquired the famous sailing cutter MAGGIE from George H. Warren of Southampton, who owned and raced her successfully in American waters since 1882. Prior, Stewart owned and raced the Schooners NETTIE, FANNY and the Sloop REGINA. MAGGIE here slices past a catboat schooner and several others.
MAGGIE, a 45' cutter of exceptional speed, was built by D.G. Hatcher of Southampton in 1874, and was one of the first cutters to inspire artist and yachting architect A.C. Smith to develop the composite cutter than would prove so successful in America and lead to ending the dominance of the big schooners. Smith captained his first, VALKYR in the Seawanhaka Corinthian Regatta of 1882, competing while serving as the official measurer for the club, sailing against Commodore Stewart in FANNY. Tragedy would later strike in 1888 when Stewart and all hands onboard his big 87' British cruising yawl CYTHERA went missing in an Atlantic crossing.
Smith held to traditional marine art sensibilities, and was well versed in the Liverpool tradition of green seas and skies heavy with atmosphere and clouds. As a designer and a professional sailor, he knew every aspect of the racing yachts. This sets his vessels as the shining subjects of his paintings, and MAGGIE is a bright example. This canvas is among the largest we've notice by the artist, and was prized by both Commodore Stewart, and his grandson named after him, who would be an officer of the New York Yacht Club for 10 years, become commodore in 1936,and was a instrumental figure in international yacht racing and the America's Cup in the early 20th Century.
Provenance: Commodore William A.W. Stewart, Seawanhaka Yacht Club, 1880-88;
Commodore William A.W. Stewart II, New York Yacht Club, 1936-38.
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