A format size that the artist favored for personal works, rather than the large clipper portraits and yacht commissions performed on canvas for owners and captains, this horizontal yacht race scene holds the elements that collector's seek in his dramatic paintings. Straight from the later half of the 19th Century, several yachts compete in a formal event, and clues exist to lead us to believe that this may well be a depiction of the 1870 first defense of the America's Cup, a scene Buttersworth did paint. While the primary focus on the central schooner shows a pennant with red-blue mix, eluding to the New York Yacht Club Burgee, the rest of the schooners are red topped, with a solitary blue top on the racing sloop near the buoy mark. Is this CAMBRIA, running with the eventual winner MAGIC, and the black-hull schooner with crew in blue suits, AMERICA herself?
Club regatta or Cup Race, this is a "little gem" to directly quote gallery director Joe Vallejo. Diminutive, the ocean still has complex detail to its shape and movement. The horizon holds the warm glow with the best of Buttersworth's light qualities, and the yachts are presented from striking rich detail to the suggestive essence of the four yachts at the farthest off distance.
A nice bonus to this painting is that it is still in its original American frame, which has been regilded for another century of artistic presentation.
Provenance: Private New Jersey Collection.
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