Captured by the esteemed Edward Moran, the premier painter of idyllic scenes of activity in and around New York Harbor, a youthful pair contemplate the day, the catch and possibly their futures along a dock situated above the water. Performed in a touching manner by featuring the youngsters, the pier top holds enough detailed objects to qualify as a still life of objects by itself: a picnic basket lunch, a pail, some carved bait and the texture of the wooden structure and boat all complement the couple. The heavy atmosphere has a cooling effect on the overall emotion of the scene, as does the thoughtful looks of introspection worn by both the boy and girl. Moran allows just enough light to filter on the water to make it glisten and the subjects stand forth.
Moran spent many of his professional days along New York’s harbor, and painted scenes which go beyond the work of the period’s traditional marine artists. Even at this distance he presents an accurate depiction of the buildings across the way and a schooner at anchor. Most likely this is near the artist’s East Hampton 19th Century home. It is possible that these are two people from the large extended Moran family living there.
The moment’s quiet echoes forth from the canvas, and holds hopeful for their futures and the possibility of landing a prize fishing catch. Moran was content to immortalize them in this pleasant vignette of historic New York.
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