A serene and beautiful view of the untouched magnificence of early Hawaii, this painting by Strong featured the environmental purity of the islands more than a century ago. Rising over the scene, the universally recognized shape of Diamond Head Crater is rugged and unpopulated, only the smallest output of human buildings in view at its coastal shore, which by this time included a half-century old whaling station. Blue, clean and pristine, the Hawaiian man begins to launch his outrigger vessel into the surf.
Works of Hawaii by Western artists do not get any rarer than a scene of 1884 in Honolulu. Strong was directly commissioned to paint such works for the Spreckels Sugar and Shipping interests in part to promote the islands, and this particular work found its way to a Connecticut Estate, most likely as a family gift to one of his father’s relative back home. It was discovered in a New Haven basement when a house recently sold.
The sense of flora and open wilderness beneath soft sunshine makes this a pleasant and highly desired depiction of Hawaii as originally encountered.
Provenance: Private New Haven, Connecticut Collection.
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