Highlighted by a glowing sunset, this epic panoramic view of San Francisco Bay is a premier work of marine art by William A. Coulter. One of his favorite perspectives, he revisited this setting over the decades, capturing the arrival of different important sailing ships while making a pictorial time line of the changes to the surrounding headlands. In this fine work, Coulter has centrally placed one of the great sailing ships still carrying on into the early 20th Century, the Clipper GLORY OF THE SEAS. The scene is further dressed with tug boats shown up close in good detail, a European-style fishing smack, schooners, and a liner at the Fort Mason dock.
Coulter, once a sailor, was a San Francisco artist with a significant number of works for publication to his credit. Paintings of this magnitude however, were commissioned by specific patrons. This work was undoubtably painted for the family of Walter Gibson, the president of the Matson Line and son-in-law to shipping baron John D. Spreckels. It passed down through this important San Francisco family ever since. It is strikingly similar to one of Coulter's famous Seamans Bank mural panels, "Coming Home", as were a significant number of other paintings. GLORY OF THE SEAS was built in 1869 by the renown Donald McKay of East Boston, and she'd prove to be his last - many would claim also the greatest - of the clippers he built, serving her final days in the waters of Alaska in the 1920s.
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