A wooden-walled merchant ship sails a breathtaking sea in this Montague Dawson masterwork. Alone on the dramatic water, the clipper is likely headed home to England, as it appears her hold is riding deep enough with cargo to wash the deck scuppers clean. Dawson's principle focus was clearly on this ocean, its layers of colors and his attentive touches which are fascinating to examine up close, with his different methods and tools of application. It excels from a distance as well with the composition of the rise and swell of the currents. The illumination effect created is majestic.
Painted later in his career, considered the high period of his art, the emotional context of the scene drives the composition. It is a notch rare for Dawson to not include some historic detail in a painting and focus solely on such intangibles of beauty of atmosphere and setting. It's our fortune that he did, for this is a superior example of his artistry.
Work by the artist continues to be in great demand. Those which contain the dramatic sky and active sea conditions present in this painting are highly desirable. Although printed records about Dawson's work offer little clue to the ship portrayed in this painting, we can confidently assume the artist would have had a specific subject in mind. Foremost Dawson said that he painted for enjoyment, to live "in that moment of time" which he so expertly portrays on canvas.
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