In this atmospheric Maine harbor view, the grey tone of the fog enveloping the sea and sky lend an air of realism to a striking composition. Granite and green are the colors of the Maine Coast, and here, George Hathaway shows a familiarity with his New England roots. The harbor is likely Portland, a favored location of the artist which he portrayed in many of his works. The composition depicts an overcast sky and flat water enshrouding an arriving white-hulled bark. The bark has every stitch of canvas set to catch any whisper of wind in the calm inner harbor.
A Portland “Black Stack” tug, with a crewman ready at the bow holding a heaving line, makes its way alongside to assist maneuvering the bark to her anchorage. In the busy harbor, a schooner’s topsails rise out of the mist off the bark’s starboard beam and a second downeaster trails in the bark’s wake. In the left foreground, a dangerous “snag” in the form of a single protruding dock piling, illustrates an ever-present reminder to keep a sharp lookout.
In his native Maine, Hathaway was well recognized for his eloquent views of the Maine coast, and this lovely composition is one of the very best examples of his work we have ever come across. The primary vessel is nicely detailed, with her “catted” anchor ready to be “let go” and accurate portrayal of the prominent rows of deadeyes anchoring the mast shrouds. The bark is “in ballast”, riding high on her lines having not yet taken on a cargo. The overall coloration is a soft study in marine mood, muting the overall effect and nicely highlighting the subject vessels.
This is a fine marine work and should be considered for its acute realism and exquisite coloration.
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