A tranquil view of an American northeast beach, it is a work which wins over with its immediate charm and subtle grace. Five locals enjoy their outing beneath and near the beach parasol, while a pair of eastern schooners enjoy the fine weather off the coast. A less fortunate ship is remembered only because its rib-timbers remain beached beyond the shore break.
Silva strove to paint an overall composition in which to express a sense of relaxed enjoyment, perfecting the content with subtle manipulation of soft light and bare touches of an emerging luminous atmosphere. These qualities often set his paintings apart from other artists. He would travel extensively along the eastern seaboard in search of inspirational subjects. Note the care he used to portray the wind-driven ships in balance to the beach subjects.
The self-taught Silva was skilled at both oil and watercolor. He was elected to the American Watercolor Society in 1872 and he exhibited annually in the Society’s show. This painting was not only in the 1883 exhibition, but it was his choice of the nine he entered to be illustrated in the exhibition catalog. The paintings from the last decade of his career are widely recognized as belonging to a superior American period artist.
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