Sailing on the Great Lakes in the late 19th century included yacht races with all the drama and excitement of their East Coast counterparts. Occasionally, yachtsmen from the eastern seaboard sent their yachts via the Erie Canal to compete with the Midwest fleets. Chicago artist William Torgerson was one of the most adept at capturing the vessels that competed in these land locked sailing matches.
Central to this well balanced composition is an elegant schooner yacht, reaching on port tack with every sail of her powerful rig full and drawing, leading a fleet of less able competitors. An unidentified yacht club burgee and her owner's private signal fly from her topmasts. Dominating her sail compliment are a huge fisherman staysail, billowing out between her topsails and a massive inner jib, much larger than those set on the trailing vessels.
Torgerson skillfully captures the illusory feel of the wind as both the powerful force driving the yacht and the atmospheric influence on the sea and sky. The clouds seem to move across the heavens and the translucent foreground sea is animated and lively, giving the painting a strong sense of motion and realism.
first name :