Artist Franklyn Bassford came naturally to marine art, and was a prominent participant with the famous lithography house of Currier & Ives, painting original works of racing yachts. One of his first known canvases for this company was a scene of the classic Americaâs Cup 1885 match of PURITAN and GENESTA, his initial year with the firm. His images are full of the suggestive dramatic excitement yacht racing inspired, and continues to invoke, in its audiences.
Born in New York, Bassford is on record as having performed direct commissions for prominent yachtsmen of the era. He was on hand to directly record the important challenges for the Americaâs Cup in late 1880s. Records survive that he painted direct commissions, and one acrimonious effort- a portrait of a New York Yacht Club memberâs Yacht HILDEGARD -ended up in a legal dispute, so we know that he was charging $500 at that time, a respectful amount for a commission in his day.
Bassfordâs life story ended tragically, as he inexplicably expanded into an effort to build a vapor steam launch for a client in 1897; this on the heels of his authorship of some well regarded articles on model yachts in âOuting Magazineâ. On reviewing the unfinished vessel dockside on the Hudson at Communipaw, New Jersey, he scribbled his final words, âthoroughly discouragedâ and ended his life. To what heights his art would have rose to in his lifetime, it has, with merit, surpassed today.
At Least Six Original Paintings by Franklyn Bassford were known to have been lithographed by the Currier & Ives Firm, and undoubtably more exist without full and proper credit to the artist.