American School (19th Century) Antique Folk Nautical Painting of Ships


Attributed in graphite on rear stretchers to Solomon Rice (New York, b. 1826)

Item # 1401BSG24PP

This is an absolutely delightful folk art painting of the American School circa the last quarter of the 19th Century. A bright and cheery work, it captures the activity of a harbor busy with steam boats, a large tri-masted ship and smaller sailing boats as they make their way out to open waters. It is a highly striking piece, most pointedly due to the unrealistic and almost bizarre perspective employed in the work - the cast of the shadows and bend of the architecture is almost suggestive of a wide-angle lens. Little regard is shown for proportional representation, creating a "miniaturization" effect in the sailing vessels that is truly surreal. The depth of color and warmth of tone in the water is in significant contrast to the cloudy pale of the sky, certainly contributing to the overall dreamy nostalgia of the work.

In nearly untouched condition, the work retains it's original lining and stretchers - the top stretcher bar is inscribed in graphite on the top right "Picture by Solomon Rice, Delhi, NY circa 1895". It almost certainly refers to Solomon Rice born in Hartford, Connecticut on September 23rd, 1826 - Solomon Rice later moved to Delhi, NY where he held various offices of trust in the village prior to serving in the Independent Battery as a First Lieutenant at age thirty-five for a period of three years. After his service, he is noted as a "sign and decorative painter with a store on Main Street well stocked with the goods of his trade" [Morrison, p. 169]. Please note that we cannot verify that this inscription is in his hand or is accurate; it is a quite early and faded inscription, but subject to inaccuracy nonetheless.

This is certainly a very fine selection for any collector of American School works of art, particularly collectors passionate about nautical and marine antique paintings.


New York in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-65, Vol. II, Phisterer

History of Delaware County, New York, W.E. Morrison, 1880

Measurements: [frame] 24" x 18 1/8"; [canvas] 20 1/8" x 14"

Condition Report: [UNDER UV] small vertical line of inpainting in the water; very minor spot touch-ups here and there in water, perhaps 2-5% of surface. [REGULAR LIGHT] Light craquelure dancing across entire surface, some tiny spots of paint chip/loss, painting in nearly untouched condition. Surface varnish dirty and matte in some areas - it will certainly be much more vibrant if it is professionally cleaned. Seven specks in the sky along with other faint scattered specks. A faint surface "scratch" (very shallow, possibly isolated to the varnish) in the lower-middle. Original stretchers and lining; the frame is probably original to the painting, the edges with chipping and some regilding. Highly attractive.

Item ID: 1401BSG24PP

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Silla Fine Antiques

Silla Fine Antiques, Shippensburg, PA   

Period American Furniture, French Furnishings, Fine Nineteenth Century Art and Sculpture

Ruby Lane Shop Rating
Silver Rating Silver
Member since 2013

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