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Blue Sail Fleet Returns

after 1949 Earl Cunningham Born: Edgecomb, Maine 1893 Died: St. Augustine, Florida 1977 oil on fiberboard 16 1/2 x 36 1/4 in. (41.8 x 92.1 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Mennello 1988.64 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 23B


Luce Center Label

Earl Cunningham painted more than four hundred images of the sea, based on his memories of voyages up and down the East Coast. Blue Sail Fleet Returns does not show an actual location, but rather a combination of real and imaginary elements. He created a fantasy world with purple water, orange trees, and birds as large as a house, and may have included himself as one of the tiny fishermen on the pier. The sea represented freedom to Cunningham, and one of his dreams was to own a houseboat so he could live permanently on the water ("Earl Cunningham's American Eden," Gary Schwan, The Palm Beach Post, 1994, Chuck and Jan Rosenak research material, 1990-1999, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution).

Keywords

Animal - bird

Architecture - boat - sailing ship

Waterscape - harbor

Waterscape - time - sunset

painting

folk art

paint - oil

fiberboard

About Earl Cunningham

Born: Edgecomb, Maine 1893 Died: St. Augustine, Florida 1977

More works in the collection by
Earl Cunningham