• Gerald Sargent Foster, Racing, 1934, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1965.18.9

Exhibition Label
With exhilarating speed yachts sweep across the choppy waters of Long Island Sound, the water foaming white against their hulls. In the foreground, three small Atlantic-class boats lean precariously to stay on the course of their race. In the middle ground, a pair of larger craft catch the wind in bellying spinnakers as they sail in nearly the opposite direction.

Artist Gerald Sargent Foster, an avid yachtsman, often depicted yacht races. He knew every rope and spar of these boats, but minimized such technical details to avoid distracting the eye from the clean geometric shapes that dominate the painting. The artist repeated and overlapped the streamlined hulls and taut sails of the boats, creating an elegant pattern silhouetted against blue sky and water. Yet the geometry is not cool and detached—every line and color speaks of the keen excitement of yacht racing. Even in the teeth of the Depression, this sport of New York's wealthy continued to be popular.

1934: A New Deal for Artists exhibition label

Not on view
22 1/8 x 34 1/8 in. (56.2 x 86.6 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Transfer from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service

Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Architecture – boat – sailboat
  • Recreation – sport and play – boating
  • Waterscape – boat
  • Recreation – sport and play – racing
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI