Whaler off the Vineyard – Outward Bound

Media - 1978.72 - SAAM-1978.72_4 - 128231
Copied William Bradford, Whaler off the Vineyard--Outward Bound, 1859, oil on fiberboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase, 1978.72
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Artwork Details

Title
Whaler off the Vineyard – Outward Bound
Date
1859
Dimensions
1624 in. (40.761.0 cm)
Credit Line
Museum purchase
Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on fiberboard
Classifications
Keywords
  • Occupation — industry — fishing
  • Waterscape — sea — Atlantic Ocean
  • Architecture — boat — sailing ship
  • Landscape — Massachusetts — Martha’s Vineyard
Object Number
1978.72

Artwork Description

William Bradford is best known for his paintings of the Arctic, but his early work focused on the ships of New England. He grew up near New Bedford, Massachusetts, which was home to a successful whaling industry. In this image, he painted a large whaling ship with a smaller schooner sailing in the foreground, and the cliffs of Gay Head, Martha's Vineyard, in the background. This area was the standard route for whalers entering and leaving the port of New Bedford. Bradford emphasized the smallest details in this sweeping seascape, from the ripples in the sails to the suspenders on the sailors.

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