NEW YORK, Oct. 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Rehs Galleries Inc., a New York gallery specializing in 19th and 20th-century European and American works of art, announced their recent acquisition of Montague Dawson’s Red Jacket on Open Seas.
Montague Dawson, who today is considered by many in the art world to be the most important British marine artist of his time, showed artistic talent early in his life. By age fifteen, he was working for a commercial art studio in Bedford Row, London, but his career path was interrupted by the onset of World War I. He enlisted in the Navy, and his ability to draw, along with an intimate knowledge of ships, led his superiors to assign him the duty of visually recording the war at sea. Many of these drawings became illustrations in the weekly newspaper, The Sphere.
After the war, he continued his artistic path, and by 1926 he began a lifelong relationship with the British art dealers Frost & Reed. In the 1930s, as his reputation flourished, he moved from London to Milford on Sea, where he would remain for the rest of his life.
Dawson favored images of historically important naval events and sailing ships, often capturing the latter on high seas in stiff breezes. The Red Jacket, one of the great nineteenth-century American clipper ships, was a vessel that continued to intrigue him throughout his career, and he created several paintings featuring the ship. She was built for speed and, to this day, is still one of only ten ships that could travel 400 nautical miles in a single day.
Red Jacket in Open Seas was originally purchased by Robert and Mildred Gilfillan, who lived in Nairobi. Robert was the only full-time American businessman in Kenya for much of the early 20th century, helping import American foods and liquors to the country. Robert died in 1968, while Mildred moved back to the United States. She settled in Massachusetts, with the painting remaining in her possession until she passed away in 1992, at which point it went to her niece.
Director Howard Rehs commented, “Over the years, we have been offered many works by Dawson; however, more than a few have suffered over time. Since a work’s condition is very important to us, we have only had the pleasure of handling about a dozen works by the artist. When I first saw images of Red Jacket in Open Seas, I was very impressed, dug a bit deeper into its condition, and purchased the painting.” Upon its arrival, the gallery’s staff could confirm that the painting was in outstanding condition; all it needed was a light cleaning. Mr. Rehs went on to say: “Back in 2018, we had the pleasure of selling Dawson’s The Lightning on Pacific Rollers, then in 2021, we sold his Lightning and Red Jacket (with Red Jacket in the distance). The story goes that Lightning left Boston on February 18, 1854, heading to Liverpool. The following day, Red Jacket left New York, heading for Liverpool. The two ships entered Liverpool harbor on March 4; however, Red Jacket beat Lightning by 18 hours. She set the speed record for ships sailing across the Atlantic Ocean. Now we have one of his finest works featuring Red Jacket.”
Red Jacket on Open Seas will be featured at several upcoming fairs and show the gallery participates in.
Rehs Galleries Inc. is, along with its principals, considered one of the world’s leading dealers of 19th and early 20th-century European paintings and is currently involved in the catalogue raisonné research projects for Daniel Ridgway Knight, Julien Dupré, Emile Munier, and Antoine Blanchard. Howard Rehs was a past president of the Fine Art Dealers Association, is currently on the Board of the Antiques Council, and has been a member of the Internal Revenue Service’s Art Advisory Panel since 2008.
SOURCE Rehs Galleries, Inc.