Painting

All About Sailing in Painting

Magda Michalska 20 August 2019 min Read

I’ve sailed only once or twice in my whole life but I can still remember the empowering feeling of liberation that I felt when on the water. Sailing and sailboats have been a common topic taken up by many artists across decades and countries in painting. Let’s sail with them, bon voyage!

1. On Board with Friedrich

Sailing in Painting: Caspar David Friedrich, On Board of a Sailing Ship, 1820, Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Sailing in Painting: Caspar David Friedrich, On Board of a Sailing Ship, 1820, Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Has this scene filled with light surprised you? Well, in the end, Friedrich is associated more with grey tones and lonely travelers…

2. Renoir’s Sailboats

Sailing in Painting
Sailing in Painting: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Sailboats at Argenteuil, 1874, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME, USA.

Some people say that Renoir didn’t know how to paint. Well, I think that works like this one defy this argument, don’t you think?

3. Sea Trip with Courbet

Sailing in Painting: Gustave Courbet, The White Sail, 1877, private collection. WikiArt.

Gustave Courbet might be well-known for his provocative works like the Origin of the world, but in fact, he was a great landscape painter who loved painting water and rocks.

4. Twatchman’s Sunny Vibes

Sailing in Painting: John Henry Twachtman, Fog and Small Sailboats, c.1900, private collection. WikiArt.

When days get to sunny article features another work by J.H. Twatchman. Have a read!

5. Kandinsky’s Folk Sail

Sailing in Painting: Wassily Kandinsky, The Golden Sail, 1903, Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany.

This woodblock print by Wassily Kandinsky is inspired by the folk art from his native Russian Empire.

6. Sail like a Fauve with Vlaminck

Sailing in Painting
Sailing in Painting: Maurice de Vlaminck, White sailboat at Chatou, 1907, private collection.

Maurice de Vlaminck was a member of the Fauves together with Henri Matisse and André Derain.

7. Provocative Trips with Kokoschka

Sailing in Painting: Oskar Kokoschka, The Sailboat, 1908, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA.

This woodblock print was part of the printed book for children that Oskar Kokoschka made. Yet, it turned out to be very provocative… Why? Read here.

8. Dufy’s Coast City

Sailing in Painting: Raoul Dufy, Sailboat at Sainte-Adresse, 1912, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA.

Raoul Dufy was yet another Fauvist and I feel there is going to be an article about him one day here!

9. Abstract Sails by Klee

Sailing in Painting
Sailing in Painting: Paul Klee, Harbour with sailing ships, 1937, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris, France.

Paul Klee liked studying the shapes of well-known objects and natural phenomena.

Lichtenstein’s Sea Impasto

Sailing in Painting: Roy Lichtenstein, Sailboats, 1985, Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO, USA. WikiArt.

Lichtenstein and landscapes? Might seem surprising but he was actually a way more comprehensive artist than we think…

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