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!

On Board with Friedrich

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 travellers...

Renoir's Sailboats

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

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?

Sea Trip with Courbet

Gustave Courbet, The White Sail, 1877, private collection.

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.

Twatchman's Sunny Vibes

John Henry Twachtman, Fog and Small Sailboats, c.1900, private collection.

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

Kandinsky's Folk Sail

Wassily Kandinsky, The Golden Sail, 1903, Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany.

This woodblock print by Kandinsky is inspired by the folk art from his native Russian Empire, the inspiration you read about here.

Sail Like a Fauve with Vlaminck

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

Vlaminck was the member of the Fauves together with Henri Matisse and Andre Derain.

Provocative Trips with Kokoschka

Oskar Kokoschka, The Sailboat, 1908, Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY, US.

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

Dufy's Coast City

Raoul Dufy, Sailboat at Sainte-Adresse, 1912, Museum of Modern Art, New York City, US.

Dufy was a yet another Fauvist and I feel I'm going to write an article about him very soon!

Abstract Sails by Klee

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

Klee liked studying shapes of well-known objects and natural phenomena. How about some autumn vibes?

Lichtenstein's Sea Impasto

Roy Lichtenstein, Sailboats, 1985, Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO, US.

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