1895-1973 | British
The Boundless Ocean - The South Australian
Signed “Montague Dawson” (lower left)
Oil on canvas
Montague Dawson demonstrates his skill for capturing the dynamism of the seas in this oil on canvas. Entitled The Boundless Ocean, the work brings vividly to life the historic clipper ship South Australian as it battles the waves on the open sea. Dawson, arguably the most important maritime painter of his generation, possessed an incomparable talent for rendering ships at sea with an energy and vitality that was unparalleled. The speed and grace of these historic ships is perfectly realized in the present work, enhanced by Dawson's mastery over composition. Depicted against the might of the ocean, the sailing vessel South Australian appears to rise up on the waves as it glides effortlessly through the water.
Launched in 1868, the clipper ship South Australian was so named because she voyaged each year between London and South Australia. The ship ran the route for over 20 years, before she was sold to William J. Woodside of Belfast in 1887, after which she carried cargo between India and New Brunswick. Just two years later she ran into a gale and sank off the coast of Lundy Island; her cargo from that fateful trip was discovered in the Bristol Channel in 1986. Dawson's powerful composition captures the ship at full sail and the height of her glory, battling the white-capped waves on a brilliant day at sea.
The son of a keen yachtsman and grandson of marine painter Henry Dawson, Montague Dawson spent much of his childhood on the Southampton Water, where he was able to indulge his interest in the study of ships. Naturally gifted at drawing and painting, the self-taught Dawson became a member of an art studio group in Bedford Row, London. By the age of 15, he was working on posters and illustrations to earn a living. For a brief period around 1910, Dawson worked for a commercial art studio in London, but with the outbreak of World War I, he joined the Royal Navy. Dawson was present at the final surrender of the German Grand Fleet, and many of his illustrations depicting the event were published in The Sphere.
After the War, Dawson established himself as a professional marine artist, concentrating on historical subjects and portraits of deep-water sailing ships. During the Second World War, he was employed as a war artist and again worked for The Sphere. Dawson exhibited regularly at the Royal Society of Marine Artists and the Royal Academy from 1917 to 1936. By the 1930s, he was considered the greatest living marine painter. His patrons included two American Presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson, as well as the British Royal Family.
Canvas: 20" high x 24" wide
Frame: 26 1/4" high x 30 1/4" wide