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Sailboats in Moonlight by Edward Moran Ca 1885

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EDWARD MORAN

(1829-1901)
"Sailboats in Moonlight"
OIL ON LINEN Ca 1885

Oil on canvas                               19th Century             Signed Moran LL
Viewing area 17 1/2" L x 11 1/2"                                   Framed 25" x 19"

Presented is a classic nocturnal painting of a vessel sailing in moonlight off a peninsula with a lighthouse and four other sailing ships in the background. The vessel in the foreground may be a large yacht or a gaff headed sloop rigged smack (a fishing vessel) sailing on the port reach.


In our opinion, this painting is indicative of Edward Moran's much later work when his brush strokes became much broader. He began experimenting with “luminism“ early on. This work has many characteristics which are personal only to him. It reflects his preference for marine scenes, and also his interest in the properties of light and atmosphere at varying times of day and night. Edward, like his younger brother Thomas, was interested in the relationships between color and light. See the section on PROVENANCE below.
While the focus of this painting is the sailing vessel in the foreground, it is the brilliant contrast between light and dark, and the hazy rendition of the sailing vessels in the background horizon which are seen in many of his works and are his signature. These background vessels establish this paintings provenance.
 
Edward strived to capture the variations between light and air as is further illustrated on the horizon where the land mass is absorbed gently into the sky as are the ships to its left. The soft, muted colors of the moonlit sky feel almost real in this scene and the reflection of light cast upon the gentle sea reflects Edward's admiration of the atmosphere. On the lower left, it is signed Moran with the recognizable stylish tail of the right leg of the "M", that was particularly his own.

COMPARABLE PAINTING AT CHRISTIES: An excellent example, of his use of filtered light, hazy brush work, and the portrayal of mood over subject which became a characteristic trait of Moran's throughout the 1880s is found in this painting by Christies in September 2006 with an estimate of $30,000.00 to $50,000.00. It is signed and dated 1885. Note the similarities in the composition, the dark mood of the scene, the lighting and the type of vessel depicted. Since the painting being sold was done around the same time, we feel it means he was more on his game.

Artist Edward Moran (1829 - 1901) United States of America
Title Moonlight On The Water
Medium Oil on canvas
Size (H x W x D) 18 x 30 in / 45.7 x 76.2 cm
Signed Yes
Stamped No
Inscribed No
Dating 1885
Lot number 36
Auction time 12 September 2006
Auction house Christies – The United States: New York, Rockefeller Center
Estimated price 30,000 - 50,000 USD

 
CONDITION OF PAINTING AND FRAME: The carved wood gilted frame is original and dates to the 1860-1880's. It is a heavy and made from wood that was gilded and later over sprayed in gold. The condition of the painting is excellent, but it has been mounted on Masonite to repair a small tear that can only be seen under black light to the left of the mainsail leech of the boat in the foreground. Masonite was introduced to the market in 1924, but this piece is stenciled on the back, "Product of Masonite Research" which indicates it was still in the trial stage, and before being introduced to the public.

PROVENANCE AND LIMITED AUTHENTICATION: Sailboats in Moonlight was purchased at auction in 2007, put in our warehouse and forgotten until moved to our gallery in 2010 where it can be viewed. The selling New England auction house gave us no information other than it was found by a "picker" in the South. Shortly after its purchase, we contacted two experts on the works of Edward Moran. One was an academician, and museum director of repute, who had studied and written on him extensively. The other was a preeminent dealer of fine marine art who had sold his works. Both expressed favorable opinions as to the paintings authenticity. Early in March 2013, we asked them to make the same examination.
Both authorities were furnished high resolution images of the painting and closeups of the signature and a condition report that included testing by "Black Light". Both agreed, subject to a personal inspection, that the work was by Edward Moran and that the signature appeared genuine. The museum director - academician refined his opinion by saying that the signature and broken brush strokes indicated that it may be a late work by the artist.
 
However, since this painting lacks a definitive provenance, we are taking this into account by offering this fine painting at a very low figure for an artist whose works regularly sell at auction from $35,000.00 to more than $90,000.00.

 
THE MORAN FAMILY OF ARTISTS: The Moran family, was one of the most prolific families of artists in American history, and was second only to the Peale's in their prominence while they were active and in later years when their work gained even greater appreciation. Edward Moran, was the oldest brother who came to prominence in the 1850's. He preferred painting seascapes, and was considered the finest marine artist of his time. Edward's son, known as Percy (1862-1935) and his second son, Leon, (1864-1941) were also painters of lesser importance. The leading Moran was Thomas (1837-1926) who specialized in western landscapes gained great fame and his works regularly fetch six figures. His wife Mary Nemmo (1842-1899) became known for her etchings in her own right. Other brother's of Edward and Thomas were Peter, an animal painter, and John, a photographer, of much less importance.


SAMPLE SIGNATURES OF EDWARD MORAN - artist/painter:



THIS PAINTING:





Detailed Biography of Edward Moran, click here Edward Moran Biography

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