Maritime Master Releases Studio Work from the Last Half-Century

July 26, 2021  15:29  |  News

Rehs Contemporary is set to present a set of important paintings by maritime master John Stobart in the coming weeks. The works, many of which have been housed in the artist’s studio for decades, will be split up and unveiled at art fairs on both the east and west coast – three canvases are set to make an appearance at the Los Angeles Art Show, which runs from July 29th through August 1st. Then an exceptional display of nine paintings will be on view at the Nantucket Summer Antiques Show, which runs from August 5th through the 9th.

Maritime Master Releases Studio Work from the Last Half-Century

John Stobart’s “Sacramento: The Celebrated River Steamer “Chrysopolis” Leaving San Francisco in 1870″ – on view at the LA Art Show, July 29 – August 1, 2021. Images courtesy of: Rehs Contemporary Galleries, Inc., New York ©

John Stobart, widely regarded as the preeminent nautical painter of the 20th & 21st centuries, has spent a lifetime studying and recreating ports, harbours, and the open water. Many of his paintings feature notable ships and vessels placed into their historically accurate settings; the process is a painstaking one, but nevertheless filled with passion.

When Stobart was just twelve years old, he was allowed to begin taking the tram by himself in Roby, England – it travelled directly to Pier Head in Liverpool. He recalls his first trip to the docks as a “life-changing day” … the vast number, sizes, and types of ships left the boy in awe. While young Stobart spent his spare time drawing, he would officially embark on his artistic voyage at Derby College of Art in 1945, before continuing at the Royal Academy Schools in London. While his studies were briefly interrupted by his obligation to the National Service (he served in the Royal Air Force), he would eventually return to London and complete his training.

The latter half of the 1900s encompassed the majority of Stobart’s professional career, though he continues to paint today – in all, it is estimated that the artist has completed more than one thousand works in his lifetime. Included in the works set to make an appearance at the Los Angeles Art Show is a stunning, previously unexhibited piece titled Sacramento: The Celebrated River Steamer “Chrysopolis” Leaving San Francisco in 1870 (painted 1993). The busy port and the iconic ship resulted in a composition that ranks among the artist’s favourites, and as such, it has hung in his studio for nearly three decades. Additionally, paintings depicting scenes of San Francisco Harbor and Monterey Harbor will also be on display at the west-coast fair.

Maritime Master Releases Studio Work from the Last Half-Century

John Stobart John Stobart’s “MV Governor at Barbados” – on view at The Nantucket Summer Antiques Show, August 5 – 9, 2021. Images courtesy of Rehs Contemporary Galleries, Inc., New York ©

The following weekend at the Nantucket Show, a broader selection of Stobart’s work will be exhibited – the set of paintings will span the artist’s career, with the earliest dating back to 1957! That particular canvas, MV Governor at Barbados, features workers transporting sugar from the shore to a large vessel in the distance, via smaller ships which are set in the foreground – another personal favourite of the artist. Other paintings completed at various points over the past half-century will accompany this early composition, including two which were done as recently as 2016, when the artist was 86 years old; most amazingly, he has maintained the quality of his work even at the later stages of his career.

The eclectic mix of views from around the world is sure to excite any fan of maritime art, and particularly, any fan of John Stobart’s. If you’re in the area for either event, they are surely not to be missed!