Charles A. Watson
(American 1857-1923 )
Annapolis Harbor and the Naval Academy
Oil-on-canvas, signed lower right
Provenance:Vose Galleries, Boston
Painting: 21 ½” x 38 ½”
Frame: 30 ⅛” x 47
This view of Annapolis Harbor is unique in Watson’s works in that is is a view of the shoreline from out in the Bay, including buildings and numerous vessels. Whereas most of Watson’s paintings are on a small, intimate scale, this one is far larger than any we have seen. This work does demonstrate his love of the soft focus of the rosy twilight sky.
Charles A. Watson was a landscape and marine painter who spent his artistic career in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. His favorite subjects were the Chesapeake and Baltimore Bays at sunrise, sunset, or at moments when they were slightly obscured by fog or mist.
Watson’s marine views are frequently composed from the shore and from a rather low vantage point. The result is a design constructed exclusively of horizontal bands of sand, water and sky, only occasionally interrupted by a vessel on the sea. His ability to convey spatial recession convincingly through accurately foreshortened waves and clouds is evidence of his firm academic training.
Watson studied with a number of notable Parisian-trained figures, among them Andre Castaigne, a pupil of Gerome, and the Baltimore landscape painter Samuel Edwin Whiteman, who was a product of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
Some of Watson’s later works show an awareness of Tonalism in their hazy paint application, where the evocation of mood is more important than a literal description of form. Watson preferred working on an intimate scale, which suggests in addition to his painterly manner and emphasis on light and atmosphere, that he worked outside directly in front of his subjects.
Information from Heritage Auction Galleries, June 2009.