Picture of the ‘Dream’ Pleasure Yacht

Robert Salmon

Imagen del yate

Salmon, Robert

Whitehaven, c.1775 - Cumberland, después de 1845

Picture of the 'Dream' Pleasure Yacht, 1839

© Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza

Inscribed on verso: ''Yacht Dream/ no. 27/ Painted by R. Salmon/ 1839''
Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection
Location: Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, Madrid

Oil on panel

43 x 63 cm

CTB.1983.27

Artwork history

  • Francis Lee Higginson, Rye Beach (NH), 1971.

  • Kennedy Galleries, Inc., New York.

  • Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Lugano, 1983.

  • Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection

1983

Maestri Americani della Collezione Thyssen-Bornemisza, Vatican City, Musei Vaticani, nº 28.

1984

Maestri Americani della Collezione Thyssen-Bornemisza, Lugano, Villa Malpensata, nº 27

1984 - 1986

American Masters: The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Baltimore (MD), The Baltimore Museum of Art; Detroit (MI), The Detroit Institute of Arts; Denver (CO), Denver Art Museum; San Antonio (TX), Marion Koogler McNay Art Institute; New York (NY), IBM Gallery of Arts and Sciences; San Diego (CA), San Diego Museum of Art; Palm Beach (FL), The Society of the Four Arts, nº 29.

1988 - 1989

Bilder aus der Neuen Welt. Amerikanische Malerei des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts. Meisterwerke aus der Sammlung Thyssen-Bornemisza und Museen der Vereinigten Staaten, Berlin, Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz; Zurich, Kunsthaus Zürich, nº 28, illus.

1997

Capolavori dalla Collezione di Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza: 60º anniversario dell'apertura della Pinacotecca di Villa Favorita, Lugano, Villa Favorita, nº 37, p. 112.

1999

Aspectos de la tradición paisajística en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Málaga, Salas de Exposiciones del Palacio Episcopal, nº 45, p. 154.

1999 - 2000

Naturalezas pintadas de Brueghel a Van Gogh. Pintura naturalista en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, nº 40, p. 124.

2021 - 2022

Arte Americano en la Colección Thyssen. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. Cat. 39, p. 93.

  • -”Catalogue of Robert Salmon’s Pictures 1828 to 1840”. In Wilmerding, J.: Robert Salmon: Painter of Ship & Shore. Salem (MA), 1971 , p. 97 (”nº 27, December 24th, 1839, 24×16, day 9. Image of the yacht Dream, for Mr. Davis, coppermaker”).

  • -Novak, Barbara: Nineteenth-Century American Painting: The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Ellis, Elizabeth Garrity… [et al.]. London, Sotheby´s Publications, 1986 , nº 24, p. 118, illus.

  • -Gaehtgens, Thomas W. (ed.): Bilder aus der Neuen Welt. Amerikanische Malerei des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts. Meisterwerke aus der Sammlung Thyssen-Bornemisza und Museen der Vereinigten Staaten. Adams, Willi Paul … [et al.]. [Berlin, Nationalgalerie – Zurich, Kunsthaus Zürich, 1988-1989]. Munich, Prestel, 1988 , nº 28, illus. [ Sheet by Kahl].

  • -Capolavori dalla Collezione di Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza: 60º anniversario dell’apertura della Pinacotecca di Villa Favorita, Lugano, Villa Favorita, [Exhib. Cat. Villa Favorita, Lugano], 1997,n. 37, p. 112. [ Sheet by Elizabeth Garrity Ellis]

  • -Aspectos de la tradición paisajística en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Málaga, Salas de Exposiciones del Palacio Episcopal, [Exhib. Cat. Palacio Episcopal, Málaga], 1999, n. 45, p. 154. [ Sheet by Elizabeth Garrity Ellis]

  • -Naturalezas pintadas de Brueghel a Van Gogh. Pintura naturalista en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza,[Exhib. Cat. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid], 1999, n. 40, p. 124. [ Sheet by Elizabeth Garrity Ellis]

  • -Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Arnaldo, Javier (ed.). 2 vols. Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2004, vol. 1, p. 232, illus. p. 233 [ Sheet by Elizabeth Garrity Ellis].

  • – Arte Americano en la Colección Thyssen. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza [Exhib. Cat. Curators.: Alarcó, P.; Campo Rosillo, A.], Ed. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, 2021. Cat.  39, p. 93.

Expert report

Salmon painted Picture of the “Dream” Pleasure Yacht in December 1839, when he was at the height of his career as painter of the ships and shoreline of Boston. Like the larger Boston Harbor from Castle Island (Richmond, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts) of the same year, this portrait of the schooner yacht “Dream” cruising off Castle Island has an animating light rarely matched in his early art. It brings together elements of the finest paintings Salmon produced in his studio on the Marine Railway Wharf, balancing “anecdotal detail and spaciousness of effect, documentation and imaginative design, forms in light and shadow, sensations of motion and stopped action.”

Salmon settled in Boston in 1828 and spent the next 14 years painting the harbour area from Nahant to Milton, carefully recording the new buildings and commercial activity underway. He was associated with the city’s leading merchant families, many of whom were engaged in the China trade and owned vessels or shipping lines operating out of Boston’s busy wharves. The “Dream” was a distinctive sight in Boston Harbour. Not only was the schooner a very different type from most early Boston yachts, but it belonged to Boston’s first informal yacht club. Built by Webb & Allen in New York in 1833, it was sold in 1835 to the “Dream” Club, a group of a dozen friends organized by Robert Bennet Forbes, who paid $200 each to use the yacht on a cooperative basis. Captain Forbes was one of Salmon’s most important patrons. He owned at least nine paintings by the artist, including a series based on William Falconer’s dramatic poem “The Shipwreck.” The owner of this portrait, Isaac Davis, was a founding member of the “Dream” Club.

The rowboat with figures in the left foreground was a frequent motif of Salmon’s harbour views. It served to establish the scale and to add a certain narrative element, and it later appeared in the harbour scenes of his greatest successor, Fitz Hugh Lane.

Elizabeth Garrity Ellis