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News-Antique.com - Nov 13,2007 - Nov. 12, 2007--A kinship with the sea shows up in different ways for different people. For some it’s a life as a seafarer. Other people become environmentalists. For 20th century painter Montague Dawson it was life devoted to painting the sea.
Born in 1895, Dawson grew up close to the England’s Southampton water. He came from a long line of sea lovers. His father was an engineer and sea captain. His grandfather Henry Dawson was a marine artist.
Recreating the sea’s magic on canvas was in his blood. Even as a young child he studied the giant vessels coming and going.
Dawson’s fascination with the beauty of the great commercial sailing ships was obvious in his later work. Nothing escaped his attention.
The massive ships. The hard breezes. The restless seas. The fierce skies. He connected the dots and captured the relationship in a way that few others did.
Dawson completed his first watercolor at the age of five. It was the seeding of a talent that would end as Dawson being named one of the greatest marine artists of the 20th century.
He never even went to art school. He did join an art studio in 1910 in Bedford Row, London, which made posters and illustrations.
When World War I started in 1914, the sea lover joined the Royal Navy. He met Officer Charles Napier Hemy, the maritime artist. Hemy tutored Dawson and had a huge impact on his work.
During World Wars I and II Dawson supplied the magazine “Sphere” with monochrome illustrations of historical events like the final surrender of the German Grand Fleet. It was illustrations like this that brought him the attention he longed for as an artist.
Dawson’s painting of the China Tea trade clippers Chrysolite and Stornoway almost neck-and-neck racing home through the high seas is marine history frozen in time.
The oil on canvas went on the block on July 25, 2007, in Christie’s, Marine auction. The 28 inches by 42 inches painting sold for $216,000.
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