The man behind the historic Marine and Maritime paintings currently on exhibit at Cavalier Galleries in Nantucket is Joseph Vallejo of the Vallejo Gallery in Newport Beach, CA. We invite you to join us as we take a look into the history and inspiration behind this impressive collection of pivotal maritime artwork. Mr. Vallejo's passion for the sea and the works he collects shines through in his vast knowledge of the subject and the unrivaled quality of the artwork and artifacts that he presents. Cavalier Galleries is thrilled to once again welcome the exemplary pieces he has selected for our annual exhibition of maritime paintings.
Q&A with VallejoHow did you first become involved with collecting Maritime art?
Vallejo: Well I began in 1972, I started buying in Scotland, buying marine items from salvaged ships that were being broken up. Gradually I worked towards better quality pieces as I progressed and started branching out to Europe and throughout the United States. First I did a lot of research, I’m basically self-taught. It takes years to learn who the great artists are and of course this was before computers. You had books to rely on and museums. Gradually I worked my way up to get to the best artists.
Where did your passion for the sea and collecting maritime art & artifacts originate from?
Vallejo: I’ve been around water most of my life and I had a business to do with yachts, mainly maintenance and beautification. I had collected a few nautical pieces, there was an opportunity to travel to see some great maritime artifacts and possibly start another business and I took it. By going aboard the salvaged ships and getting in the door, that was the beginning. Also, my father and I used to go fishing often. When I was a kid the first thing I ever drew was a sailing ship. I used to love to go down to the docks as a kid and watch the ships come in. I just have this love of the sea.
What do you consider to be your greatest find?
Vallejo: I’ve had a lot of great finds. I recently had a great pirate painting by N.C. Wyeth. It’s called Absconding with the Treasure. He became most famous for his pirate scenes. On all scales, I’ve had hundreds of spectacular finds. Great artists coming out of the woodwork. I recently discovered a great work by Arthur Waud, who in his time was the premier Civil War field artist who worked alongside Winslow Homer. Not many people know of him today, but the quality of this exceptional painting “Our Flag is There” led me to believe there had to be more to the artist. It was great doing the research. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be a wonderful thing, a great treasure.
What advice would you offer to someone looking to start their own maritime collection?
Vallejo: I’d recommend to anyone, including myself, to buy the best. You can never go wrong buying the best of an artist. The names of importance. You want to make sure you’re buying a good quality work by the artist and that there is some sort of demand for their work.
Who are the top 5 collected maritime artists in the United States right now?
Vallejo: Montague Dawson. James E. Buttersworth. Antonio Jacobsen. Robert Salmon. The Liverpool School.
Antonio Jacobsen (1850-1921)
Racing Yacht Mayflower, 1886
oil on canvas, 22 1/8 X 36 1/4 inches
What would you consider to be the best paintings in our current exhibition, and what makes these works exceptional?
Mary Blood Mellen (1819-1886)
Sunset Calm off Ten Pound Island Light, Gloucester, c. 1850s
oil on canvas, 8 1/8 x 12 1/8
Vallejo: This piece is important because Mellon was tutored by Fitz Henry Lane. It’s a luminous painting. It’s a known area. It has a wonderful provenance as well, coming from the family of the Boston Globe newspaper, directly.
Montague Dawson (1895-1973)
The Battle of Jutland, 1949
oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches
Vallejo: This is the second most famous naval battle that Britain ever fought, after Trafalgar, and they were the major sea power throughout the 18th and 19th century. Not only is the artist notable but the scene is important. The provenance is significant as well coming from the National Geographic Collection.
James E. Buttersworth (1817-1894)
Schooner Yacht Columbia Racing off Portsmouth, c. 1875
oil on panel, 10 x 14 1/4 inches
Vallejo: It has great light, a main factor people want to see in a James E. Buttersworth painting. The painting is very crisp and the coloration is brilliant. Also, it is a well known yacht racing event, occurring off the coast of England.
William Edward Norton (1843-1916)
On the Coast of Holland, Fishing Boat Ready for Sea, c. 1890
oil on canvas, 42 x 34 inches
Vallejo: This painting is reminiscent of Edward William Cook who painted 20 years earlier than Norton such scenes, which made him famous. Norton has captured this moment beautifully of the Dutch coast. It has great light and drama.
To see all of the works in the
Important Marine and Maritime Exhibition click HERE
or visit Cavalier Galleries at 34 Main Street, Nantucket, MA 02554
GREENWICH 405 Greenwich Avenue•Greenwich, CT•06830• 203.869.3664
NEW YORK 15 East 71st Street, Suite 2a•New York, NY• 10021 • 212.570.4696
NANTUCKET 34 Main Street • Nantucket, MA•02554 • 508.325.4405