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American Paintings and Sculpture
Artist: Fitz Henry Lane, American, 1804–1865
Lighthouse at Camden, Maine
Oil on canvas
58.4 x 86.4 cm (23 x 34 in.), framed: 81.3 x 110.5 x 9.5 cm (32 x 43 1/2 x 3 3/4 in.)
Gift of the Teresa and H. John Heinz III Foundation
Commercial shipping played a critical role in the development of the American economy and became a popular subject in art and literature. Fitz Henry Lane rendered the Camden Harbor at sunset, uniting topographic precision with spectacular atmospheric effects. Made the same year that Herman Melville’s whaling novel Moby Dick was published, the painting shows a schooner filled with lumber sailing past Negro Island, where many free African Americans lived. As Maine gradually opened to commerce and tourism before the Civil War, the construction of numerous lighthouses aided coastal navigation.
Peter Hawes, A Great Panorama Celebrating Twenty-five Years of American Art at Yale, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1998), 20, ill.
Helen A. Cooper et al., Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2008), 150, no. 88, ill.
Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.