The end of the nineteenth century was a period when the growing moneyed classes were becoming very interested in sporting activities, such as fishing, shooting, riding, and yachting. This was also a period when chromolithography was being used to produce prints that captured the feel, texture and nuances of watercolors. These two developments led to the production of a number of superior portfolios of chromolithographic prints after watercolor drawings of sporting events. This is a rare and impressive series of such prints based on watercolors by Henry Shields, showing yachts on the Clyde. The quality of the printmaking is excellent, and the images well convey the drama and excitement of yachting.
A series of strong yacht racing prints by Frederic S. Cozzens (1856-1928), who is considered to be one of the best American nineteenth century marine illustrators. Known best for his depiction of yachting scenes, Cozzens drew all types of watercraft. He is known to have sketched marine scenes as early as 1868. Cozzens contributed many illustrations to such publications as Harper's Weekly, The Daily Graphic, and Frank Leslie's Illustrated Magazine. Cozzens also exhibited at the New York Watercolor Society. In 1880 the New York Yacht Club commissioned a set of six watercolors which are still hanging in the club today. By 1883, Cozzens was a well established marine illustrator, and decided to turn his watercolors into prints. His first publication was American Yachts, Their Clubs and Races, which contained 27 chromolithographs. These views are considered to be Cozzens' finest work, vividly conveying the atmosphere and thrill of the yacht races they depict. The portfolio of full color chromolithographs was released in a limited edition of signed "artist's proofs" and later in a second printing as "color prints" The set included twenty-five scenes of yachting activity, a signal chart featuring the flags of sixty-six yacht clubs, and an extra plate (which must have been included at the last possible moment) of the 1885 America's Cup race between Puritan and Genesta. Cozzens' work was so well received that he produced four other series of prints: Typical American Yachts (1886); Yachts and Yachting (1887); Our Navy, Its Growth and Achievements (1892); and Old Naval Prints (1892). By the turn of the century, Cozzens turned to drawing more beach scenes, seascapes and European vessels than he did yachting scenes, but it is for the latter which he is most famous. These are excellent examples from his most famous series, American Yachts. It wonderfully conveys the realism and vividness of Cozzens' best work.
This photogravure commemorates the NYYC membership in the year of 1905-6. J. Pierpont Morgan donated a tract of land to the club in 1898 where the current NYYC club house now stands on West 44th Street. This club house opened to the membership in 1901 and by 1905 the membership had swelled to over 2000 members. In the background is the first club house at Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey. In addition there are three yachts in the background, a steam yacht and two sailing yachts which represent the NYYC sailing prowess. Members who are obviously depicted are: J. Pierpont Morgan, Commodore Frederick G. Bourne, Vice Commodore Henry Walters, Rear Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, Commodore E.D. Morgan and many other prominent figures in New York business and society. $2,800
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