William Alexander Coulter (1849-1936) San Francisco Bay with the 1915 Pan Pacific Exposition Beyond 33 1/2 x 49 3/4in

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Lot 133
William Alexander Coulter
(1849-1936)
San Francisco Bay with the 1915 Pan Pacific Exposition Beyond 33 1/2 x 49 3/4in

Sold for US$ 60,075 inc. premium
William Alexander Coulter (1849-1936)
San Francisco Bay with the 1915 Pan Pacific Exposition Beyond
signed and dated 'W.A. Coulter 1915' (lower right) and inscribed and dated 'W.A. Coulter Golden Gate 1915' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
33 1/2 x 49 3/4in

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    The artist.
    William J. Edwards, San Francisco, California, President of Norton, Lilly & Co.
    Nikki Noce, Aptos, California, granddaughter of the above, by descent.
    Private collection, from the above.

    The work depicts the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, which was the 1915 World's Fair. San Francisco was chosen for the site, barely edging out New Orleans. Taking over three years to construct, the fair was a great economic benefit for the city that had been substantially destroyed by the great earthquake and fire of 1906. The exposition was a celebration of the completion of the Panama Canal and also commemorated the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the Pacific Ocean by Balboa. The Exposition was initially planned for Golden Gate Park, but it was later decided to fill the mud flats at the northern end of the city in the location currently known as the Marina District. The 635-acre fair was located between Van Ness Avenue and the Presidio. Its southern border was Chestnut Street and its northern edge bordered the bay. Visible in this view to the far left is the Tower of Jewels, a 43-story tall building that was covered with more than a hundred thousand colored glass 'jewels' that dangled individually to shimmer and reflect light as the Pacific breezes moved them. Also visible is the dome of the Palace of Fine Arts, the only structure that was not torn down with the rest of the buildings. It survived to be completely reconstructed in the 1960's.

    The exposition ran from February 20th to December 4th, 1915 and was
    considered a great success. By this time in his career, Coulter was a well-recognized marine artist. He had executed a commission to paint four major murals on panels for the Merchant's Exchange Building from 1909 to 1911, and was active in painting commissions and having one-man shows at 18-month intervals with between 40 to 110 paintings offered. In 1923, the U.S. postage stamp 'Golden Gate' (a 20 cent Carmine Rose) was issued based on a Coulter painting of a similar subject.

    San Francisco Bay with the 1915 Pan Pacific Exposition Beyond exemplifies William Alexander Coulter's mature style. A biplane is maneuvering in the sky over the Exposition. In the center of the painting, arriving in the late afternoon light, is a three-masted ship with crew aloft on the fore top gallant and royal yards. She appears to wear the house flag of Norton, Lilly & Co. shipping agent which coincides with the painting's provenance. A steam tugboat is approaching to pick up the ship and tow her in. Fort Winfield Scott is shown in the distance. Other vessels portrayed include a small yawl-rigged yacht, an early Monterey Trawler and one of the Bay's trademark feluccas, the small lateen fishing boats first brought to the Bay by Italian immigrants. A major warship is also shown anchored off the exposition.
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