James Edward Buttersworth (1817-1894) Racing Yachts Magic and Gracie 7 7/8 x 18 1/8in (20 x 46cm)

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Lot 20
James Edward Buttersworth
(1817-1894)
Racing Yachts Magic and Gracie 7 7/8 x 18 1/8in (20 x 46cm)

Sold for US$ 37,812 inc. premium

American Art

24 Nov 2020, 16:00 EST

New York

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF AUDREY NYE
James Edward Buttersworth (1817-1894)
Racing Yachts Magic and Gracie
signed 'J.E. Buttersworth' (lower right)
oil on canvas laid down on panel
7 7/8 x 18 1/8in (20 x 46cm)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Harry Gale Nye Jr., Newport Beach, California, by 1958.
    By descent to the present owner, 1987.

    James Edward Buttersworth was one of the most noteworthy American maritime artists who painted beautifully detailed and dramatic depictions of some of the most famous racing clipper ships, steamers, and yachts in maritime history under full sail off New York. His works often featured the America's Cup races, oceanic crossing scenes, and prominent displays of sailing vessels of all sizes and historical importance.

    The present work by Buttersworth most likely depicts in characteristic luminist style a New York Yacht Club race. The vessel at right has been attributed as the racing schooner Magic while the vessel at center as the sloop Gracie. Also visible at center with her signature red hull is the Sandy Hook light ship that was frequently used as a marker on the New York Yacht Club racecourse. Buttersworth beautifully depicts the drama of the moment when Magic and Gracie round the Sandy Hook light ship.

    The racing schooner Magic was one of the best of her time. Measuring 84 feet long, she was designed and owned by Richard F. Loper (1800-1880) and was launched by T. Byerly & Son at Philadelphia in 1857 as the sloop Madgie. Loper made the decision in 1858 to lengthen her and then in 1859, he replaced her large sloop rig with a more flexible schooner rig. She was eventually rebuilt in 1869 as Magic for New York Yacht Club member Franklin Osgood (1828-1888) and led the New York Yacht Club fleet a year later in the 1870 America's Cup, ultimately defeating James Lloyd Ashbuery's (1834-1895) yacht Cambria sailing on behalf of the Royal Thames Yacht Club. This was the first America's Cup to be hosted in the United States and the first America's Cup since the trophy was renamed from the 100 Guineas Cup. Actor J. Lester Wallack (1820-1888) eventually acquired Magic and she remained a very competitive yacht under his ownership through the 1870s.

    Magic's key challenger Gracie that Buttersworth has depicted at center was designed by shopkeeper Abraham Schank and was built and launched by A. G. Polhemus at Nyack, New York on the Hudson in 1868. She measured 72 feet long and was notably shallow and heavily rigged. Gracie was first owned by William Voorhis before being bought by H. W. Johnson and William Krebs in the winter of 1869-1870. Magic and Gracie have been recorded as racing on several occasions and Buttersworth is known to have painted the two challenging each other on the racecourse several times.
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