Sheppard’s profound knowledge of sailing and of the effects light and weather have on the sea came to inform his canvases, the vast majority of which consist of sandy stretches of beach captured at early morning or late in the day. Ship at Sunset shows the artist at his best, from his expert rendering of the warm, waning light as it dances across the water and illuminates the cresting waves, to the accurate portrayal of the vessel’s movement and rigging as it passes offshore.
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Marine painter Warren W. Sheppard was born in Greenwich, New Jersey, to a ship captain father who instilled in his son a love and respect for the sea. He studied privately with Mauritz F. H. de Haas and took courses in drawing at Cooper Union in New York City, and traveled along the Mediterranean coast in 1879, sketching the ports of Naples, Gibraltar, Genoa, and Messina. This fondness for travel also translated to his home country. He sailed along the East Coast from New Jersey to Maine in search of subjects and was an expert navigator.
Today his work can be found in several museum collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts, the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, Virginia, and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.
George F. McMurray collection
Eventually to private collection, Burr Ridge, Illinois
- (in white chalk on right stretcher) McMurray
- (in black marker or dark graphite on top stretcher) 700.°°
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art / Los Angeles, California / Pertaining to the Sea: 3/23-5/2/76 / No.: ex.76.481 / Artist: Warren Sheppard / Title: Ship in Sunset / Medium: Oil on canvas / Source: Mr. and Mrs. George F. McMurray / Size: 19 ½ x 29 ¼” (sight)
- Mongerson Wunderlich / Chicago, Illinois / Warren Sheppard (1858-1937) / “Ship in Sunset” / Oil on canvas / 19 ¼ x 29 ¼ inches
Pertaining to the Sea. Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California, March 23 – May 2, 1976