Jacobsen B.W. Morse Maritime Painting

This is a maritime painting of the B.W. Morse by Antonio Jacobsen (1850-1921). As you can see from the photographs it has been through some rough times. About 13 major tears trouble its surface with an additional 9 minor tears. Scotch tape is adding some support on the reverse, and the surface is quite dirty. Most peculiar is the fact that nails were driven from the front of the frame, through the painting, and into the stretcher bar; a few actually stick out on the reverse. This was done shortly after the painting was made, and in that time some of the glue from the frame and solvents from the painting lodged in that area where the painting and the back of the frame were pressed against each other, and made a rather tight seal. With diligent nail removal and careful releasing of the canvas from the frame we were able to de-fit the painting. Initial cleaning tests have had remarkable results. Once that step is complete, the next thing will be to suture the tears. Stay tuned for more…

Antonio Jacobsen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, on November 2, 1850 to a family of violin makers. At an early age he enrolled at the Royal Academy of Design in Copenhagen, and studied until his family’s money ran out. At the age 18 it was compulsory for him to join the Danish military forces, but he escaped and sailed for America.

Praised for his freelance sketchwork the Marvin Safe Company commissioned him to decorate their safes. This work transitioned into commissions from sea captains and shipowners, and then into Steamship companies that wanted to record their fleet.

In 1880, he and his family moved to Hoboken, New Jersey. Jacobsen’s work was strongly desired during his lifetime and it’s estimated that he executed some 6,000 paintings. His works can be seen in most major collections of maritime art including the: Peabody Museum, Salem, MA.; The Mariners Museum, Newport News, VA.; Seaman’s Bank for Savings, etc. He died in 1921.

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