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Artist Biography

Born in Copenhagen to a Danish violinmaker, Antonio Jacobsen would become one of America’s most renowned and successful marine artists. Although Jacobsen was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps, he decided instead to study art at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen. In 1871, at the onset of the Franco-Prussian war, he and his family left Denmark and immigrated to the United States, settling in New York City.

Not long after his arrival, Jacobsen moved to West Hoboken, New Jersey, a thriving port town across the harbor from New York’s busy shipping thoroughfare. Jacobsen began painting the vessels of the Old Dominion Steamship Line, launching his reputation as a specialist in steamer and schooner portraits. He kept a studio in New York City, and in 1880, he and his wife moved to Hoboken where their home became a mecca for seafarers and artists. Among the artists that visited his home were Fred Pansing and James Buttersworth.

Jacobsen’s works are found in most major collections of maritime art, particularly the Peabody Museum in Salem, MA (over 40 works); and the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, VA (250 works). His paintings can also be found hanging in the White House; the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT; Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, among others.