Victor De Grailly
"Passamaquoddy Bay, Maine"
Oil on canvas
17 x 23 inches
Provenance: Private Collection, New England
This is a classically composed landscape, with receding planes of color and voluminous trees flanking genre details. Idyllic cumulus clouds and a glassy water’s surface are also indicators of de Grailly’s neo-classical training. Whether he had cause to visit the site himself, or he was inspired by the popular 1840 book on “American Scenery”, de Grailly has presented a vivid scene of the Passamaquoddy Bay: located at the mouth of the St. Croix River and incorporating both territories of Maine and New Brunswick. Though the figures in the foreground are at rest, the bay behind them is full of maritime activity—a reminder of the area’s controversial history as disputed coastline between the English and Americans, and as a popular site for smuggling goods like flour and gypsum in the early nineteenth century. Here we have an Old World artistic formula applied to a New World landscape, and the result is undoubtedly charming.