Thursday, March 4, 2010

Frederick Judd Waugh - American

Pounding Surf ND, 11.5 x 15.75 inches

At his best, F Judd Waugh is one of my favourite seascape artists; for his sense of structure, and his fine observation of the forms of waves, foam and rocks. 
I realise that many would look on this type of painting as 'motel art'. This happens when a style of painting deservedly enjoys popularity, but then gets rehashed to death, and later haunts us as a kind of scary kitsch ghost. But if you see FJW's work in it's historical context, forgetting about subsequent imitation, you get a wonderfully clear evocation of the sea. He lived for almost 80 years - his first 40 in the 19th Century and the second half of his life in the 20th - so it's understandable that his work stands somewhat awkwardly between the Victorian and the Modern. Anyway, you'll find a lot of his work in this blog. FJW's reputation in the contemporary art market has not been helped by the sentimental figurative works he also did.

FJW was considered the successor to Winslow Homer as the greatest marine artist of his day in America, but is unlikely to have seen any of the elder artist's work.
He wrote, Painting by the Sea, and Seascape Painting, Step by Step with a Knife, instructional books on painting.

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