American, (1835-1886)
Strolling Along the Bluff at Long Branch, New Jersey, ca. 1870
oil on canvas
signed lower right "Silva"

  • Private Collection, New York; Private Collection; Christie's, New York, New York, September 23, 1992, Lot 60; Private Collection, California.
  • Dimensions:
  • 8 x 16 inches
  • Artist Name:
  • Medium:
  • oil on canvas
  • Notes:
  • This painting relates to a larger painting entitled "The Beach at Long Branch, NJ" which was exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1869. It is one of several Silva painted of the scene including "A Summer Afternoon at Long Branch" now in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
    Born in New York City, Francia A. Silva was forbidden to paint artistically by his father, so he became a successful sign painter. Unfulfilled, at the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted in the New York State Militia, serving until 1866. Soon after the war he listed himself as ‘artist' in New York, devoting himself to marine views. Essentially self-taught, early success awarded him the privilege of exhibiting with the National Academy of Design, the Brooklyn Academy of Art, and the American Institute of Art.

    Traveling frequently to his favored locations for subject matter, Silva's works often show both New York and New London harbors, Westchester, Narragansett Bay, and a single known western work of Lake Michigan. Later in life, he traveled to Venice, creating marine views there. Around this time, he arrived at his mature style, often directly compared with the "vigor and breadth of Winslow Homer".

    Silva's luminous paintings are appreciated for their ‘meticulous realism' with tranquil atmospheric elements. In his manipulation of color while avoiding ‘artificial prettiness', he instead intensified the genuine effects of nature while expressing personal emotion. Alongside foremost American seascape artists A.T. Bricher and William Trost Richards, Silva represents the pinnacle of American sea painters.

    People at leisure along the shoreline is a universal subject, and Francis Silva found it to be popular in his day. These works have become fixtures in a diverse range of American art collections, featured for their sheer beauty as well as the significance of the early luminist painter. In this superior example, Strolling Along the Bluff at Long Branch, New Jersey, ca. 1870, numerous folks in Victorian finery stroll the shore of Long Branch, New Jersey. Our lead couple walk arm-in-arm, and parasols are apparent everywhere. An American flag tops a coastal station, and distant sails spot the horizon.

    Silva's vision in the diminutive composition emphasizes the long stretch of open beach and Atlantic Ocean. The relaxing beauty makes it easy to see why America's first film industry established in Long Branch, and seven presidents, from Ulysses S. Grant to the unfortunate James Garfield chose to vacation, or in Garfield's case, convalesce here, inspiring the city's famous Seven Presidents Park. Among Long Branch's most renown citizens, Dorothy Parker and Bruce Springsteen were born and inspired by the seashore community.

    The present painting is a harmony of color and light, with a bygone charm that today seems so simple, but in its day was the premier destination, attracting artist Winslow Homer in 1869 to paint Victorian women strolling its environs. Silva would find his place alongside him with works such as this.
    Framed dimensions: 18 1/4 x 26 1/4 x 4 inches

    tags: oil painting, seascape / coastal / marine, 19th century, New Jersey, listed artist, Luminist / Luminism
  • Condition:
  • lined canvas, overall very good condition, a few minor scattered spots of restoration mostly in the sky, UV photos available upon request, in a period frame

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by Shannon's
October 28, 2021 6:00 PM EDT
Milford, CT, US

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