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Lot 321: James Guy Evans (New Orleans/Active, 1835-1860),

Est: $120,000 USD - $150,000 USDSold:
Neal Auction CompanyNovember 20, 2010New Orleans, LA, US

Item Overview


James Guy Evans (New Orleans/Active, 1835-1860), "Tow Boat Conqueror of New Orleans, Capt. John Heaton, Coming up from the Balize, October 29th, 1847", oil on canvas, signed "Evans" lower right, 39 1/2 in. x 49 3/4 in., framed. Note: The renowned marine painter James Guy Evans worked in New Orleans from 1843 until 1853, creating scenes of tugboats, steamships, and significant maritime events. Evans briefly worked in partnership with the portrait and landscape painter Edward Everard Arnold (1824 or 1826-1866) in the 1850s, during which time the pair of artists proposed creating a sketch of the city from the view of their studio window in the Faubourg Marigny, a scheme which unfortunately never came to fruition. In this scene, the towboat Conqueror, which was built in 1847 and lost in 1861, tugs several ships up the river from the Balize, the location of the pilot station on the northeast pass. This was a common occurrence, as the currents of the Mississippi River often were strong enough that sailing vessels required assistance from steam-powered towboats such as the Conqueror. Evans created two versions of the Tow Boat Conqueror. While the companion piece of 1852, which is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, depicts the same boats (the Maritana, the Megunticook, the Lord Seaton, the Oswego, and the Laura), the present lot's composition is reversed and the lettering on the flags is backwards. The very slight variations include the placement of the clouds, the shading on the flags, and the grouping of the sailors on the boats. It has been suggested, as explanation for the mysterious reversal of the composition, that perhaps Evans intended to create a lithograph of the scene; however, no print of this image has ever been located. Reference: Mahé, John, et. al. The Encyclopaedia of New Orleans Artists. New Orleans: The Historic New Orleans Collection, 1987; Spassky, Natalie, et. al. American Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Volume II: A Catalogue of Works by Artists Born between 1816 and 1845 New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1985.

Artist or Maker

Auction Details

Art & Antiques

Neal Auction Company
November 20, 2010, 10:00 AM CST

4038 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA, 70115, US