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In American Waters: The Sea in American Painting

Exhibition
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For over 250 years, artists have been inspired to capture the beauty, violence, poetry, and transformative power of the sea in American life. Oceans play a key role in American society no matter where we live, and still today, the sea continues to inspire painters to capture its mystery and power.

In American Waters is a new exhibition in which marine painting is revealed to be so much more than ship portraits. Be transported across time and water on the wave of a diverse range of modern and historical artists including Georgia O’Keeffe, Amy Sherald, Kay WalkingStick, Norman Rockwell, Hale Woodruff, Paul Cadmus, Thomas Hart Benton, Jacob Lawrence, Valerie Hegarty, Stuart Davis, and many more. Discover the sea as an expansive way to reflect on American culture and environment, learn how coastal and maritime symbols moved inland across the United States, and consider what it means to be “in American waters.”

In American Waters is co-created by Austen Bailly, chief curator, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Daniel Finamore, The Russell W. Knight Curator of Maritime Art and History, Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. The exhibition debuted at Peabody Essex Museum on May 29, 2021, and is accompanied by a major multi-author illustrated publication published by Crystal Bridges and the University of Arkansas Press.

This exhibition is co-organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.

Adults: $12

Members, SNAP participants, Veterans, and Youth 18 and Under: FREE

SNAP participants, please call (479) 657-2335 to enroll for free entry to temporary exhibitions.

Not a member? Join today!

Per CDC’s updated guidelines, we are now requiring all guests ages 2 and up and staff to wear a face covering indoors and while attending outdoor programs, except while eating or drinking. Masks will be available upon entry for those who do not have one.

Exhibition Conversations

Blogs

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the painting called the fleet's in by paul cadmus featuring sailors, men, and women smoking and talking on a stone ledge

Censorship, Scandal, and Queer Sexuality Make American Art History in Paul Cadmus’s The Fleet’s In 

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Theresa Bernstein’s The Immigrants Paints a Picture of Twentieth-Century US Immigration at Sea
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The Pirates of Howard Pyle
painting of a pirate sitting in the sand with his head lowered

The Pirates of Howard Pyle

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Learn more about the artist who created the iconic pirate look we know today.

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Rare Books and Artist Letters Inspired by In American Waters
image of a kiosk of rare books inspired by In American Waters; image of a kiosk of rare books inspired by In American Waters; found in the Crystal Bridges Library collection

Rare Books and Artist Letters Inspired by In American Waters

Exhibitions Library
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Ready for In American Waters? Here’s Your Maritime Glossary 
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Ready for In American Waters? Here’s Your Maritime Glossary 

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In American Waters PEMcast: Our Connection to the Sea
William Trost Richards, Along the Shore

In American Waters PEMcast: Our Connection to the Sea

Exhibitions

PEMcast producer Dinah Cardin asked Crystal Bridges visitors: what is your experience with the sea?

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Return to the Sea: In American Waters Opens at Peabody Essex Museum
Ship Southern Cross in Boston Harbor by Fitz Henry Lane

Return to the Sea: In American Waters Opens at Peabody Essex Museum

Exhibitions

In American Waters opens today at Peabody Essex Museum. Check out their PEMcast episode here.

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Supported in part by

 

Bob and Becky Alexander, Harrison and Rhonda French Family, Marybeth and Micky Mayfield, Sue and Charles Redfield, Jeff and Sarah Teague | Citizens Bank, and James Zigras.

10th Anniversary Season Recognition

 

Sponsor logos

Credits

Fitz Henry Lane (1804-1865)
Southern Cross in Boston Harbor, 1851
Oil on canvas
25 1/4 x 38 in. (64.1 x 96.5 cm)
Gift of Stephen Wheatland, 1987
M18639
Courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum

Edward Moran (1829 – 1901) The Valley in the Sea, 1862
Oil on canvas
49 ¼ x 73 ¼ x 4 ¼ in. (125.1 x 186.1 x 10.8 cm)
Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Martha Delzell Memorial Fund, 70.5, DiscoverNewfields.org

Jan Matulka
View from Ship, about 1932
Oil on canvas
36 × 30 in. (91.4 × 76.2 cm)
Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of C. K. Williams II, 2015-8-1
Courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Reproduced with Permission, The Estate of Jan Matulka.

James Bard (1815-1897)
Steamer Syracuse, 1857
Oil on canvas
29 1/4 × 51 1/4 in. (74.3 × 130.2 cm)
Gift of the estate of Francis B. C. Bradlee, 1928
M4266
Courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum

Howard Pyle (1853-1911)
Marooned, 1909
Oil on canvas
40 x 60 in.
Delaware Art Museum
Museum Purchase, 1912