Maritime Gallery Honors Artists

 Jane Schaefer and Nicholas Fox at the 2019 International
Jane Schaefer presents Nicholas Fox with the Rudolph J. Schaefer Emerging Artist Award at the 2019 International. (Photo by Andy Price/MSM)

The Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport Museum opened its 39th Annual International Marine Art Exhibition and Sale on Saturday, September 28.

The International is the most comprehensive collection of contemporary marine art in the United States. Award-winning artists from around the world present more than 100 examples of their most recent work. Represented in this show are exceptional paintings, sculptures, and scrimshaw. The juried show is a commemoration of America’s maritime heritage with both intricately researched historical scenes and contemporary images that document the relationship of man to the sea.

Each year, the exhibition honors participating artists with five awards of excellence and six named awards, including the Rudolph J. Schaefer Maritime Heritage Award, which recognizes the work that best documents America’s maritime heritage for future generations. Judging the entries this year was Rebekah Beaulieu, director of the Florence Griswold Museum, and Donn Costanzo, owner of Wooden Boatworks, Inc.

Rudolph J. Schaefer Maritime Heritage Award

In memory of Rudolph J. Schaefer’s devotion to preserving maritime history and making it accessible and enjoyable, the judges recognize the artists whose work best documents our maritime heritage, past or present, for generations of the future.

Ronny Moortgat Flying Cloud

Judges’ comments: This work considers sea conditions in a very effective way, the power of the lowered sails to control the dynamic winds, and the bow wave depicts the vessel’s speed. The ominously obscured light source of either dawn or dusk shows a potential break in the storm. This work depicts tension and hope, illustrating a classic maritime story.

Stobart Foundation Award

Encouraging the importance of painting from life, the judges will recognize the work that attracts their attention most by virtue of its uniqueness of style, quality of light and atmosphere.

Crista Pisano Marina

Judges’ comments: Innovative in style and presentation, “Marina” depicts the bustling life across the shoreline. This crisp detail of the small work connotes skill, as well as a familiarity with traditional miniature painting techniques.

Rudolph J. Schaefer Emerging Artist Award

Nicholas Fox, “Reliance vs Shamrock III,” OIL 24 X 26.

This award is given in memory of Rudie Schaefer, the founder and patron of the Maritime Gallery, and his lifelong commitment to recognizing and supporting new marine artists to the Gallery who have shown exceptional skill in capturing the endless beauty and heritage of the sea in painting, sculpture, scrimshaw, or ship models.


Shane Couch, “After the Jibe”, Oil, 24 X 36
Shane Couch, “After the Jibe”, Oil, 24 X 36

Maritime Gallery Yachting Award

Celebrating the singular pleasures of going to sea, the judges will recognize the work that best captures the beauty and excitement of the “sport of kings” in all its many forms.

Shane Michael Couch Puritan After the Jibe

Judges’ comments: Couch’s work showcases one of America’s great yachts, built in CT. From its balloon jib pulling the vessel across the water to the foresail and topsail illuminated by the sun. Light dances across the water, demonstrating the artist’s technical skill. The work aptly welcomes the viewer into the dynamic and energetic sport of the sea,

Marine Environmental Wildlife Award

Acknowledging the importance of preserving the fragile balance within the world’s ecosystems, the judges will recognize the work that best depicts marine mammals, fish, or birds in their native habitat.

Aleta Rossi Steward, Nice Catch

Judges’ comments: Done in a confidently photorealistic style, Steward’s work documents an important shift in our regional natural environment: the heralded return of the osprey. Almost like a still from a wildlife film, the painting captures the graceful dominance of the bird as it catches its prey, the water splashing in response.

Thomas M. Hoyne III Award

In memory of Thomas M. Hoyne, III’s dedication and contributions to accurate, historical representations of the great Gloucester fishing schooners, and the men who sailed them, the judges will recognize the work that best documents an aspect of the marine fisheries industry of today or yesterday.

Anne-Emmanuelle Marpeau Charles W. Morgan

Judges’ comments: In this mixed media piece, Marpeau brings to life the ecosystem of New Bedford in anticipation of the launch of the Charles W. Morgan. The accurate reconstruction of the elements of the piece, from the buildings to the ship to the full clothesline show the artist’s keen attention to detail and understanding of subject. A holistic, engaging, and inspiring piece.

Awards of Excellence
For an outstanding example of creativity, insight, and integrity in Marine Art.

Richard K. Loud Larchmont Race Week…

Judges’ comments: The vessels, shown actively engaging in a class race, are astutely rendered, documenting their fine craftsmanship and function. The sea is marvelously painted from its crisply cresting waves to its muddled olive and teal complexion. An elegant depiction of the sport of racing.

Cindy House Windy Day Brant

Judges’ comments: House’s work records a sighting of brant (the type of bird represented in the piece), leisurely walking along the coast while on their northern migration. The serenity of the scene belies the magnitude of their journey, and the works plays delicately between the dynamic waves, resting birds, and seaweed along the coastal land. Quiet in tone, but with a reverence for the natural world and a mastery of the pastel technique.

Maris Platais Coasting Schooners

Judges’ comments: Masterfully drawn in ink, this work is from the perspective of a land dweller observing schooners in repose near the bay of Quaddy Head, Maine. The boats are drawn accurately, even from the distant viewpoint, and the lush foliage of the pines and rocky planes of the coastline integrate in an excellent rendering of the Maine shore.

Charles R. Robinson Sunlit Surf

Judges’ comments: Unusual in perspective and unique in its representation of the coast, Robinson’s piece offers to the viewer the active interplay of the receding water and the sand, the cycle of the wave constantly returning to shore. The froth of the sea foam and aqua-emerald ocean echoes the resplendent cumulous clouds and clear sky in a scene unchanged by time.

William R. Davis Maine Harbor Sunset

Judges’ comments: As the golden sun descends over a quiet Maine coastal town, the ocean and land are ensconced in amber dusk. The ridge of the mountain in the distance positively glows under the near-neon orange illumination of the setting sun. In a skilled use of color, the artist provides a true representation of the “golden hour.”

View the Exhibition