The Spouting Whale

image for The Spouting Whale
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William Morris Hunt turned his attention to landscape painting during the 1870s, and he traveled as far south as Florida, as far west as Mexico, and north to 'Niagara Falls' in search of great views. Many of his canvases from this time, such as this image of The Spouting Whale, are painted loosely, with broad brushstrokes and indistinct forms. The cloudy sky dominates the image, in which we can just make out a geyser of water from a whale below the surface. Although we cannot see the great creature, Hunt conveyed the whale's power in the dark shadows of the choppy water and the vivid contrasts in the sky. The image evokes a sense of foreboding, as if the whale might surge out of the water at any moment. The Spouting Whale conveys the drama of the seas at a time when many American painters, such as Frederic Edwin Church and Martin Johnson Heade, embarked on voyages to new frontiers.
Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of William T. Evans
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Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department
Painting and Sculpture
ca. 1870
Object number
1911.8.2
Artist
William Morris Hunt, born Brattleboro, VT 1824-died Appledore, NH 1879
Topic
Waterscape\boat
Waterscape\sea
Animal\whale
Medium
oil on canvas
Dimensions
20 x 16 1/8 in. (50.9 x 40.9 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Type
Painting