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The Ship
The Ship
Not on display
Wool; Tapestry Weave With Vertical Open Warp
297.2 x 123.2 cm (117 x 48 1/2 in.)
Object Type:
North America

Harold V. Wallace Collection

Accession Number:
Acquisition Date:
Credit Line:

Museum purchase, The Fine Arts Museums Trustees' Fund

Exhibition History:

Art Institute of Chicago, 1913
Panama Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, 1915

A storybook ship in a choppy sea dominates this long narrow panel intended to hang in a doorway. The ship’s archaic shape recalls a Spanish galleon, rendered in a decorative, rather than a historic spirit. The tapestry’s colors, deep blue, gray, tan, and orange, on the other hand, look to the East for inspiration, as do the fish that play in the waves. They resemble koi-nobori, the carp banners of the Japanese. Clouds, birds, and pennants fill the sky. The presence of human figures suggests a story. A bearded man draws alongside the ship in a dinghy; another watches from the deck, a third from the crow’s nest. The artist’s preoccupation with pattern, evident throughout the design, extends to the weaving technique itself. Areas of dyed warp have been left exposed, creating surface interest and a semi-transparent effect. This featured showed to best advantage when the portiere, finished on both sides, hung in a doorway. From Anna Gray Bennett, "Five Centuries of Tapestry: The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco" (San Francisco: Chronicle Books; The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1976; repr. 1992): p. 310.