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Inscription

lower right: F.H.Lane. 1860.

Provenance

Private collection, Boston; Mr. and Mrs. Harrison G. Reynolds, Beverly Farms, Massachusetts, c. 1940; Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy B. Middendorf, Oyster Bay, New York; (Middendorf Gallery, Washington, D.C.); sold 1985 to Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, Upperville, Virginia; gift 1992 to NGA.

Exhibition History
1978
American Luminism, Coe Kerr Gallery, New York, 1978, no. 4, as Sailboats Becalmed off Halfway Rock (erroneously dated 1863).
1988
Paintings by Fitz Hugh Lane, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1988, no. 41, color repro.
1991
Art for the Nation: Gifts in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1991, 150-151, color repro.
1999
An Enduring Legacy: Masterpieces from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1999-2000.
2002
American Sublime: Landscape Painting in the United States 1820-1880, Tate Britain, London; Museum of American Art of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2002, no. 68, repro.
Bibliography
1991
Cikovsky, Nicolai, Jr., and Franklin Kelly. "'Art for the Nation': The National Gallery Collects." Antiques 139 (March 1991): 569, color pl. 2.
1996
Kelly, Franklin, with Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr., Deborah Chotner, and John Davis. American Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, Part I. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1996: 410-412, color repro.
Technical Summary

The support is a medium-weight, plain-weave fabric that has been lined. The ground is moderately thick and creamy white. The paint was thinly applied in dry transparent washes as background tones, with opaque details applied locally over them. Infrared reflectography reveals black underdrawing (possibly brushed) to which the outlines of the painted forms precisely conform, except in the center island, where underdrawing extends above the painted edge. Infrared reflectography also showed there was originally a sailing vessel in the distance at the far right edge, similar to the one still visible on the left; the mainsail of the small boat at the very right was painted over this distant sailboat, and a pentimento is slightly visible in normal light. The upper right quadrant has suffered some abrasion. In 1985 the painting was relined, discolored varnish was removed, and losses were inpainted. Extensive inpainting covers much of the right third of the sky, which had been severely abraded.