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Church's Newport Mountain

Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900), Newport Mountain, Mount Desert, 1851, oil on canvas, John Wilmerding Collection

This painting is based on several pencil sketches Church had made in August and September 1850. The view moves from a rocky foreground with breaking waves, similar to those seen in Fog off Mount Desert, to the distinctive rocky profile of Newport Mountain (now know as Champlain Mountain), rising over 1,000 feet above the sea and the highest point on the eastern shore of the island. The prominence given to the figure in the foreground, who hauls the remnants of a sailboat's mast in by means of a rope, is unusual in Church's work. Perhaps this bit of wreckage was meant to remind viewers of the dangers of the sea--dangers that the several vessels in the distance might also face one day.

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