Robert Salmon

American, 1775 - 1858
(1775-after 1845) In spite of the enormous influence he had on the development of American marine painting, the details of Robert Salmon's career are sketchy. He was born in northern England, moved to London in the 1790s and to Liverpool in 1806. His paintings show an intimate knowledge of ships and the sea, and reflect the influence of 17th-century Dutch marine painting. His use of small, detailed figures is unique within the genre. He created atmospheric effects with ease, and is credited with establishing the luminist tradition in American painting. Salmon emigrated to Boston in 1828, as the city was undergoing major waterfront development, giving him numerous opportunities to establish himself as a painter of marine scenes and ship portraits. He also painted theatrical scenery and panoramas, including drop curtains for the Federal Street Theatre and a series of large-scale works of naval battles. Salmon was an eccentric, living in a hut on the wharves, but his work was in great demand. He left Boston in 1842 following an auction of his work. His last dated works are Italian scenes done in 1845, after which he seems to have disappeared. There is no record of the date of his death.

Biography courtesy of Roger King Gallery of Fine Art,
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