Ships at Sea embodies the characteristics that appealed to collectors of Johnson’s work during his lifetime and continue to do so today. His accurate depiction of the rigging and movement of vessels speaks to his firsthand knowledge of his subject, while the atmospheric effects found at the intersection of wind, water, and sunlight conveys the sense of romance and adventure that drew generations of sailors to the sea. While not specifically located, the topography and structures of the far right island resemble that of Long Island in Boston Harbor.
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Marine Arts Gallery, Salem, Massachusetts
To private collection, by purchase, in 1973
By gift to collector’s son, private collection, Melrose, Massachusetts, to present
Reproduced in “Marshall Johnson, Jr., Marine Painter,” by Richard D. Elia. The Magazine Antiques, November 1981, p. 1220