Dawson, Montague – American Artist

Montague Dawson, Royal Family South African Voyage, 1947, oil on board, signed

p4A ItemID F7987032
Montague Dawson oil on canvas, “The Lofty Trader -The Scottish Moors Built 1890”, signed

p4A ItemID F7984505
Montague J. Dawson oil on canvas, “Off The Storm Bound Horn”, scene shows 3-mast ship, signed

p4A ItemID F7984504
Montague Dawson watercolor on paper, Frigate Cutting Through Choppy Seas, signed

p4A ItemID F7983277

Montague Dawson, RSMA, FRSA (1895-1973)

The enduring appeal of Montague Dawson’s paintings has assured his position in major museums and private collections. Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, commissioned him to paint the Royal Yacht Britannia, and his work is included in several Presidential collections beginning with Eisenhower. His place as the greatest marine painter has remained unchallenged.

Dawson was born in Chiswick, London in 1895 but moved as a youngster with his family to Smugglers’ House in Southampton Water. There he had every opportunity to indulge an interest in ships. Basically self-taught, he inherited a flair for painting, and about 1910 joined a commercial art studio in Bedford Row, London.

At the outbreak of the First World War, Dawson joined the Royal Navy, where as a naval officer in Falmouth he met Charles Napier Hemy, who had a powerful influence on his work.

After the war, Dawson established a studio where he concentrated on historical subjects and portraits of deep-water sailing ships. It was Dawson’s triumph to paint sea, sky and vessel in a harmonic mix of man and nature. His work quickly earned him a reputation as the “king of the clipper-ship school.” He exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1917 and 1936 and illustrated marine efforts for the Sphere during the Second World War. Dawson exhibited regularly at the Society of Marine Artists where he was elected to membership, and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Artists. Dawson died in 1973.

Biographical note courtesy of the Coeur d’Alene Art Auction.

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