Beach scene by R.G. Harper Pennington
10"x8" ($24) | 14"x11" ($60) | 20"x16" ($240) | 24"x20" ($600)
Hard to believe it’s still technically spring given the sweltering weather we’ve been having in NYC, but it’s true: tomorrow is the first official day of summer. Our toes are exposed, our farmer’s markets are full of tomatoes, and our ACs are cranking. All that’s left is to give our walls a li’l seasonal upgrade courtesy of today’s new release—a summery seaside Vintage Edition from 19th century painter R.G. Harper Pennington...
When you think of a Beach scene, you probably picture broad blue waves and swaths of tan sand. Pennington’s black and white print doesn’t have any of the typical coastal color popping, but it might be one of our beachiest editions ever. Without relying on the usual hues to drive home its nautical vibes, this print still manages to transport the viewer to beach bliss.
We think that’s got something to do with the artist’s thoughtful proportions. The expanse of sky is balanced by the stretch of shore below, a darker belt of water running through the two planes. The vertical orientation further emphasizes the sand and sky—the perspective of someone standing at a distance, staring straight into the sea. You can practically smell the salt air.
There’s also the artist’s novel use of paint. Pennington painted the original using a combo of watercolor and gouache, a relatively rebellious approach at the time. Mixing the two media allowed him to inflect the soft flow of watercolor with vivid white gouache highlights. The foamy lip of breaking waves, the blouse on the standing woman, the children’s white clothes—these spots of brightness bring life to the monochrome maritime scene.
Oceanic images are the red lipstick of the art world—they're universally flattering in any collection or context. Being black and white, Beach scene takes that versatility to the next level. This piece may hail from the 1800s, but it's totally timeless.
With art for everyone,