• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2003

    Important American Paintings, Drawings And Sculpture

    21 May 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 104

    Robert Salmon (1775-1848)

    A Fire in Boston by Moonlight

    Price Realised  


    Robert Salmon (1775-1848)
    A Fire in Boston by Moonlight
    oil on panel
    12½ x 10 in. (31.8 x 25.4 cm.)
    Painted circa 1830-35.

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    Robert Salmon moved to Boston from England in 1828 and soon established himself as one of the earliest and most accomplished marine painters in the city. His first critical success was a series of paintings from 1828 to 1829 that depicted the naval battle of Algiers. This ambitious project, which consisted of three paintings, each over fifteen feet in length depicting the course of the battle, cemented Salmon's reputation in America.

    Although best known as a marine painter, Salmon also painted a small number of scenes depicting fires in Boston of which A Fire in Boston by Moonlight is exemplary. One of only two known nocturnes from this group, A Fire in Boston by Moonlight manifests the artist's acclaimed ability to imbue his paintings with beauty and drama as he transforms an urban disaster into a mesmerizing scene.


    [With]Kennedy Galleries, New York.
    Private collection.
    Sale: Skinner, Boston, Massachusetts, 9 March 2001, lot 271.
    Acquired by the present owner from the above.


    (Possibly) Boston, Massachusetts, Boston Athenaeum, Eighth Exhibition of Paintings in the Athenaeum Gallery, 1834, no. 26 (as Moonlight and Fire Scene).