Bas Jan Ader
Francis Alÿs
Harold Ancart
Diane Arbus
Lucas Arruda
Peder Balke
Max Beckmann
Marcel Broodthaers
Cecily Brown
Vija Celmins
Anne Collier
Gustave Courbet
Tacita Dean
Thierry De Cordier
James Ensor
Cy Gavin
Susan Hiller
Katsushika Hokusai
Gustave Le Gray
L.S. Lowry
Frank Moore
Oscar Murillo
Emil Nolde
Raymond Pettibon
Herbert Ponting
Loïc Raguénès
Alexis Rockman
Léon Spilliaert
Hiroshi Sugimoto
Paul Thek
Wolfgang Tillmans
J. M. W. Turner
Cy Twombly
Not Vital

Yes! in the sea of life enisled,
With echoing straits between us thrown,
Dotting the shoreless watery wild,
We mortal millions live alone.

—Matthew Arnold, To Marguerite: Continued 

Whether in the awesome forms of the legendary floods in Gilgamesh and Genesis, or via the more delightful but ultimately crueler torment of Homer’s Mediterranean, the sea is among art’s oldest subjects. For millennia humans have been fascinated and horrified in equal measure by mystery, eternity, and danger of which the sea seems to be a mirror: sometimes enigmatically placid, sometimes jagged with sudden storms. 

Dating from the nineteenth century to the present, these works differ in media and approach, but together, they ask social, political, and environmental questions that resonate forcefully today.

A gelatin silver print by Diane Arbus, titled Girl emerging from the ocean in curlers, Coney Island, N.Y. 1963, dated 1963.

Diane Arbus

Girl emerging from the ocean in curlers, Coney Island, N.Y. 1963
Gelatin silver print
Image:  7-7/8 x 6-7/8 inches (20 x 17.5 cm)
Sheet: 14 x 11 inches (35.6 x 27.9 cm)
$85,000
Three silkscreen prints on paper by Tacita Dean, titled, Horizon/Rain/Filthy Weather, dated 1998.

Tacita Dean

Horizon/Rain/Filthy Weather, 1998
Three (3) silkscreen prints on paper
Each: 27 1/2 x 39 3/8 inches (70 x 100 cm)

Edition of 60

“Some things (sea foam, for instance) cannot be drawn at all, but only surfed.”

—Raymond Pettibon

A painting by Raymond Pettibon titled No Title (Big gun pen. ...), dated 2020.
Raymond Pettibon, No Title (Big gun pen. ...), 2020 (detail)
Raymond Pettibon, No Title (Big gun pen. ...), 2020 (detail)
An acrylic and gouache on paper by Raymond Pettibon, titled, No Title (Big gun pen. ...), dated 2020.

Raymond Pettibon

No Title (Big gun pen. ...), 2020
Acrylic and gouache on paper
52 x 100 3/4 inches (132.1 x 255.9 cm)
A bodycolour work on blue paper by Joseph Mallord William Turner, titled, Sea View, circa 1826.

Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sea View, c. 1826
Bodycolor on blue paper
5 3/8 x 7 1/2 inches (13.5 x 19 cm)

Joseph Mallord William Turner, Sea View, National Galleries of Scotland

“Dedicated to the most sublime of subjects and impressions—(completing thus the perfect system of all truth, which we have shown to be formed by Turner’s works)—the power, majesty, and deathfulness of the open, deep, illimitable Sea.”

—John Ruskin

An oil painting on linen by Cecily Brown, titled, Untitled (Shipwreck), dated 2017.

Cecily Brown

Untitled (Shipwreck), 2017
Oil on linen
31 x 43 inches (78.7 x 109.2 cm)

“Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet ... then, I account it high time to get to the sea as soon as I can.”

—Herman Melville, Moby Dick

A color woodblock print: ōban yoko-e by Katsushika Hokusai, titled, The Poem of Sangi Takamura (Ono no Takamura), circa 1835 to 1836.

Katsushika Hokusai

The Poem of Sangi Takamura (Ono no Takamura), c. 1835-1836
Color woodblock print: ōban yoko-e
9 7/8 x 14 3/8 inches (25.1 x 36.5 cm)
$35,000
A set of three monotypes on light eggshell colored Japon paper by Cy Twombly, titled, Lepanto I, II, III, dated 1996.

Cy Twombly

Lepanto I, II, III, 1996
Set of three (3) monotypes on light eggshell colored Japon paper
Sheet, each: 39 3/8 x 24 3/8 inches (100 x 61.9 cm)
Framed, each: 46 7/8 x 32 1/2 inches (119.1 x 82.6 cm)
Lepanto I: Edition of 10, 4 AP
Lepanto II: Edition of 11, 4 AP
Lepanto III: Edition of 12, 4 AP

Price upon request

“His paintings readily move from the elegiac to the confrontational, to the homoerotic, to the humorous, to a blend of all these states of mind and more: never melodramatic or morose, they are always direct…. Moore’s Venus flaunts a mermaid tail, her birth an eruption from a contaminated ocean…. [She] is the then well-known drag queen and gender illusionist Lady Bunny, the transvestite successor to Candy Darling and Holly Woodlawn of Warhol fame in the 1960s and 1970s. We find Lady Bunny engaged simultaneously in erotic play, with her come-hither gaze, and prophecy, as spokeswoman of ecological and medical despair.”

—Klaus Kertess, Toxic Beauty: The Art of Frank Moore

An oil painting on linen on panel with gilt antique frame by Frank Moore, titled, Birth of Venus, dated 1993.

Frank Moore

Birth of Venus, 1993
Oil on linen on panel with gilt antique frame
51 1/4 x 73 1/4 inches (130.2 x 186.1 cm)
An enamel, acrylic, and gesso painting on newspaper by Paul Thek, titled, Untitled (Sea Series), dated 1975.

Paul Thek

Untitled (Sea Series), 1975
Enamel, acrylic, and gesso on newspaper
26 3/8 x 31 3/4 inches (67 x 80.5 cm)
$120,000

“I sometimes think that there is nothing but time, that what you see and what you feel is what time looks like at the moment.’’

—Paul Thek, 1977

As the writer Guy de Maupassant observed during a visit with Courbet in Étretat,
“In a great bare room a fat, dirty, greasy man was spreading patches of white paint on a big bare canvas with a kitchen-knife. From time to time he went and pressed his face against the window pane to look at the storm. The sea came up so close that it seemed to beat right against the house, which was smothered in foam and noise. The dirty water rattled like hail against the window and streamed down the walls. On the mantelpiece was a bottle of cider and a half-empty glass. Every now and then Courbet would swig a mouthful and then go back to his painting. It was called The Wave and it made a sensation around the world.”

An oil painting on canvas by Gustave Courbet, titled, La Vague, circa 1869 to 1870.

Gustave Courbet

La Vague (The Wave), c. 1869-1870
Oil on canvas
25 1/4 x 32 inches (64.1 x 81.3 cm)
Price upon request

“The sea! The sea!... In her fury which growls, she reminds me of a caged monster who can devour me.”

—Gustave Courbet, in a letter to Victor Hugo, 1864

An albumen print from a wet collodion negative by Gustave Le Gray, titled, Effet de soleil dans les nuages - Océan, Normandy, circa 1856 to 1857.

Gustave Le Gray

Effet de soleil dans les nuages - Océan, Normandy, c. 1856-1857
Albumen print from a wet collodion negative
12 1/4 x 15 7/8 inches (31.1 x 40.2 cm)
$115,000

“In my point of view, the artistic beauty of a photographic print consists ... almost always in the sacrifice of certain details in such a manner as to produce an effect which sometimes attains to the sublime in art.”

—Gustave Le Grey

A detail of a photograph by Vija Celmins titled Ocean Surface Wood Engraving 2000, dated 2000.
Vija Celmins, Ocean Surface Wood Engraving 2000, 2000 (detail)
Vija Celmins, Ocean Surface Wood Engraving 2000, 2000 (detail)
A wood engraving on Zerkall paper by Vija Celmins, titled, Ocean Surface Wood Engraving 2000, dated 2000.

Vija Celmins

Ocean Surface Wood Engraving 2000, 2000
Wood engraving on Zerkall paper
Plate: 8 1/4 x 10 1/4 inches (21 x 26 cm)
Sheet: 20 3/4 x 17 1/4 inches (52.7 x 43.8 cm)
Edition of 75
$38,000
An oil painting on canvas by L.S. Lowry, titled, The Grey Sea, dated 1964.

L.S. Lowry

The Grey Sea, 1964
Oil on canvas
29 1/2 x 39 5/8 inches (75 x 100.5 cm)
A pastel drawing on paper by Léon Spilliaert, titled, Marine met strand en wandelaars, dated 1913.

Léon Spilliaert

Marine met strand en wandelaars, 1913
Pastel on paper 
12 7/8 x 17 3/8 inches (32.9 x 44 cm)
$50,000
A painting by	Léon Spilliaert titled  Marine met strand en wandelaars, dated 1913.
Léon Spilliaert, Marine met strand en wandelaars, 1913 (detail)
Léon Spilliaert, Marine met strand en wandelaars, 1913 (detail)

That sail which leans on light,
tired of islands,
a schooner beating up the Caribbean

for home, could be Odysseus,
home-bound on the Aegean;
that father and husband’s

longing, under gnarled sour grapes, is
like the adulterer hearing Nausicaa’s name
in every gull’s outcry.

This brings nobody peace. The ancient war
between obsession and responsibility
will never finish and has been the same

for the sea-wanderer or the one on shore
now wriggling on his sandals to walk home,
since Troy sighed its last flame,

and the blind giant’s boulder heaved the trough
from whose groundswell the great hexameters come
to the conclusions of exhausted surf.

The classics can console. But not enough.

—Derek Walcott, Sea Grapes


An oil painting on panel on board by Peder Balke, titled, Fra Nordkapp, dated 1853.

Peder Balke

Fra Nordkapp, 1853
Oil on panel on board

14 1/4 x 19 7/8 inches (36.2 x 50.5 cm)

“[My work] is based on ideas of science. It doesn’t just privilege the subjective. It uses subjectivity informed by history to create this hybrid language. I want it to be almost impossible to look at and impossible not to look at.”

—Alexis Rockman

An oil and wax painting on wood panel by Alexis Rockman, titled, Terminus, dated 2020.
Alexis Rockman, Terminus, 2020 (detail)
Alexis Rockman, Terminus, 2020 (detail)
An oil and wax painting on wood panel by Alexis Rockman, titled Terminus, dated 2020.

Alexis Rockman

Terminus, 2020
Oil and wax on wood panel
48 x 40 inches (121.9 x 101.6 cm)
A c-print by Herbert Ponting, titled, Midnight in the Antarctic Summer, dated 1911.

Herbert Ponting

Midnight in the Antarctic Summer , 1911
Carbon print
20 7/8 x 29 3/8 inches (53 x 74.5 cm)
$35,000
A detail of a painting by Thierry De Cordier titled MER DU NORD, Étude n°1, dated 2011.
Thierry De Cordier, MER DU NORD, Étude n°1, 2011 (detail)
Thierry De Cordier, MER DU NORD, Étude n°1, 2011 (detail)

“It is as if [Thierry De Cordier] seems to wander through life, in the darkness of the earth, in the fire and the water, searching for the ultimate still life of our soul and our cosmos.”

—Jan Hoet

An oil and enamel painting on canvas by Thierry de Cordier, titled, MER DU NORD, Étude n°1, dated 2011.

Thierry de Cordier

MER DU NORD, Étude n°1, 2011
Oil paint and enamel on canvas

47 1/4 x 59 inches (120 x 150 cm)


An untitled oil stick and graphite work on paper in artist's frame by Harold Ancart, dated 2020.

Harold Ancart

Untitled, 2020
Oil stick and graphite on paper in artist's frame 

52 x 61 1/2 inches (132.1 x 156.2 cm)

Price upon request

A gelatin silver print by Hiroshi Sugimoto, titled, Arctic Ocean, Nord Kapp II, dated 1989.

Hiroshi Sugimoto

Arctic Ocean, Nord Kapp II, 1989
Gelatin silver print
Sheet: 19 x 24 inches
(48.3 x 61 cm)
Mount: 20 x 25 inches
(50.8 x 63.5 cm)
Framed: 30 x 34 7/8 inches
(76.2 x 88.6 cm)
Edition of 25
Price upon request

“The marine horizon, an epitome of flatness, vastness, and distance, and therefore of basic orientation. In photograph after photograph, the horizon line precisely bisects the image, dividing two basic elements that lie outside our visual scope—water and air—into two optically equal but identical halves.”

—Thomas Kellein in Hiroshi Sugimoto: Time Exposed

A painting by Emil Node titled Hohe See, dated 1924.
Emil Nolde, Hohe See, 1924 (detail)
Emil Nolde, Hohe See, 1924 (detail)
An oil painting on canvas by Emil Nolde Hohe, titled See, dated 1924.

Emil Nolde

Hohe See, 1924
Oil on canvas
20 7/8 x 27 1/2 inches (53 x 70 cm)
Price upon request

“Medicinal sea, west-national sea, adored mother, I want in a fresh bouquet, without surrealist ways, to celebrate your one hundred faces, your surfaces, your facets, your dimples, your Rubescent bottoms, your diamond crests, your sapphire tops, your qualities, your delights, your profound charms.”

—James Ensor

An oil painting on canvas by James Ensor, titled, La Grande Marine, dated 1885.

James Ensor

La Grande Marine, 1885
Oil on canvas
44 7/8 x 63 3/8 inches (114 x 161 cm)
A painting by Loïc Raguénès titled Labre palloni, dated 2020.

Loïc Raguénès

Labre palloni, 2020
Tempera on canvas
72 1/2 x 90 1/2 inches (184 x 230 cm)
$37,000

“Lacrimae rerum: there are tears at the heart of things.” 

—From Virgil’s Aeneid, translation by Seamus Heaney. Chosen by Loïc Raguénès

In his characteristically poetic mode, Francis Alÿs can be seen silently gathering water into a bucket from the shore of the Black Sea in Trabzon, Turkey, and later pouring it into the Red Sea, at a beach in Aqaba, Jordan. A seemingly simple action, Watercolor acquires deeper symbolic significance considering the political and religious hostilities in the region, where freedom of movement and interaction with neighbors are sometimes restricted.

A still from a video projection by Francis Alÿs, titled, Watercolor, dated 2010.

Francis Alÿs

Watercolor

Turkey - Aqaba, Jordan, 2010

Video, 1:20min
creative capital Francis Alÿs. This work is part of Creative Commons. 
A c-print by Anne Collier, titled, Studio Sunset, dated 2007.

Anne Collier

Studio Sunset, 2007
Chromogenic print
50 x 63 inches (127 x 160 cm)
Edition of 5, 2 AP
$40,000

Pinning the poster against a white wall with black carpet visible below, Collier creates the illusion of a second horizon and opens the frame to include the space of the studio, which functions as a theatrical stage for the things the artist shoots. As the critic Dan Fox notes: “The types of images that Collier uses mostly share the same pop-cultural emptiness, just specific enough to intrigue—someone crying, a gorgeous sunset— but also generic enough to allow any individual to invest their own emotions in them.”

An oil painting on canvas by Lucas Arruda, titled, Untitled (from the Deserto-Modelo series), dated 2018.

Lucas Arruda

Untitled (from the Deserto-Modelo series), 2018
Oil on canvas
11 3/4 x 14 5/8 inches (30 x 37 cm)
Price upon request

“It’s common to view my work through the lens of the sublime, but it’s more complex than that. My work is informed at a technical level by certain landscape painting, in the use of color and brushwork, for example, or Constable’s clouds, which are the best in that tradition. But those painters were observing nature.‘‘

—Lucas Arruda

An archival pigment prints, in twelve parts by Susan Hiller, titled Rough Dawns II, dated 2015.

Susan Hiller

Rough Dawns II, 2015
Archival pigment prints, in twelve (12) parts
Each: 20 1/8 x 30 1/8 inches (51.2 x 76.6 cm)
Overall dimensions: 60 1/2 x 120 5/8 inches (153.7 x 306.4 cm)
$75,000
An inkjet print on paper mounted on aluminum in artist's frame by Wolfgang Tillmans, titled, Ultrachrome, dated 2014.

Wolfgang Tillmans

Ultrachrome, 2014
Inkjet print on paper mounted on aluminum in artist's frame
27 5/8 x 36 1/4 inches (70.2 x 92.1 cm)
Edition of 3, 1 AP
$35,000
16mm film rolls and a booklet corresponding to a video work by Marcel Broodthaers, titled, Un Voyage en Mer du Nord, dated 1974.

Marcel Broodthaers

Un Voyage en Mer du Nord, 1974
16mm film, 4:15 min, color, silent
Overall dimensions vary with installation 

“At a Paris flea market in the rue Jacob of the 1970s, Marcel Broodthaers purchased a nineteenth-century French amateur painting of a fishing boat. Un tableau représentant le retour d’un bateau de pêche (A Painting Representing the Return of a Fishing Boat) formed the subject of several works by Broodthaers, including an artist’s book and a 16mm film edition titled Un voyage en mer du nord (A Voyage on the North Sea), in which different media are deployed to ‘analyze’ details of the banal maritime scene, which Broodthaers treated as a symbol of painting itself. 

Broodthaers described the work—which is essentially a film about a book about a painting about a ship at sea—this way:

‘A book suggesting image as function. A book suggesting the text as function. More than a theory, the subject of this proposition reflects a simple image of the frustration that rules the social condition of today, for example this year. Perhaps I should add that le sujet brille [the subject shines].’”1

—Cathleen Chaffee, PhD, chief curator, Albright-Knox Art Gallery

1Marcel Broodthaers, “A Voyage on the North Sea, Press Release,” January 28, 1974.

 
An installation view of an oil stick on velvet and linen, grommets and stainless steel rail wall-hanging work by Oscar Murillo, titled, surge (social cataracts), dated 2019.

Oscar Murillo

surge (social cataracts), 2019
Oil stick on velvet and linen, grommets and stainless steel rail
102 3/4 x 114 5/8 inches (261 x 291 cm)

The rush of undulating blues convey a sense of motion and depth across the surface of the painting. Referencing both the surge of energy used to make the works, as well as water’s ability to flow indiscriminately without regard to maps or borders, Murillo conjures a utopian and cautionary vision of contemporary geopolitics.

A detail of a painting by Oscar Murillo titled surge (social cataracts), dated 2019.
Oscar Murillo, surge (social cataracts), 2019 (detail)
Oscar Murillo, surge (social cataracts), 2019 (detail)
An installation view of an acrylic, oil and watercolour pencil work on canvas by Cy Gavin, titled, Untitled (Wave Painting), dated 2020.

Cy Gavin

Untitled (Wave Painting), 2020
Acrylic, oil, and watercolor pencil on canvas
88 x 92 inches (223.5 x 233.7 cm)
$50,000

“The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. On this shore we’ve learned most of what we know. Recently, we’ve waded a little way out, maybe ankle-deep, and the water seems inviting. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return. And we can, because the Cosmos is also within us. We are made of star stuff. We are a way for the Cosmos to know itself.”

—Carl Sagan’s introduction to his Cosmos: A Personal Voyage

“A line of kids each carrying a boat made out of a shoe leaves Europe in the direction of Morocco, while a second line of kids with shoe-boats leaves Africa in the direction of Spain. The two lines will meet on the horizon.”

—Francis Alÿs 

An oil painting on canvas on board by Francis Alÿs, titled, Una historia de desencuentro, Gibraltar, dated 2008-2020.

Francis Alÿs

Una historia de desencuentro, Gibraltar, 2008-2020
Oil on canvas on board
7 7/8 x 10 1/4 inches (20 x 26 cm)
A marble and plaster sculpture by Not Vital, titled Seascape, dated 2013.

Not Vital

Seascape, 2013
Marble and plaster
36 5/8 x 62 1/4 x 7 1/8 inches (93 x 158 x 18 cm)
$125,000

Seascape is a sculpture made using Dali stone sourced from Yunnan province in Southwest China. The artist was inspired by this regional marble, renowned for its natural variations in cloudy hues of black and white that suggest ethereal landscapes and, in this case, seascapes. The sculptural relief juts out from the wall at an irregular angle, warping the perspective of a traditional container or frame.

An oil painting on canvas by Max Beckmann, titled, Badansicht bei Bandol, dated 1938.

Max Beckman

Badansicht bei Bandol, 1938
Oil on canvas
27 5/8 x 35 3/8 inches (70.2 x 89.9 cm)
Price upon request

The present work is a component of In Search of the Miraculous (1975), an unfinished three-part performance, of which the second part was a three-month journey Bas Jan Ader attempted from Chatham, Massachusetts, to Falmouth, England, alone in a twelve-and-a-half-foot sailboat named Ocean Wave, the smallest boat to attempt to cross the Atlantic. Ten months later, remnants of Ader’s boat were found drifting in the ocean off the coast of Ireland.

An offset-printed black and white publication by Bas Jan Ader, titled, Bulletin 89: In Search of the Miraculous (Songs for the North Atlantic), July 1975, dated 1975.

Bas Jan Ader

Bulletin 89: In Search of the Miraculous (Songs for the North Atlantic), July 1975
Offset-printed, black and white, 4 pp.
11 1/2 x 8 3/4 inches (29.1 x 22.2 cm)
Edition of 800
$2,500

“In the tradition of vision quests, this passage was his own epic poem where the artist serves as the central heroic figure. In this work, Ader pits himself against the elements, a proposition in which the reconciliation of existential truths, and queries of fate and faith likely played a major role.”

—Pilar Tompkins Rivas, Bas Jan Ader: Suspended Between Laughter and Tears

A detail of a print by Bas Jan Ader titled Bulletin 89: In Search of the Miraculous (Songs for the North Atlantic), dated 1975.
Bas Jan Ader, Bulletin 89: In Search of the Miraculous (Songs for the North Atlantic), 1975 (detail)
Bas Jan Ader, Bulletin 89: In Search of the Miraculous (Songs for the North Atlantic), 1975 (detail)
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