Dutch Whaling: Groenlandia

Dutch Whaling: Groenlandia

The Greenland Whale Fishery

Joghem de Vries, attributed, 1769

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Dutch had a major whale fishery. Dutch marine artists painted it. These paintings may have been designed for a house or hall. They are in pairs and could fit around tall narrow windows. The setting presents a complete view of the Greenland whale fishery, one that the artist must have seen.

One of the museum’s founders purchased these from the Hearst Collection in California. After his family left Searsport, they were in the whaling business and collected whaling art.

The whaler is Groenlandia. The artist did not finish her flag. Seals in the foreground watch the scene. Note the man boarding a whaleboat. The davits are different from the curved bent davits on the American whaler Charles W. Morgan of 1841.The boats have names of whaleships or owners and dates.

Oil on canvas.

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Joghem de Vries