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Artwork of the Week

Artwork of the Week: Through the Port Hole

blue, purple sea seen through a ship's brown and green porthole
James Taylor Harwood (1860-1940), "Through the Port Hole," 1911, watercolor, 10 x 10 15/16 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, 1937.

As one of the first artists from Utah to receive formal training abroad, James Taylor Harwood was no stranger to international travel, shuttling between the United States and France to study at the Académie Julian and École des Beaux Arts. James also maintained a studio in Paris with Harriet Richards Harwood (1870-1922), who likewise was one of the earliest accomplished Utah artists to be trained in Europe.

Offering a glimpse of an ocean through an open window of a maritime vessel, Through the Port Hole speaks to a robust world of passenger ships that crossed the Atlantic in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, which made the Harwoods’ extensive travels possible in the first place. The tight compositional focus on a porthole with a view of an expansive ocean subtly conveys the claustrophobic confines of a ship. The precise rendering of the metallic frame, portlight, cover, screws, and hinges in watercolor serves as a foil to the looser handling of the blue sea and white froth of the wake. Bon voyage.

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Is this a painting, or is it a sculpture?
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