Guest post by Kirsten Titus, Marketing & PR Intern
Raymond Dabb Yelland was born in London and moved to the United States as a young child. He is known for his American landscape paintings. In his young adulthood, Yelland served in the Union Army during the Civil War. Prior to serving in the military, he attended schooling at the National Academy of Design in New York. One year after graduating, he was hired to be an instructor for the academy. A year later, he worked at the Mills Seminary in California.
In California, he settled with his wife, Annie Meeker. He soon developed a Luminstic style of painting, which consists of a landscape painting that often includes calm imagery of water. This style was inspired by artists such as Sanford Robinson Gifford and John F. Kesset. Yelland continued to be inspired by artists and began to draw inspiration from artists who used Tonalism in their work; these paintings would require artists to paint landscapes using similar color tones throughout their work. Before his death, Yelland taught at distinguished universities in California such as the University of California, Berkeley.
Yelland painted this work in 1879. During this time, many dreamed of and believed in expanding the United States throughout the American continent, this idea known as 'manifest destiny.' This painting is a depiction of that nineteenth-century belief. Yelland paints powerful waves and juxtaposes the strong waves with seemingly calm sailboats in the horizon. Symbolic of journey and exploration, the sailboats represent the early Americans pushing from one shore to another and continuing to pursue new land.
This piece is currently on display at the MOA in the Becoming America Exhibition.