The Tow, c.1900
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Dougal Anderson, The Tow, c.1900. Watercolor. From the Collections of the Tides Institute & Museum of Art.
Look and think about what you see.
Think about what you see in the art work:
• What’s going on in this picture?
Think about the seven elements of art:
color, form, line, shape, space, texture, and value
Can you find examples of these elements in any/some/or all of these images?
More about this work.
This work of art is a large watercolor (7”/17.8 cm x 17”/43.2 cm) by American artist, Dougal Anderson (1854-1921) called “The Tow.” It dates to about 1900. At the time the painting was completed, its subject matter, “The Tow,” was a common scene along the eastern coast of Maine and southwestern New Brunswick. It portrays a steam powered tug towing a series of sail powered sardine carriers that were used to transport small herring fish freshly caught in the hundreds of weirs then active throughout this region to the numerous sardine factories located primarily in Eastport and Lubec, Maine but also elsewhere along this coastal region. The watercolor was acquired by the Tides Institute from a local Eastport historian. Born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, Anderson moved with his family to Eastport, Maine when he was two to a farm located on Kendall’s Head. At the age of 28, Anderson was awarded a scholarship to study at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School of Drawing and Painting where he later taught. He then returned to Eastport where he spent the remainder of his life though he did travel to Europe and Mexico. A prolific painter working almost exclusively in watercolor, he is known for his hundreds of coastal scenes of the region as well as inland scenes. He is considered a local “favorite” painter of the period and his distinctive style watercolors with his trademark signature are highly sought after locally. But he is little known beyond the immediate Eastport area as his work was never shown, with the exception of a small exhibition of his work in Boston in 1978, outside this area.