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JOSEPH B. SMITH

New York/New Jersey, 1798-1876

The sloop yacht Rebecca off New York.

Oil on canvas, 30" x 44". Framed 39.5" x 53.5" under glass.
Condition: Overall excellent condition, under white light the painting presents well and is ready to hang. The painting is relined and under UV examination there is minor scattered in-paint in painting, mostly to address craqueleur as a function of the relining.

  • Provenance:
    Oliphant & Co., New York.
    A Private Collection, New York.
    Bonhams, New York, January 2016, Lot #81.
    A Private Collection, Maine.

    In 1857, James Gordon Bennett, Jr. received the 77-ton, 72-foot centerboard sloop
    Rebecca for his sixteenth birthday. Rebecca was designed by William Tooker and was built by Westervelt & Co., New York. Bennett, Jr. raced that year in the Annual Cruise of the New York Yacht Club, during which he was elected to membership. At age 16, he was the youngest member ever admitted. Rebecca is recorded at or near the top of the racing results on many occasions up until 1861. As sole owner and publisher of the most powerful newspaper in America, the New York Herald , and with the largest assured income at the time, Bennett, Jr. was involved in numerous sports-related accomplishments, from the first polo and tennis matches in the United States, to major yachting races, including the first transatlantic oceanic race, which he won. Rebecca was offered to the United States government for use by the Treasury Department during the Civil War in 1862. In turn, President Lincoln offered the young Bennett a place as lieutenant in the Revenue Service. Bennett, Jr. served until his resignation May 11, 1862. It is unclear what happened to Rebecca after the Civil War. However, James Gordon Bennett, Jr. continued to be an avid competitor and yachtsman.

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